Columns

  • Cory’s Historical Corner

    By Cory Peterman

    Webber Lake Guests

    In 2018, thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, Corri Jimenez (current Vice-President of the Sierra County Historical Society and expert in historic preservation) and others, Sierra County became home to another building listed on the National Register of Historic Places – the Webber Lake Hotel constructed in 1860.

    Once a key stop on Henness Pass Road, the hotel was constructed by Dr. David Gould Webber, who also constructed the original county courthouse earlier in 1854 (this beautiful structure burned down in 1947). Webber Lake has been a recreational haven for decades, and many people have visited the Webber Lake Hotel, including quite a few well-known characters.

    The Truckee Donner Land Trust states that actress Lola Montez (1821-1861) was once a guest at the hotel. However, I do not find this claim accurate (Ms. Jimenez also questioned the veracity of this statement as well in her historic structures report). I invite my readers to refer to my article from March of this year entitled “The Elusive Lola Montez.” Frankly, I believe it is impossible Lola Montez stayed at the Webber Lake Hotel, as she left California in 1856, spent some time in Britain, and soon after returned to the East Coast, where by 1860, she was withering away from the effects of tertiary syphilis. She died the following year in New York City. Considering the Webber Lake Hotel was built in 1860, a stay from Lola Montez seems implausible – though she quite likely passed by the lake on her earlier journey to nearby Independence Lake in 1853.

    (more…)

  • At the Firehouse

    By Victoria Tenney

    ALLEGHANY: May 2nd – Firefighters trained in Pike City.

    DOWNIEVILLE: May 2nd – Responded for a transfer from WSMC to SNMH. May 4th – Responded for a Medical Urgent Care incident; the ambulance responded to Sierra City for an ill person, who was airlifted to the hospital in Reno; COVID-19 testing at the Community Hall. May 5th – Responded for a public assist; firefighters trained. May 6th – Responded for a public assist. May 7th – The ambulance responded to Sierra City for an ill person; responded for a public assist. May 8th – Responded for a Medical Urgent Care incident.

    LOYALTON: May 3rd – 5:00 PM, older male lethargic, west of Loyalton. May 4th – 2:20 PM, older male with difficulty breathing, west of Loyalton; 6:24 PM, lift assist, west of Loyalton. May 5th – 8:33PM, adult male with heart problems, Sierra Brooks. May 7th – older male with pneumonia, west of Loyalton.

    PIKE CITY: May 2nd – Firefighters trained.

    SIERRA CITY: May 4th – Responded for a person who was ill, and was airlifted to the hospital in Reno. May 7th – Responded to an ill person.

    SIERRA COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT #1 (CALPINE, SATTLEY, & SIERRAVILLE): May 2nd – Responded for a fire at the Sattley Transfer Station; responded to a fire in Sierraville. May 5th – Firefighters trained. May 6th – Responded to a medical call in Sierraville.


  • Poetry Corner

    [The city breaks in houses to the sea, uneasy with waves,]

    By Charles Reznikoff

    The city breaks in houses to the sea, uneasy with waves,

    And the lonely sun clashes like brass cymbals.

    In the streets truck-horses, muscles sliding under the steaming hides,

    Pound the sparks flying about their hooves;

    And fires, those gorgeous beasts, squirm in the furnaces,

    Under the looms weaving us.

    At evening by cellars cold with air of rivers at night,

    We, whose lives are only a few words,

    Watch the young moon leaning over the baby at her breast

    And the stars small to our littleness.

    The slender trees stand alone in the fields

    Between the roofs of the far town

    And the wood far away like a low hill.

    In the vast open

    The birds are faintly overheard.

    This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on May 8, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

    About this Poem: “[The city breaks in houses to the sea, uneasy with waves,]” appeared in Poems (Samuel Roth at the New York Poetry Book Shop, 1920).

    About this Poet: Charles Reznikoff, born August 31, 1894, in Brooklyn, New York, was a poet and novelist from the Objectivist movement. The author of many collections, including Testimony: The United States (1885-1890): Recitative (New Directions, 1965), he was awarded the 1971 Morton Dauwen Zabel Prize by the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He died on January 22, 1976.


  • Night Sky

    By Collin O’Mara-Green

    Meteor Showers

    Credit: Sky and Telescope

    Every year, as the Earth orbits around the Sun, our planet passes through the ancient paths of icy comets and rocky asteroids. Those objects have shed gasses and bits of rock which linger in space.When Earth runs into this trail of space debris, the atmosphere acts as a shield. If the collision between rock and air is fast enough, you get what we call a “shooting star” or meteor. It’s not a star at all; often it’s a rock the size of a grain of sand! The friction caused by the air causes it to glow and vaporize into a streak of light.

    Although random space rocks can cause meteors anytime, these predictable intersections with old objects creates “meteor showers” with many shooting stars per hour. Dates are roughly the same each year, but the number of meteors can vary widely from year to year.

    The next shower is tonight! The Eta Aquarids at about 50 faint meteors possible per hour. To observe, just find a clear sky and blankly look up. Your eyes will pick up on meteors all on their own.

    Keep lookin’ up!


  • On the Shelf

    By Paul Guffin

    May, the Month

    The month of May is the fifth month in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. So, whether you’re an old-timer (Julian) or a modernista (Gregorian), you observe the month together. It is the third of seven months in the year to have a length of 31 days (and the fifth of twelve to have 28 days).

    The name of the month entered the English language in the 1050s. It is drawn from the Old English Maius, which was borrowed directly from the Latin Maius, indicating the Greek goddess Maia. She was the daughter of Atlas and Pleione, and the oldest of the Pleiades (the companions of Artemis, goddess of the hunt). Because the Pleiades were daughters of Atlas, they were also called the Atlantides. Maia is the mother of Hermes (messenger of the Gods, and known as Mercury to the Romans), who was fathered by Zeus. The Romans also had a goddess named Maia, who embodied the concept of growth. So, it is possible that the two goddesses were conflated into the naming of the month. It should probably also be noted that the Roman poet Ovid provided a second etymology for the month’s name: he said that the month of May was named for the maiores (Latin for “elders”), and that the following month, June, was named for the iuniores (Latin for “young people”).

    May’s birthstone is the emerald, emblematic of love and success. The month’s birth flowers are the Lily of the Valley and the Common Hawthorn. Zodiac minders will find the bull, Taurus, wandering through the first part of the month, and then being chased out of the month by a set of twins, the Gemini.

    (more…)