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Genoa Courthouse Museum

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First a county courthouse with a basement jail, then a school, and now a museum.

The Genoa Courthouse Museum is located in downtown Genoa, Nevada’s first permanent settlement, and was constructed by Rufus Adams and Lawrence Gilman in 1865 when Genoa was the county seat of Douglas County. After the 1910 fire that decimated the town of Genoa, the courthouse was rebuilt.

However, in 1916, the county seat was moved to Minden — about 9 miles east-southeast of Genoa — and the courthouse was sold to the Douglas County School District for just $15. It was then transformed into an elementary school and served for 40 years as a school before it closed in 1956.

The Courthouse Museum Genoa is the realization of a dream envisioned by a group of descendants of Carson Valley pioneers who organized the Carson Valley Historical Society in 1961. In 1969, it was reopened as a museum by the Carson Valley Historical Society. In 1971, title to the building was granted to the Carson Valley Historical Society by the Nevada State Legislature. The museum is now operated and maintained by the Douglas County Historical Society.

Through an extensive restoration program, the exterior was repaired and the interior restored. The restoration project was funded by grants from the state and county, the Bicentennial Commission, the Fleischmann Foundation, and private gifts and donations.

Today, it is a beautifully restored, old-world building with numerous historical displays that reflect the history and heritage of the Genoa and Carson Valley pioneers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Visitors are encouraged to wander through the rooms and view the many pioneer family artifacts on display and learn more about Genoa's history as the first permanent town in Nevada.

(775) 782-2555 — Douglas County Historical Society
2304 Main Street, Genoa, Nevada 89411 (at the corner of Main and Fifth Streets)

Visit the Douglas County Historical Society's website,, for hours, days and times of operation, entry fees and more information about the GENOA COURTHOUSE MUSEUM.


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