I was drawn to the mining history for many reasons. The first being that since I am so new to the area, I was anxious to learn a bit more about the history of Nevada. And of course, mining is a huge part of that history. I had also just completed a project based on one of Pennsylvania's coal mining towns, Centralia. And finally, one of the first places I fell in love with here in Nevada was in fact Geiger Grade.
The terrain is steep and from what I am told, many of the Reno folks and out of town visitors avoid this road because of the grade. The original road was rutted, mountainous, rocky dirt. And to traverse it in a stagecoach must have been terrifying! Of course now it is a paved road, but I think that perhaps some folks are still frightened by it.
I was interested in the history of this road and how it really was the main artery into Virginia City. Sadly, I couldn't locate much information beyond the basics (when it was constructed and who was responsible) and I spent a considerable amount of time talking with research librarians, examining what was available in Special Collections, and at the historical society. So in creating the piece for the Black Rock Press, I had to re-imagine how I was going to approach the piece and Geiger Grade. I have a tendency to focus on the untold stories and try to utilize the historical information in my piece, but with this one there wasn't much to draw from.
The finished piece will include text that details what I imagine it would have been like to travel in a stagecoach on Geiger Grade. The piece will feature raised surfaces, cut away portions, and printed topographic lines with the curvy road.
Here are a few images of the first mock up.
Of course after creating this mock up I made a great deal of changes. Here is the mock up utilizing the actual paper I will work with, Rives BFK, and with the adjustments in the cut outs, road and topographic lines.
Here are a few images from the printing.