A pre-courthouse image of Lovelock.
A pre-courthouse image of Lovelock.
The City of Lovelock celebrates its 100th birthday this year. A century ago the Lovelock Review-Miner reported on life in the boom town.

Escape from the Lovelock Jail

Otto Veldt used to work in a blacksmith shop, but when he wanted quick cash, he forged checks. His choices landed him in the Lovelock jail awaiting transport to Visalia, California. On a Sunday morning in 1916, his wife brought him breakfast. There might have been something hidden among her homemade biscuits.

After she left Veldt got busy. But his freedom was short lived. On September 29, 1916, the headline read, “Bad Check Man saws through jail; gains liberty for one hour.” When Constable Wolf saw the desecrated window bars, he chased Veldt down, found him on Pitt Lane, and took him back to jail.

Technology leaps forward

“By the middle of October 1916, residents of Lovelock will be drinking from the fawcetts (sic) of their homes – pure spring water born in the green canyons of the Humboldt range and piped by a modern water system for more than 22 miles to connect with the pipe system now installed in the town,” said the Review - Miner.

After workers put down the last two miles of redwood pipe, officials would inspect the system, and turn on the tap.

The Orpheum

The Orpheum Theater was more than a movie house. It was part Community Center and Speaker’s Corner too. It’s where the town’s residents petitioned for cityhood.

Not long before the suffragettes appeared, the Orpheum got good news. The local health officer decreed it safe to lift the ban on children under fifteen. The town had lost two kids to infantile paralysis (later known as polio).

“But now that all danger of communication of the disease is past it is regarded as safe to again throw the doors of the theater open to children. The new ruling will go into effect the day after tomorrow,” said the Review-Miner.

Suffragette City

A succession of suffragettes traveled by train to speak at the Orpheum between movie reels.

“A large audience greeted Miss Martin, the national chairman of the Woman’s Party, at the Orpheum Theater last night,” reported the Review-Miner. Others came to nearby Rochester. The paper names Miss Mabel Vernon, Mrs. Mark Walser, and Maud Younger, a sociologist and settlement worker.

After speaking at Beal’s Hall in upper Rochester, the Equal Franchise League jumped in their automobiles. They drove to lower Rochester’s Tango Hall for another speech.

“As the headlights of the machines flashed their coming the miner boys began discharging dynamite and with a hastily assembled band formed themselves into an escort of honor under the leadership of J.A. Cavanay, and preceded the ladies to the hall, singing as they went “Marching Through Georgia,” said the Review-Miner.

“At the door of the hall, they formed in line and with their hats off welcomed the speakers as only a bunch of true and loyal miners can.”

The suffragette’s efforts bore fruit. On November 3, 1914, Nevada gave women the vote. The margin of victory came from the rural regions of the state. Women voted in local races in 1915 and statewide elections in 1916.

On October 3, 1916, the Review-Miner reported, “The total women entitled to vote here is 233 which is a very creditable showing compared with other sections where women have the vote.”

Women gained national voting rights when the states ratified the nineteenth amendment on August 18, 1920.

Plans for the City’s 100th birthday celebration

“Our goal is to try and involve our whole community in celebrating different activities throughout 2017,” says Pat Rowe. Contact City Hall at 273-2356 for the meeting schedule.