The Life and Times of Lillian Virgin Finnegan
Kim Harris is a local historian and historical reenactor (also known as Chautauqua performer), who passionately shares her love for Carson Valley history at every opportunity afforded to her. Kim plays many roles, from Pony Express Rider and lady of the night, to real-life events coordinator at Dangberg Home Ranch. Find more of her stories and videos here.
In this series of videos, Kim introduces us to notable Carson Valley resident Lillian Virgin Finnegan. Lillie, as her friends called her, grew up in Genoa around the turn of the twentieth century. With a heart for volunteerism and a love for her home, Lillie’s legacy lives on. In fact, she was honored in 2019, for her contributions to Genoa. Here are the words from the plaque, on her statue.
LILLIAN VIRGIN FINNEGAN
(1878 – 1938)
ORIGINATOR OF THE GENOA CANDY DANCE
Lillian Virgin Finnegan, known affectionately as “Lillie”, was born and raised in Genoa. An early graduate of Nevada State University, she was a teacher, suffragist, businesswoman, and respected community leader. Lillie’s family home was the Pink House, located on Genoa Lane. In 1919, when the citizens of Genoa wanted streetlights, Lillie and the ladies continued to organize what later became known as “The Candy Dance” each year. Over the years, the Candy Dance was Lillie’s passion. Her obituary describes how she directed the 1937 Candy Dance event from the couch in her home at the Pink House. Even though she was dressed and ready, her terminal illness kept her from attending the final event of her life. Lillian’s spirit lives on in the volunteers who support the Town of Genoa’s many social and fundraising events.
Centennial Statue Committee Members – Gail Teig, Barb Wilson, Kim Harris
Without further adieu, fix yourself a drink and settle in for Tea with Lillian Virgin Finnegan.
In the first episode she describes the Genoa avalanche, the Spanish Influenza of 1918, as well as happier memories of her life in Carson Valley including her home, The Pink House, and her days as a teacher.
In this episode, Lillie regales us with stories of dastardly villains like Sam Brown, and heroes of the old west, such as Henry Van Sickle and Snowshoe Thompson.
Episode three describes the devastation and reconstruction after the Genoa fire of 1910.
The fourth episode describes how the annual Genoa Candy Dance began.
In this episode, Lillie shares a peek into life in Carson Valley in 1918.