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Editorial Review

Latest books cover history

Susan Skorupa (SSKORUPA@RGJ.COM)

Nevada mainstays mining, gambling and the Donner Party headline three new books by local and area authors:

·  Jody and Ric Hornor compiled "The Golden Quest and Nevada's Silver Heritage" (19th Century Books, $21.95 paperback) as Part II of a planned six-book series on 19th-century California and Nevada and the heyday of the Gold Rush and the Comstock Lode.

The Hornors, Northern California publishers, found and reproduced nearly 140 19th-century photos from such sources as the Nevada Historical Society and the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. The text comes from history books of the 1880s and from letters, journals, diaries and newspaper stories of the era.

Historical series

The "Golden" series includes "The Golden Corridor: 19th Century Northern California from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe." Two books on California 49 in Mother Lode country and one each on Sacramento and San Francisco history are to follow, Jody Hornor said.

The Hornors started working on publishing their history books after an acquaintance lent them some 1880s California and Nevada history books.

They like the writing style in the historical books and began looking for ways to supplement those texts as a way to deliver the "flavor" of the times, as well as the information. That led to digging through thousands of pages of journal entries from the 19th century and tracking down photos.

"The goal was (to use text) all written in the 19th century and photos from the 19th century," Jody Hornor said. "To bring together things that are not currently available unless someone wants to spend hours sitting in a library."

"The Golden Quest" captures Lake Tahoe and Nevada mainly after the California Gold Rush of 1849 ebbed. Readers discover El Dorado County, Calif., and Tahoe and the Sierra of the mid-1800s, including their development, settlement and industry.

Other chapters are on Douglas County and the settlement of Genoa; Carson City and the former Ormsby County; Virginia City and Gold Hill; Washoe County and Reno; local relations with American Indians of the literature's era; and the Tahoe City-Truckee communities of the 1860s and 1870s.

Living in Pilot Hill -- about two miles from where gold was discovered in California in 1848, sparking the 1849 Gold Rush -- the Hornors don't have far to go to satisfy their interest in history.

"The property we live on has hundreds of yards of old rock fence built by the (19th-century) Chinese," she said. "When we walk through our property we walk through history and it's hard to ignore it actually."

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