John Marschall

Felice Cohn

This entry was provided through a partnership with the Nevada Women's History Project.

Samuel Platt

Samuel Platt, distinguished lawyer and public servant in early twentieth-century Nevada, was born in Carson City in 1874 of Jewish Prussian-Polish parents. He attended the local public schools, winning honors in oratory and art. Platt taught school in Carson City and Gardnerville before matriculating to Stanford University in 1893 for two years. He passed the Nevada bar exam in 1896 and then proceeded to Columbian (later George Washington University) Law School in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor of letters degree.

Reno Jewry

Reno's early Jewish community played an important role in the development of Northern Nevada's largest city, creating an economic, religious, and intellectual legacy that continues into the twenty-first century. In 1868, Jewish merchants were among those who purchased lots when the Central Pacific Railroad auctioned off land along its right-of-way for the creation of Reno.

Milton Badt

Milton Benjamin Badt (1884-1966) considered himself a Nevadan although he was born in San Francisco and received most of his formal education in California. He established a law practice in Elko and became District Judge before his appointment to the Nevada Supreme Court in 1947. Paul Leonard, editor of the Elko Daily Free Press and the Nevada State Journal, characterized Badt "as brilliant a man as there'd ever been in the state of Nevada."

Mark Strouse

Mark Strouse served two terms as Virginia City's chief of police and two terms as city treasurer. Additionally, he developed Nevada's first large meat processing business—which included a kosher option—and married into the prominent Edgington family.

Jews in Reno Gaming

Betting on races, fights and cards was a part of life in early Nevada. Jews were participants in these pastimes, and those who owned saloons were party to the practice. After the legalization of gambling in 1931, Jews were prominent in Reno gambling. Those who had plied their trade elsewhere and illegally often came under investigation.

Jewry and Judaism in Nevada

Jews were among the first to provide the essential mercantile infrastructure for Nevada's mining towns and camps. Their numbers grew to nearly a thousand by the late 1870s. Even as the state's population declined from 1880 to 1910, small numbers of Jews or a single Jewish-owned store could be found in nearly every town and mining camp. The first permanent synagogue was erected in Reno in 1921 and the second in Las Vegas in 1963.

Jewish Agricultural Experiment in Wellington

When Nevada's ore production dropped precipitously after 1877, the population steadily declined and public officials searched for ways to attract new citizens and bolster the tax base. Eventually, the Hebrew Agricultural Society of the United States unveiled a plan to triple Nevada's population with thousands of eastern European Jews. In 1897, Governor Reinhold Sadler commissioned Jewish entrepreneurs Morris Cohn and Theodore Hofer to take out an option on a 5,500 acre spread in Wellington, forty-five miles south of Carson City.

Jacob Sheyer, Resident Rabbi of Carson City

Rabbis in the West often required an alternative source of income because their constituency was often quite small. Jacob Sheyer, rabbi and merchant, had business interests in Marysville, California, and in Carson City as early as 1863.  Sheyer had the longest tenure of any rabbi in Nevada in the nineteenth century despite his untimely death.


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