By Nicole Cheslock · Photos Robb Retting ·
Historical Haunted Tour
Oct. 16 & 17
$40 | Tours every 15 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m.
During Truckee’s heyday, murders were not uncommon. Though the spirits that still roam the streets are not all suffering souls, there are a few restless phantoms of the night. In years past, they’ve been known to creep up from behind when least expected.
Designed to tap your senses and satiate your desire for fun, Truckee’s Historical Haunted Tour is a fundraiser for Trails & Vistas, a nonprofit organization that sponsors fieldtrips for third grade students and produces an annual September art hike that incorporates music, art and dance.
The action begins at Moody’s
If you’re lucky enough to score tickets for this adults-only event that usually sells out, you are in for a treat with captivating skits inspired by legends of yore at seven featured haunts that are all within walking distance of Moody’s Bistro, Bar and Beats.
Saddle up to the bar at Moody’s and keep your eyes wide open for the Lady in Red. Deceased at the hands of her husband, she frequents the bar every now and then and you just might catch a glimpse of her.
“After a one-year hiatus, this year’s highly anticipated performances will take place in new featured haunts including Bluestone Jewelry, LaGalleria and Tahoe Oil and Spice, while returning to previous favorites including BeSpoke, Masonic Lodge 200, The Truckee Hotel and The Railroad Depot,” shares event producer Christina Stoever-Young of Sunshine Tahoe, a business designed to enhance partnerships, strengthen exposure and inspire creativity.
With a creative flair based on, but not necessarily deeply rooted in, fact, characters and historic tales come to life through songs, dances and entertaining dialogue. People from as far away as Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Arizona join Nevada and California residents for a rip-roaring good time in Truckee.
“I’ve never thought of Truckee as a historical exclamation point. However, the tour was enlightening, engaging and entertaining,” shared Mary Taitano, a Reno resident. “This quaint little town harbors family histories that would widen even the most unenthused eyes. Who knew Truckee had as sordid a past as the rest of us?”
Expect to weave in and out of historic sites as this year’s theme, guarded by only those who need to know, links the saloons, stories and brothels of yesteryear. Truckee, past and present, is tied to the tracks laid through town so long ago. Some things haven’t changed – rents were outrageous, one saloon paying a rental of $500 a month nearly 100 ago, and for many, money was plentiful.
After all, Truckee attracted those looking for a good time and was known all over the West for a bustling lumber industry, transcontinental railroad, icehouses and red light district.
“There would be many years of work for hardworking lumber, ice and railroad workers – who made more than enough cash to enjoy town employing the ladies of the night … It is said you can still hear headboards going ‘Ji-boom, Ji-boom, Ji-boom,’ ” shares one of the guides from the tour’s script.
Though fires swept through buildings, the flames did not keep rowdy folks away. All species of vice flourished back in the day.
The lawlessness gave birth to the “601,” an organization formed to purge undesirables. Members of the 601 would sometimes break prisoners out of jail to bring them to Hooligan Rock where they would threaten the criminals, sometimes even tar and feathering their victims, before pushing them out of town.
What, you wonder, does 601 stand for? Six feet under, zero tolerances and one bullet. Chances are high you will hear their gunshots on Oct. 16 and 17.
Drop the kids off
The KidZone Museum is offering a Not So Haunted Night at the Museum from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 offering childcare with pizza, art and activities for ages 3 to 6. The cost is $30 per child and $25 per child for Tour attendees. Additional siblings are $10 each. Kids are encouraged to come in costume. To make a reservation, call (530) 587-5437.
The Historical Haunted Tour began as a three-year experiment by Sunshine Tahoe to celebrate Truckee’s historic gems while raising funds for worthy causes. The event quickly became a sensation, selling out and attracting a waitlist list every year since inception.
“The Tour is a creative fundraising event that celebrates local legends and history with highly entertaining and spooky twists. And, we’ve raised more than $31,000 over the years,” explains Stoever-Young, who attributes the success to the world-class acting talent, generous volunteers and business sponsors.
Moody’s doors are open for business. Join the cast of characters on the nights of the infamous Historical Haunted Tour. I dare you.
For more information or to get your tickets while there’s still time, visit truckeehistorytour.org. Tickets include a complimentary glass of wine from Moody’s and a keepsake and gift certificate to Squeeze In. For a video on the tour, visit vimeo.com/105266757.