Scavenger Hunt in Carson City – plan your own trip!

Scavenger Hunt for Rocks Used to Build the Stewart Indian School

Authors: Jonathan G. Price, Elisabeth M. Price, and Dennis P. Bryan
Year: 2018
Series: Educational Series 62
Format: 6 pages, color
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Plan your own trip! Explore a unique part of the cultural and geologic history of Carson City on this scavenger hunt at the Stewart Indian School.

The Stewart Indian School, which is located at 5500 Snyder Avenue in Carson City (south of town), was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District in 1985. The site (approximately 110 acres) is managed by the State of Nevada.

The Stewart Indian School operated from 1890 to 1980. When Superintendent Frederic Snyder arrived in 1919, the wooden buildings were deteriorating. Under Snyder’s leadership and with the guidance of Hopi and Italian stonemasons, students learned the vocation of masonry and built over 60 buildings at the school, mostly from 1922 to 1942, using multi-colored rocks that were collected locally. Snyder also added landscaping with trees, flowers, and trellises. Stewart is one of few intact historical American Indian boarding-school campuses in existence in the United States.

The history behind this scavenger hunt fits perfectly with the 2018 Earth Science Week theme of “Earth as Inspiration.” The Hopi and Italian stonemasons created architectural masterpieces inspired by the beauty of the rocks quarried from local sites.

You can also visit other examples of Hopi masonry work in the Carson City area—such as the historic Wungnema House completed in 1948 and now managed by The Foundation for Carson City Parks and Recreation. This link above shows members of the Wungnema family cutting rock in nearby Brunswick Canyon which you can locate on NBMG Map 59.

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