Gardnerville Record/ Record-Courier
Gardnerville, in Douglas County, Nevada became the business and transportation center for the rich agricultural district of the Carson River Valley, watered by the Carson River carrying snowmelt from Sierra Nevada. Genoa, the first settlement in Nevada, a few miles north of Gardnerville, was a way station on the California Trail for travelers before crossing the Sierra Nevadas on their way to the California goldfields. But with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s and with it wagon traffic through Genoa to and from California, Gardnerville which was more centrally located, became the market and traffic hub serving the prosperous ranching and agricultural population that had settled in the Carson Valley, with roads connecting to the new mining developments to the south in Bodie across the state line in California.
In 1879 Lawrence Gilman, who owned a hotel in Genoa, saw which way the wind was blowing and bought seven and a half acres from local cattle ranchers John and Mary Gardner, on the east side of Carson River, and moved an abandoned hotel that he and his wife owned further south to Gardnerville and opened it as the Gardnerville hotel in 1881, and soon after established a post office. In 1885 Gilman sold the hotel and half interest in the townsite to Peter Victor Lundergreen who moved a saloon from Millerville to Gardnerville. Gardnerville slowly drew business from Genoa now too far north from the main travel corridors. In 1895 the Reno Tribune reported “Garnerville booms: It is reported that Gardnerville is experiencing quite a little boom which promises to continue til it is one of, if not the best, towns in Douglas County.” The Winnemucca Silver State reported later that year that “the Gardnerville authorities are raiding the Chinese opium dens and closing the tan games. Gardnerville is getting to be a regular up to date town.”
One of those seeking their fortune in Douglas County’s new boom town was George I. Lamy a “Professor of Violin”, who had settled in Carson City a few years previously, giving lessons and tuning pianos. In 1896 the Carson City Appeal, in its news of local comings and goings, reported that Lamy had settled in the Carson Valley where he was establishing a “colony” of new students. In 1898, when the town decided that it needed its own newspaper, a subscription was raised to purchase the printing press of the abandoned Reno Tribune and Professor Lamy stepped up to manage and edit the new weekly newspaper, the Gardnerville Record issuing its first edition on July 12, 1898.
The launch of a new newspaper was an occasion for congratulations by other newspaper editors, and such was the case when George Smith, editor of the rival Genoa Courier greeted Lamy’s new enterprise: “The presses and printing material for the new Gardnerville paper arrived this week. The outfit weighs about 6 tons, and the proprietor, Prof. Lamy, has about the same amount of confidence and energy. So we may look for an exceptionally brought paper from that quarter in a few days. It will probably give us a few political pointers, unawed by influence and unbribed by gain: tell us how to irrigate our sagebrush lands and stir us old-timers up generally with the sword of enthusiasm and the spear of truth. Anyhow, it will be a change from the sedate and contemplative course pursued by the Courier. Prof. Lamy does not know that Douglas County cannot support two papers but his ignorance in this respect will benefit the people of Gardnerville, if his paper is worth reading, and he will probably learn a few things before snow flies. . . .”
Lamy took out ads for his new paper in the Carson City Appeal, “All the latest news. Short spicy paragraphs. Progressive journalism. subscription $1.50 a year if paid in advance.” And in his frequent visits to the capital city, according to the Appeal, he “rustled” and “hustled” his paper and enthusiastically boomed the town of Gardnerville “whose new main street,” he proudly reported in 1900, “boasts two livery stables, a woodworking shop, a boarding house, a tin shop, three general stores, a hall, four saloons, one meat market, one furniture store, a drug a confectionary store, and two hotels.” Lamy hustled for four years until he sold the Record in 1902 to Dr. Stoddard Southworth who installed his son Charley, a recent University of Nevada graduate, as editor. Stoddard was welcomed by the editor of the Carson City Appeal, “Doc you are welcome into the flock but you’ll find it harder than pulling teeth.” Stoddard a staunch Republican was nominated for the State Senate from Douglas County in 1904 but was defeated. To add to his woes that year his printing office and equipment were totally destroyed in a fire that also destroyed his residence. It was optimistically reported in Tonopah Bonanza “Dr. Southworth immediately ordered a new plant and will be reissuing paper in 2-3 weeks. The Record is one of the best papers in the state and in order to show their esteem for it, the people of Gardnerville raised by subscription and presented to Dr. Southworth $600. Here’s long life and success to the new Record.”
Southworth, instead of replacing the Record’s plant, instead bought the rival Gardnerville Courier, (transplanted from Genoa by George Smith in 1899) merging it into the Record-Courier. But Southworth and sons did not keep the paper long selling out later the year to W.C. Ezell and Bert Selkirk, “between the doctor and the freckled boys, “ the Appeal reported appreciatively, “they have issued one of the best papers in Western Nevada.” As Southworth headed south to Bodie to open a real estate and mining brokerage, Bert Selkirk settled down with his wife to manage the paper, which he did for the next forty years with only a brief hiatus between 1906 and 1908 for health reasons. He retired in 1944. The Record-Courier has since seen a succession of new owners and is still published today, making it one of Nevada’s longest continuously published newspapers.