Home to only 250 people, Genoa offers visitors a quaint town with historical charm. Known as the birthplace of Nevada, Genoa takes pride in being the oldest ongoing settlement in the State.
You can spend the day shopping at Genoa Square, where you’ll find unique gifts, old-fashioned candy and freshly ground coffee, or have a picnic at the Town Park or Mormon Station State Historic Park. On a warm day, you can grab a cool drink at the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s oldest saloon. After a round of golf at Genoa Lakes Golf Club, relax with a massage at David Walley’s Hot Springs. Be sure to visit Genoa’s historic buildings—Genoa Town Hall, Genoa Community Church and Genoa Courthouse Museum.
Genoa, pronounced “ju-NO-ah,” is nestled on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in Carson Valley, 20 minutes from Lake Tahoe’s world-class skiing. Established in 1851 by Mormon traders, it was called Mormon Station until 1855 when, as legend has it, Judge Orson Hyde named the burgeoning town after Genoa, Italy, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.
If you are visiting Genoa in September, make plans to attend the annual Candy Dance, always held on the last weekend of September. The event began in 1919 to raise money for streetlights by passing out candy at a dance and continued to pay the electric bills. In 1970 a small crafts fair was added, and now the Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Fair draws large crowds, closing down the streets for an entire weekend.
Explorers and trappers made their way what is now known as Genoa, Nevada. It wasn't until June of 1851 when John Reese and his party built a trading post that the area began to attract settlers and became a permanent settlement. Reese and his men took up land claims extending from the Walley's Hot Springs marsh area south of Genoa into Jack's Valley on the north. Since most of the men in Reese's party were Mormon, the location became known as Mormon Station. After building a trading post, Reese built a house and sent for his family in New York. Later, Reese added a blacksmith shop and a large corral for livestock.
The Overland Emigrant Trail passed down what is now Genoa's Main Street. Reese's operation did very well and when the Mormons were called back to Salt Lake City in 1857, Reese decided to stay to protect his business and extensive land claims. A great deal of buying, trading and selling of land went on during these early years. Reese did return to Salt Lake City in 1859 after business reversals.
Orson Hyde, an elder in the Mormon Church, was sent to "Mormon Station", Utah Territory, to set up a government, survey the town into lots, and define the state line between California and Utah Territory. He renamed Mormon Station "Genoa" in 1855. As the story goes, Hyde admired Christopher Columbus and so named the town site" Genoa" after Columbus's birth place, Genoa, Italy. Orson Hyde was the first probate Judge. Genoa became a commercial center during Territorial days and settled down to a quiet existence as the county seat and a trading center for Douglas County.
Although the town burned almost to the ground on at least two occasions, many of the orginal buildings still exist.