After much loving care and maintenance, the Marzen House Museum reopens next month. The Grand Opening coincides with the April 2 dedication of plaques installed by the Jesse Lee Reno 1422 Chapter of E Clampus Vitus. Hundreds of Clampers are expected to attend the festivities.
There will be tours of remodeled displays inside the museum, the old assay office, a newly restored blacksmith shop and the historic Lovelock firehouse according to Museum Advisory Board Chairperson Bonnie Skoglie. The event could have live music, food and a beer garden.
An old kitchen, bedroom, parlor and bathroom are ready for history buffs and there are rooms dedicated to farming, ranching and the military. For the brave, there’s the old doctor’s office.
For those who love old photography, there are black & white portraits, group shots and landscapes, especially in the “Lovelock Room” where visitors can thumb through fragile family photo albums and read old news reports and gossip about Lovelock and Pershing County.
There’s a Smokey's Bar blackjack table and slot machines from Felix’s and the Pershing Hotel.
Fashion-lovers will find ornate women’s clothing. The museum board is looking for mannequins so more of the women’s, men’s and children’s fashion items can be displayed, Skoglie said.
“We have so many cool old clothes,” she said. “When Penny and I started, both bathrooms were piled from floor to ceiling with boxes of stuff that had been donated that no one had ever seen…There are tons of little kids' clothes, handmade, that we would love to display.”
There are handmade ropes and saddles, paintings and photos of cowboys and miners. Coeur Mining is upgrading the Rochester Mine display and there’s a fossil, gem and mineral collection.
Skoglie said publicity photos from the silent film era were donated by the Duncan family.
“This was Maxine Duncan’s family- they were all actors back in the silent movie period.”
Board member Frank Fisk replaced a blacksmith’s shop roof with materials donated by Paul Davidson, Rusty Kiel and Penny Belanger. Fisk also installed an antique forge inside the structure donated by Coeur Mining. In a surprise move, the original forge and other blacksmith tools also donated by Coeur were taken back to the desert by the Bureau of Land Management.
“They just took the artifacts back out there and left them under a sagebrush,” Skoglie said. “Why didn’t the BLM leave the artifacts with the blacksmith shop that stuff was made for?”
A century-old railroad house donated to the museum by a Fernley couple still needs an overhaul. The structure could be converted into an old-time mercantile or other displays.
If another structure is found, it could reflect the town’s once-thriving brothel industry. The museum has a brothel sign, other red-light district items and an inventory of historic artifacts.
“These are the things that came out when archaeologists excavated where the whorehouses were at Ninth and Amheurst,” Skoglie said. “They made sketches of everything they excavated. We’re hoping to get a building because we have one of the original La Belle’s signs. It still lights up so we want to put it on the outside. We have original wallpaper that was in La Belle’s.”
After six interviews, the museum board hired an administrative clerk. Lovelock resident Kelly Thompson lives nearby and “loves the museum.” With Thompson to start on March 16, the museum will be open regular hours on Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
Skoglie, a Lovelock native, hopes the museum helps revitalize the once-thriving community.
“We’re going to have to be open minded enough to let in the distillery. We have to let in companies that people will get off the freeway and come visit. It’s time to grow or we’re done.”