Donation From Community Volunteers Leaves Lasting Legacy At Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

The four children of Jack and Margie Gibson have honored their parents’ decades-long service to the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, with a $40,000 donation that enabled the museum’s latest exhibition.

The Gibson Collection is 15 detailed, hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind model replicas of the original Virginia & Truckee locomotives and a McKeen motor car. The works were built by railfan George L. Richardson starting in 1957, over 16 years.

Richardson loaned the models to the Nevada State Museum in 1973, and they were a fixture there for nearly 20 years. The collection was moved to the Nevada State Railroad Museum after the Jacobson Interpretative Center opened in 1990. The models were never the property of the museum, until now. The Gibson family’s generous memorial will assure the important collection remains at the railroad museum.

Jack Gibson (1920-2014) was a printer with a life-long love of trains. He was a founding member of the Northern California Railroad Club, the Central Coast Railway Club, and the California-Nevada Railroad Historical Society. He was involved in the initiation of both the “Western Railroader” and the “Ferroequinologist” newsletters. His introduction to the Virginia & Truckee came on June 5, 1938, when the California-Nevada Railroad Historical Society conducted the first ever railfan excursion on that Nevada short line using its nostalgic equipment.

Jack and Margie (1922-2015) eloped on June 14, 1941, and married on the steps of the Washoe County Courthouse in Reno. They moved their family to Nevada in 1959, where he worked for the Fallon Eagle-Standard newspaper. Though Jack’s work took the family to Visalia, Calif., for several years, he finished his career at the Nevada Appeal, where he was the production manager from 1975 until his retirement in 1982.

In Nevada, the Gibsons were avid explorers of ghost towns and old mining camps and became enthusiastic volunteers at the Nevada State Museum. The Gibsons actively campaigned for the creation of the Nevada State Railroad Museum in the early 1980s, and they generously supported both museums financially. Margie regularly worked in both museum stores and coordinated various receptions and special events. Jack was frequently the engineer or fireman on locomotive No. 22, the Inyo, and he edited the Nevada State Museum newsletter. They were instrumental in initiating the annual Santa Train, and bringing the locomotive “Joe. Douglass.” back to Nevada. Governor Bob Miller proclaimed their 50th wedding anniversary as A Day in Honor of Margie & Jack Gibson as “Outstanding Humanitarians and Respected Volunteers.”

The Richardson models were purchased for the Nevada State Railroad Museum by Diane Uchytil, Suzan Oliver, Gail Simon, and Skip Gibson and donated in collaboration with the Friends of the Nevada Railroad Museum. The museum is at 2180 Carson St. For more information contact (775) 687-6953.