An update and newer photo of the Black Mariah in the old Reno Rodeo parades

the restored Black Mariah

BRINGING THE READER UP TO SPEED: LAST SUNDAY, JUNE 20, I WROTE OF THE BLACK MARIAH, USED AS A PADDY WAGON TO HAUL PEOPLE WITH NO WESTERN ATTIRE TO THE KANGAROO KOURT IN EARLY POST-WAR RENO. I MENTIONED THAT FINDING INFO OR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PADDY WAGON WAS DIFFICULT, AND RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING FROM JOHN EVANOFF, A LOCAL HISTORIAN WHOSE WEBSITE FOLLOWS HIS NARRATIVE. HE ENCLOSED THE PHOTO OF THE BLACK MARIAH FOLLOWING ITS RESTORATION; NOTE THE LETTERING IS NEW AND DOESN’T COINCIDE WITH THE ORIGINAL LETTERING DESCRIBED IN MY COLUMN FOLLOWING ITS RESTORATION. I’M GRATEFUL TO JOHN FOR HIS EFFORT; HIS STORY FOLLOWS:

John: Here I am with the Black Mariah in 1980 in front of the Eldorado. I was the vice-president of the Reno Jaycees and the new winner of the Nevada Jaycee-of-the-Year award. We worked tirelessly all year putting the jail back together and getting the Mariah back in shape for this and many other events. The Reno Rodeo was our most fun event though. We gave out Reno Jaycee Rodeo garters for a $1 or more donation to get out of our fun jail. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken next to the Mariah or while they were in the jail. Our Kangaroo Court enlisted the help of anyone who wanted to enjoy the chance to be part of this fun event every year. We had as many as five thousand garters sold as a get out of jail donations to help many Reno/Sparks charities each year. During the Reno Rodeo Parade, we threw candy and pins to the crowds along Virginia Street and won Parade Honors annually for our contribution to the festivities. We even towed the Jail one year and had crowd volunteers jump in to be part of the parade, after which we gave them a garter for participating.

Responding to my request to reprint the photo: Yes, of course. The jail was in total disrepair and we bought the supplies to bring it back in 1979. We took it downtown that year with the help of my truck and parked it on Virginia Street in front of the Horseshoe Casino and then the next year began to move it to more events. I left the Jaycees in 1981 after six full years of service and a friend told me they had problems with getting a permit for the jail so they put it away in someone’s backyard. The Mariah had engine problems and was tough to keep cool after just a half hour on the Rodeo Parade route so we had lots of water which we added constantly to try to keep it running throughout the day. I think one of the guys tried to get it back in shape a few years later but it cost too much to bring back and so it was parked.

Check out John’s column for other interesting facts about Northern Nevada… http://visitreno.com/evanoff/index.php

My column about all this is at http://www.rgj.com/story/life/2015/06/19/breckenridge-black-mariah-kangaroo-kourt/28980431/

AND THAT’S THE WAY THE COLUMN HAS WORKED FOR 27 YEARS – I DON’T KNOW IT ALL BUT HAVE FRIENDS AND READERS LIKE JOHN, AND BIT-BY-BIT WE WEAVE THE TALE OF OUR VALLEY! THANKS, JOHN…

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A reprint story of the old Manogue Bell

Church bell
OLD FRIEND TERRI (TUFFO) THOMPSON POSTED THIS ON A FACEBOOK SITE THAT I DON’T BELONG TO SO I’M ADDING IT HERE TO MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE ACCESSIBLE. THE THRUST IS TO BRING THE OLD FLICK RANCH INTO THE HIGH BEAM IN THE HOPES OF SAVING IT. I WROTE THIS IN 2006 AND AM RUNNING IT UNALTERED:

