W.D. Gray was used to loud noises. He was a blacksmith, after all! But the noise that grabbed Gray’s attention on the morning of March 16, 1882 was entirely different from the clang of a smithy’s hammer. It sounded more like a freight train was headed his way. And only quick thinking saved him.
Gray looked up from shoveling snow to see an avalanche cascading down the mountain. And it was headed straight for his house on Main Street, Genoa. He managed to grab his wife, and together they high-tailed it to safety in the front portion of their home just before the avalanche struck. The Grays survived — but several of their neighbors didn’t. Casualties included Nimrod Bowers and his wife, who lived just up the hill; a neighboring child; and seven Washoe Indians gathered in a long house to the south.
Despite the death and devastation, one happy surprise emerged 14 days after the tragedy. Workers clearing the rubble discovered a dog trapped beneath — still very much alive, and happy to see the sun again!
To read on about the Genoa Avalanche of 1882, click here for more of the story.
Story by Karen Dustman, a local author who shares her passion for history through her fun books, blog, and free history newsletter. Contact her at www.Clairitage.com.