Geiger Grade LookoutOn Geiger Grade, Reno Picnic ground and overlook on the way to Virginia City, WPA
In 1938 the WPA workers assisted in the construction of Geiger Grade lookout and Park along Geiger Grade Road which, in 1936, also underwent a WPA road improvement project. The photos here show typical WPA rock work.
In their book entitled Building Nevada’s Highways, Jennifer E. Riddle and Elizabeth Dickey tell us that “…the Highway Department and the WPA worked together to construct a park along Geiger Grade (Route 341), that snaking section of roadway that was the historic lifeline between supplies in Washoe Valley and Comstock Bullion. ‘WPA boys’ and highway department day laborers used local stone to build barbecues, wells, restrooms, and a ‘love seat’ at the summit, overlooking the valley below.”
The 1940 guidebook, Nevada: A Guide to the Silver State, commissioned by the WPA Federal Writers’ Project describes the lookout and the view from the lookout in the following way:
“The broad expanse of mountains, forests, and valleys is best viewed from the Geiger Lookout, 4.8 m., an area of about two acres at a strategic point nearly 1,000 feet above the Truckee Meadows and below the road level. Fireplaces, lookouts, and picnicking facilities have been constructed of vividly colored local rock, and rock-lined paths lead to Geiger, Tilton, and Thorp points, whose names honor the partners who constructed the original road. Groups gather here for supper, particularly during the waning hours of the day and on evenings when the moon is bright. Star study groups sometimes set up their telescopes here.
The view from the lookout is not more impressive than that at many other points; it merely offers a convenient parking spot. Far down near the valley floor feathers of trailing smoke are seen, marking Steamboat Springs; far across the valley is the white ribbon of the road that zig-zags up the hazy blue side of towering Mount Rose. In near by and distant hills every color of the spectrum is seen, with the soft blues, violets, and gray-greens accented by vivid red spots of highly mineralized earth. In spring the meadows are bright green with new crops. The dull green of the forests on the high flanks of the Sierras, mauve shadows on far-away hills, white roads lacing the foreground and background, the deep rich black of freshly turned fields, the brown of dying weeds—all run together to provide a magnificent spectacle.”
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