I am occasionally, ranging more often to frequently, humbled by the research that some of you Homefinders are capable of, in response to some of the questions posed here on page 8. Most recently came a query from a reader, “…what is the history of the mission bell on the old Manogue High School campus?” I followed in a later column with the clarification that I was referring to the original Manogue campus near East McCarran by the Truckee River, not the more-recently vacated (and now razed) campus on Valley Road. It takes a village to document the heritage of that village, and now we have an answer.
Enter now Terri Thompson, known about Sparks High as Teresa Tuffo when she graduated from there in 1964. She sent a couple of wonderfully researched and documented e-mails about the old bell, and this morning I’m using them substantially verbatim as they’re hard to improve upon, with a few additions in [brackets]. Take it away, Terri:
“When the Bishop Manogue High School campus moved from Boynton Lane to the Valley Road location in 1957, the Boynton property became the monastery for the Brothers of the Holy Rosary. Renovation of the property included the addition of the bell tower, the pillars at the entrance with the red brick crosses, and a new chapel. The work was undertaken between 1958 and 1960.
“My father, Mel Tuffo, was a tile setter and brick layer by profession. He built the structures for the Brothers and also constructed a swimming pool for them. My younger brother, Mark, remembers when a crane lifted the bell into place after which our dad completed the bell tower’s roof. My mother, now 85, thought that the bell came from a rural Nevada church, possibly from Yerington.
“I spoke with Brother Philip of the Brothers of the Holy Rosary who recalls that the bell tower and chapel were on the site when he came to Reno in 1961. He said Father (later Monsignor) Anderson was in charge of the renovations. He confirmed that the bell came from Church of the Holy Family in Yerington, and it may be that the bell originally came from the church in Gold Hill. When that church was destroyed – by fire? – or dismantled, the bell was moved to the church in Yerington [built in 1901, in service through 1932].
“The bell was likely removed from the bell tower at Holy Family in Yerington when the church was enlarged and the new design would not allow for the bell to be reinstalled. Father Paul thought that the bell had originally been set into a structure at ground level. No one seems to recall why the bell was given to the Brothers.
“Brother Matthew said that the granddaughter of the original ranchers on the old Manogue property, Oakland school teacher Veronica Dickie, donated the funds to erect the bell tower as a memorial to her grandparents (the Alts). Brother Matthew has the original brass memorial plaque which was removed when the Brothers moved their monastery. The Alts sold the ranch to Charles Mapes’ parents who later sold to the Flicks. The Flicks sold the property to the Diocese to be used as a Catholic high school, and Manogue opened in September, 1947. The old ranch house was renovated to provide classrooms and a new gymnasium was built.
“Coincidentally, my husband and I were married at St. John Vianney Church, the chapel at Manogue, in 1966. We never connected the history of the bell coming from Yerington and of my dad building the bell tower until I started researching information in response to your article. Our family has always been proud of our father’s ability as a brick layer and tile setter.
“Father Paul is sending me a copy of ‘Journal of 100 years of the Church in Yerington & Smith Valley’ written in 1986 by the late Holy Family parishioner Ione Minister, which may have information on the history of the bell. If the journal includes information that the bell indeed came from Gold Hill, I will e-mail you.”
Many thanks, Terri, for a wonderful story of the Manogue High – or as we’ve now learned – the Brothers of the Holy Rosary, bell. As more information about the Gold Hill connection arrives, we’ll update it here. And, as a good researcher always does, Terri gave liberal attribution to her sources, Brother Matthew Cunningham, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Reno; to Father Paul McCollum of the Holy Family Church in Yerington (he from a Sparks family), and to Brother Philip of the Brothers of the Holy Rosary.
And that’s the way research is done. Have a good week, and God bless America.
Feb. 9, 2005

© rgj/breckenridge

Flyin’ with Ty Cobb on Air Force One…

AF1_factsheet

 

Off to San Francisco for the weekend?  Let’s see; reservations on Lombard Street for a couple of nights, done; a call ahead to see if the kids are available for a visit, check; pick a couple of joints for dinner in the Marina and the Buena Vista for eggs Benedict, easy; gas up the pickup, or the ragtop? – let’s see what the weather is the morning we leave.  No sweat – we’ve done it all before; let’s not complicate our weekend.

