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Mission Statement: to preserve the historical and natural resources of the Goodsprings Township by educating the public about its environment, archaeology and history.
If you happen to be in Goodsprings on Sunday morning, you might hear the chiming of a bell coming from the little church in the town. That bell was purchased and donated to the Goodsprings Community Church by the family of Cora McClanahan Schwartz to honor the memory of her life.
The bell was purchased in Mount Airy, NC, a quaint town nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains. The owner of the bell agreed to sell it only after being assured that it would be placed in the church. The bell was sent by truck freight from North Carolina by Roger Poole, brother of Virgil Poole and Peggy Simon of Jean, NV. It was carefully packed for shipping in a solid oak box (which was almost as heavy as the bell itself) to guarantee safe traveling to its new destination. It arrived in Goodsprings in the summer of 1981 and was dedicated by the family at a special church gathering.
For much of its history, the town of Goodsprings did not have a church building or resident minister. Church services were held in community buildings by visiting clergy, but religious training for the children often fell upon the town's residents. Cora Schwartz was instrumental in ministering to the children of Goodsprings and Jean. If only one child showed up, Cora would see that Sunday School would take place on that morning whether it be In the heat of summer or the cold of winter. When church services and Sunday Schooll were held in the old community clubhouse, Fritz Schwartz, Cora's beloved husband would see to it that the old wood-burning stove was started early so that the building was comfortably warm before services started.
A spiritual foundation for many children's futures began under the loving direction of Cora Schwartz. Heroes and villains of the Bible were introduced, to some for the first time, as well as lessons and promises to carry with them in their hearts and minds for a lifetime The lessons were not only from the Bible, but from the way Cora lived her life. Cora welcomed anyone in need to her home. Miss Sarah Williams, the Goodsprings teacher who holds a special place in the hearts of many former students of the Goodsprings school, lived with Cora after arthritis made it impossible for her to live alone.
As the ringing of the bell invites Goodsprings residents to join together for worship each Sunday morning, whether three or thirty should gather, how appropriate that a church bell should be chosen to honor the life of one who so faithfully paid homage to the words, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18:20)
Patricia Poole is the daughter of Thelma and Virgil Poole and the niece of Peggy Simon. She was raised in Jean, NV. Her father ran the Jean garage and her aunt was married to Pop Simon, the namesake of Pop's Oasis in Jean. She is a Trustee of the Goodsprings Historical Society.
This newsletter's articles about the church bell and the church services at the old clubhouse led me to wonder why Goodsprings did not have a church when the town was established. The fact is, it did, and this mission church has quite a story. In 1917, the Yellow Pine Mining Company deeded (for $10 gold) a 50' x 100' lot (located next to the school) to Christ Episcopal Church from Las Vegas. Bishop Hunting reported at the State Episcopalian Convocation that "At Goodsprings, nearly enough money has been raised to build an inexpensive Church to seat 60 people. The land and building will be owned by the Episcopal Church. Permission will be given to use the Church, which will not be consecrated, to any religious organization at such times as we are not using it. This plan is so welcomed that all are helping. The Roman priest is making an active campaign for funds. In Southern Nevada if we have not Church Unity we at least have Amity". In June of 1918, Bishop Hunting thought he had found a church for Goodsprings when he purchased St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rhyolite for one dollar. The plan to have the church shipped to Goodsprings never happened and that Catholic Church was sold in 1919 for $200. Finally in 1921, Bishop Hunting purchased an old saloon building In Jean and moved it to Goodsprings where it was remodeled into a chapel. Although the Las Vegas Age on January 20,1917 reported the church would be called St. Paul's, it was dedicated April 19, 1923 as All Soul's Mission. The building was "carefully not consecrated according to the order in the Prayer Book that we might allow use by ministers of other churches". The Church was used by all denominations for services until the 1930s, when it fell into disrepair. All Soul's was destroyed by fire in the early 1940s.
Facts in this article are taken from History of the Episcopal Church in Nevada by Rolfe Chase c2OOl.
At the annual meeting of the Goodsprings Historical Society in May 2004, members were asked to write their memories of some of the buildings in Goodsprings. The Community Club House building was the subject of many of these memories. This wooden military barracks was moved from Tonopah in the1940s to Goodsprings where it served as a community center, church and post office until the new Community Center was built next to the school.
Sheila Birdwell Mayes: I remember having Church every Tuesday night at the Club House. Reverend Hutchinson would come from Vegas. We also had lots of parties there where we danced to the "Oldies". Bobbie Sue Reed Poole: I remember attending Bible School there. College students would live in Goodsprings and teach Bible School for two weeks. As children we really looked forward to this. We also had many potlucks and dances for the young people. On the Saturday the dance was going to be held, we girls would spend most of the day getting ready. We had a lot of fun in this building. Mickey Moran: I remember potlucks and dances in the late 40s were held in this building. Patricia Poole: I remember this building as the gathering place for parties (I remember specifically the Halloween parties). Church services were held there as well as Vacation Bible School and weekly Sunday School classes. Church services, as I recall, were always held in the evening, midweek, I also remember potlucks-what fun!
It is rather amazing to me that my parents ever ended up in Goodsprings where we lived until I was 14. Mother was from Gridley, California and she met daddy when he came there with his friend, Clarence Watkins who was courting my aunt. They were married in Gridley in a double wedding with Clarence and Aunt Mary in 1927. Mother had spent all her life in Gridley and she was ill-prepared for the changes her life would take when she moved with my daddy to Goodsprings. Goodsprings was a tiny mining town filled with miners and assorted characters. When the newlyweds arrived, they were given a "shivaree". As was the custom, my daddy pushed mother in a wheelbarrow down the main and only street. Everyone in town came out beating on kettles and tin pans and making an infernal racket. Then, to top it off, they threw daddy in the local jail until he could provide a ransom of "liquid refreshments" at a local saloon. Mother, who had never had a drop to drink in her life, was horrified. The jail was full of cobwebs, black widow spiders and scorpions and she told us that she was convinced she was going to be a widow before she was much of a wife.
Mary McClanahan Damore, the daughter of William Esco and Frances McClanahan, lived in Goodsprings from l928 to 1942. She is a member of the Goodsprings Historical Society.
The Annual Meeting of the Goodsprings Historical Society will be held at 2:30PM on April 30, 2005 at the Goodsprings Community Center. We hope to see you there. Among the items up for discussion will be the allocation of GHS funds to stabilize the old Clubhouse. One new Trustee will be elected at this meeting. If you would like to be considered for this position, please contact any of the current Trustees.
Thanks to Dick Barnes, Janet Lowe and Evin Cronister for photos and memorabilia donated to GHS.
The Goodsprings Historical Society sadly acknowledges the passing of Old Timers /GHS members Ruby Barnes Schlemmer, Celesta Lowe, Virginia Handy, Sheila Birdwell Mayes and Zip Pinion. In tribute to our lost friends, the GHS will be establishing a Book of Memories of Goodsprings Old-Timers. Family members or friends will be encouraged to add a page to this book in honor of an Old-Timer. A photo and a brief history of their life and times in Goodsprings is all that is necessary. More information on this topic will be given at the Annual Meeting.
Please remember, yearly membership fees are due in May. Family memberships $10/yr. Individual memberships are $5/yr. Please pay at the Annual Meeting or mail to: Goodsprings Historical Society, P.O. Box 603, Goodsprings, NV 89019
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