Steve Hale of Comstock Characters has been reenacting historical characters from the American West for over two decades.
He has performed at National Parks, State Parks, historical societies, statue dedications, fund raising events, dinner theaters, schools, annual commemorative events, Chautauqua venues, and in repertory with other period Chautauqua characters. This year Steve is again taking Comstock Characters on the road traveling from Oregon to southern California including performances for visitors in Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks.
In 2017, Steve created a new character in the person of Albert Johnson who will appear during the winter in Death Valley National Park, a regional history conference, and elsewhere. Mr. Johnson was the Chicago millionaire who built an exquisite Spanish and Mission style villa on his Death Valley Ranch. You may have even visited this historic site, now better known as “Scotty’s Castle.” The story of the improbable friendship between Mr. Johnson and Walter Scott has become the stuff of Western desert folklore and American legend.
Jon A. “Snowshoe” Thompson, “Mailman of the Sierra”
You are cordially invited to attend a personal visit from Jon Thompson in 1872. For over two decades in the mid-1800’s, Snowshoe was Carson Valley’s only wintertime link to the outside world when he carried the US Mail over the desolate Sierra Mountains between the Genoa Post Office and Hangtown (Placerville). Snowshoe is also credited as the father of skiing in the Sierra Nevada and California.
When Jon Thompson put on his 8-foot skis and heavy leather mail pack in 1856, he skied to Genoa and into history. His two to three day 90-mile crossings (one way) carrying the mail and valuable packages up to 100 pounds on his back through the snow have never been physically duplicated, not even with modern equipment. This extraordinary feat has become part of the legacy and spirit of the pioneer American West.
The stories of his humanity, physical stamina and prowess on homemade Norwegian style wooden “snow shoes ” (a.k.a. skis) live on in the hearts and heritage of Nevadans while also being celebrated annually in his birthplace in Tinn, Norway.
After you’ve met Snowshoe, you may just be inspired by one man who set a timeless example for all of us through dedication to his winter mail route, but also his unwavering devotion to his family, community and fellow man.
at Daytime events on Friday & Saturday.