            But instead of a couple, let’s plan a trip four hundred close friends from the Beltway, this one a little further in advance.  We’re off to Geneva, the one in Switzerland, and instead of the kids we’re meeting the heads of state of a half-dozen world powers so we better bring an interpreter or a half dozen.  We’ll start five months in advance and make reservations for our group in five Geneva hotels – reserving rooms on a onesy-twosy basis is burdensome so we won’t mess around – let’s just book the whole Maison de Saussere, the Fleur de Eau and three more for a week or so.  Better get a hundred rooms a little early ‘cause we’re sending some guys over to make sure the accommodations are up to snuff and to scope out the traffic.  And, White House chefs to check out the bill of fare in the restaurants we’ll be eating at.  We don’t want to get POTUS or FLOTUS heading for the Tums when they get back to their rooms.  POTUS, of course, is the President of the United States; FLOTUS the First Lady O-T-U-S, but you figured that out (we’ll have a couple of American doctors with their own instruments unit and extensive medications aboard, just in case the food or a health issue gets too gnarly.)

            A word about where my mind was when I strung all this together on a dismal evening: My old childhood buddy, later Sigma Nu frat brother Ty Cobb the Younger has been speaking around our village about his life and times as a National Security Council advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and writes a fine column of his own in the Gazoo every now and then.  At breakfast at the Gold-n-Silver last week I told him that I abhor anything political, but getting President Reagan to a world leaders’ Summit conference, of which Ty went to four, now there would be a fine column through a Homefinder’s eyes.  Ty loaned me the weighty three-volume White House planning document for a November 1985 Summit, in which his name appears liberally – T. Cobb – and I can even tell you from the documents, if asked, where he rode in Marine One helicopter from the White House to Andrews AFB (right next to C. Powell).  That’s how intricate the trip planning for these sojourns was and probably remains.  In one volume, the American delegation leaving a formal dinner at a Swiss mansion with other heads of state is assigned, from POTUS on down to the Official Photographer, which of the three elevators in this palace they will be riding in, and who will board and disembark the elevators first and last.  Leave nothing to chance, as John Ascuaga counsels us.

Bags fly free

            The planning document volumes are made available in advance to the participants of the trip – White House staff, the military branches involved, the State Department, Secret Service, press – and contain an incredibly intricate, virtually minute-by-minute itinerary of the four-day trip. A facility at Andrews AFB was clearly indicated, with an arrival time at some God-awful hour of the morning.  That many folks have a lot of luggage and it appears that unless one lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue most schlepped their own bags, with instructions to leave them open – they were inspected before loading (T. Cobb always opted for carry-on).  From that point their walking route to which airplane – AF One or the several support planes – was mapped.  According to Ty, the most salient issue for the whole trip for most was not some vast life-changing worldwide issue being debated by the heads of state of the world powers at the Summit, but who got to get there on Air Force One.  Ty flew aboard it on many occasions to several Summits, a thrill he likens only to driving the Vagabond Touring Association’s ’34 Ford school bus, uninvited, into Kezar Stadium during an East-West Shrine Game in his college days. I recall that Saturday also. Gingerly…

The limousines arrive in a C-5B

The volumes held drawings of the eleven venues and hotels for the Summit, both of their interiors floor-by-floor and topographic drawings of their exteriors and driveways, including vegetation that could block a photographer’s view or conceal an assassin.  Walking routes the delegation will take within a ballroom or disembarking Air Force One at Cointrin Airport in Geneva – who leaves by the front steps or through the aft door – are clearly delineated.  Where the limousines and vans (hauled in by a C-5B prior to the delegation’s arrival) will be parked by Air Force One and the support planes and who will ride in each, where the honor guard meeting the President and First Lady would stand; the locations available to photographers, and the route the motorcade would use to depart the airfield are clear, and according to Ty that’s the way it had to be, period.  Some of the documents weren’t classified; it’s a pretty safe bet that other, tighter Secret Service maps showed routes to a designated hospital and other security protocol.  Interestingly, one sticking point that had to be worked out was whether Secret Service agents could carry their firearms in neutral Switzerland.  I don’t know the eventual outcome of that negotiation and wouldn’t ask.  And, the planning volumes indicated Air Force One by its tail number 26000, the Boeing 707 in use then – parked alongside the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Cal. now is 27000, the last 707 used as Air Force One. 

