It was a formative time for me, as a preacher and writer, and led to a life-long love of things western and cowboy. And one of the places I loved most was Carson City’s Ormsby House.
Truett Loftin was the owner of the grand old hotel at the time. An interesting man and an entrepreneur at heart, Truett undertook a significant renovation of the property that ended up with the historic hotel having an amazing new edifice and the Ormsby House entering into bankruptcy. It’s had a checkered history of construction since and sits, as I write this, a good deal less active than it was in its heyday.
In the second of my western novels, the novel’s protagonist, a former priest and Pinkerton detective, moves into the hotel and conducts some meetings there while attempting to solve the murder of two Washoe men at Lake Tahoe. Constructed by Major William Ormsby in 1860, twenty years prior to the story fictionalized in Lady of the Lake, the hotel faced the city’s plaza at 2nd and Carson Streets and was a significant part of the area’s history.
It was years later that the hotel moved to its current location and 5th and Carson.
The Comstock Lode and the literally tens of thousands of women and men who traipsed past the Orsmby House made the hotel an instant success. And while Major Ormsby never lived to enjoy his creation–the early Carson City pioneer died in the first of the Pauite wars in May of 1860, avenging the death of two white brothers–you can enjoy some of the hotel’s color and significance in this second in the W. W. Ronin series of westerns situated along the Sierra Nevada in the early 1880s.