Geoff Schumacher—Fact, Fiction and Howard Hughes

Geoff Schumacher

Howard Hughes, one of the most intriguing and accomplished Americans of the 20th century, had a profound effect on Las Vegas. His investments in the 1950s, 60s and 70s helped transform the city. But his secretive and reclusive nature has generated innumerable myths that obscure the true story. Geoff Schumacher, author of a new biography of the billionaire, explains how truth is stranger than fiction in the life of Howard Hughes.

Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits & Programs for The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He is the author of Sun, Sin & Suburbia: A History of Modern Las Vegas and Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his master's degree in American history from Arizona State University. He had a twenty-five-year career in journalism, with stops at the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas CityLife, Las Vegas Mercury, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Ames (Iowa) Tribune. He serves as associate editor of the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

Heidi Swank—Rural Nevada Projects

Heidi Swank
  • Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 (first Tuesday)
  • Time:5:30 PM
  • Location: Zoom Link will be available here.

The Nevada Preservation Foundation was founded in late 2013 by a small group of local Las Vegas preservationists. With the intent of educating the building industry and general public on economic, social, and environmental benefits of historic preservation, the Nevada Preservation Foundation has reached countless community members, worked with local building professionals and organizations, and mobilized neighborhoods to obtain historic protections. Our mission is to preserve and revitalize historic buildings and places in Nevada and to cultivate a presence around cultural heritage and tourism. Retention and restoration of our built environment fosters not only a sense of place but also helps to build an engaged community for residents and visitors alike. We know that preserving our buildings is as much about our collective history as it is about strengthening neighborhoods, creating jobs, diversifying tourism, and boosting conservation.

We accomplish this through our efforts in preservation, education and advocacy.

Dr. Swank received her doctorate in anthropology with an emphasis on history and language from Northwestern University in 2006. She has published and presented widely on the ties between history, placemaking, and every day lives. Dr. Swank is a a member of the Nevada Assembly.

Betsy Morse—Before Reno and Sparks — Early Communities in the Truckee Meadows

Betsy Morse
  • Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 (first Tuesday)
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Zoom Link will be available here.

Early settlers in the Truckee Meadows knew nothing of Reno or Sparks. Instead, they lived in communities like Eastman Mill and Brown's Crossing — villages whose names no longer appear on modern maps. Like much of Nevada, the Truckee Meadows between 1855 - 1868 was dotted with small settlements. Most of these briefly boomed and just as quickly died. Some never boomed at all. Reno and Sparks simply beat the odds. This talk will look at a few of the early communities which today can only be found in historical archives. Pleasant Valley, Galena, Glendale, Huffaker, and Lake's Crossing are among the forgotten places to be discussed.

After a career as a National Weather Service meteorologist, Betsy Morse retired and moved to Reno. She has been a volunteer and docent with the Nevada Historical Society for the last decade, where she works in the research library and gives school tours. She loves learning about the history of the state and sharing what she has learned with others.