The event times during the four-day summit?  Leave us not forget that Geneva is a bunch of time zones ahead of any of the four in the US of A. and in the final evaluation these ritualistic and formal handshakes between eight world powers weren’t being choreographed just to go on live TV in some morning between “Regis Live” and “General Hospital” – prime time is the operative word for live formal events at a Summit and some of them were some pretty strange hours of the day in Geneva.

The three volumes were a thought-provoking read of the highest level of worldwide statesmanship, and Ty’s first-hand insight brought to light some facets of such a trip one would never think about without his narration.  Thanks, Tyrus…

Have a good week; summer’s right around the corner, trust me, and God bless America!

 

© Reno Gazette Journal  Jan. 10, 2006

 


 

Christmas dinner came early for 400 folks

018010

The site was the Washoe County Senior Center; the host was the Sparks Sertoma Club, the wait-staff was about 60 wonderful kids from McQueen High School, and much of the food came from local markets and purveyors.

It was a bitterly cold afternoon, but just a few over 400 people braved the frigid weather, and came, alone, or as couples, or families, and boy, did they eat! Turkey and ham, with all the fixin’s, a huge table of desserts of all stripe, music and carols, a lotta laughing and socializing.

A great night indeed. Most left the warmth of the county building to less certain surroundings. A few knew no destination as they went into the bitter night.

But for two or three hours, Christmas came early to some nice people. Thanks, Sertoma. Thanks, McQueen High. Thanks, to all who donated food.

Reno and Sparks still have a heart…

The Mason’s Child ID program

Child ID

Not a scene I’d usually use on this website, but today, that’s the scene I worked for three hours at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum, in the old Reno City Hall. It was a congregation of fire and safety officers and equipment, bomb squad  trucks, a ladder truck (OK, an aerial) with the Jaws of Life for the kids to see, a SWAT team truck, black, natch, as all SWAT team trucks must be. And inside, guys from Reno Fire and Reno Police with cool stuff to give away for kids’ safety, and a K-9 dog show. A good afternoon.

The Masons were invited to host a Child ID program, as Masonic lodges from the Atlantic seaboard to the broad Pacific’s shores do with great regularity, in conjunction with local law enforcement officials. It’s a good program.

We photograph the kid, get his or her thumbprints, their height and weight, birthplace, age (birthdate), parents’ names, and give them a kit to gain the child’s DNA – pretty simple. It’s a little plastic envelope that the parent puts the child’s fingernail and toenail clippings, and a hair extracted with the root. That’s all that’s needed to determine DNA.

Neither the Masons nor the sheriffs’ offices keep the records. The parent is given a sheet with a photograph of the child, thumbprints, and the information above, and the DNA envelope to collect the samples later at home. No records are retained after the afternoon’s over – the computer is wiped clean.

It’s a good program. We do it, every couple weeks in Reno and Sparks, twice coming up at Lake Tahoe venues, Truckee and Carson Valley and Carson City locations, anywhere kids are likely to be gathering. It takes about five minutes, sometimes we have a five- or ten-minute backlog. And it’s free!

But the parents leave with a thumbnail of their child, for their own use and a copy to grandma, summer camps, baby sitters, anywhere the child might be.

In the picture above, Bill Sullivan in the yellow Best-in-the-West Rib Cookoff t-shirt, from Pyramid Lodge #43 has a child looking at the digital camera on the tripod, to send a photo to the computer (he’s just fingerprinted the kid electronically); while Rod Stahl from Reno Lodge #13 assists a volunteer from the Washoe County Health Department.  In the distance, another volunteer measures a boy’s height and stands him on a scale.

If you’ve a child or a grandchild and you’re out at some shindig where you see the Masons doing a Child ID program, take the five minutes and we’ll send you home with a package of information that may save a lost child’s life!