The Snowshoe Mailman

Statue of Snowshoe Mailman of the Sierra

Field review by the editors.

Genoa, Nevada

If you're stuck in a relentless and miserable job, consider whether it's miserable enough to inspire future generations to erect a monument to you. John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson had such a job, and now he's immortalized as a statue in park -- and it's the only reason we slowed down in Genoa.

Born in Norway as Jon A. Torsteinson - Rue, "Snowshoe" Thompson spent 20 blizzard-filled winters -- from 1856 to 1876 -- delivering mail between Genoa, Nevada, and Placerville, California. That's a distance of 90 miles, over the rocky Sierras and a succession of peaks, gorges, and passes.

To get a sense of how incredible (or miserable, depending on your outlook) was such a trek, drive west from the statue along US 50 to Placerville. It's not an easy trip, even in a motorized vehicle in the nicest weather.

"Snowshoe" stoically made the trek twice a month, in winter, carrying a 50- to 100-pound mail bag. For the three-day journey he used long skis and a single balancing pole to traverse snow banks that could be up to 50 feet deep. He ate crackers and dried beef and "drank melted snow from his hand," according to the plaque at the base of the statue (written by town historian B. J. Rightmire).

The bronze statue by sculptor Don Budy depicts Thompson balancing with his pole atop a plume of snow like a surfer, his skis jutting forward. His hat is firmly pulled down over his face, and his mailbag is secure.

Also see: Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest | Barefoot Mailman Statue

Statue of Snowshoe Mailman of the Sierra

Mormon Station State Historic Park

Address:
Main St., Genoa, NV
Directions:
Mormon Station State Historic Park. Drive south on Hwy 206 from Carson City to Genoa. The statue is on the northeast corner of Hwy 206/Main St. and Route 278/Genoa Lane.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Magic Carpet Mini GolfMagic Carpet Mini Golf, South Lake Tahoe, CA - 10 mi.
Nevada State Museum: Scary Teeth, Mummified CatNevada State Museum: Scary Teeth, Mummified Cat, Carson City, NV - 12 mi.
Big Head On A LawnBig Head On A Lawn, Carson City, NV - 12 mi.
In the region:
Flying Bus, Reno, NV - 36 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Nevada

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Nevada.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

October 15, 2019

My Sights

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Nevada Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Mothman Museum, Point Pleasant, West Virginia (Oct 14-20, 2019)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Nearby Hotels: Genoa, Nevada

Nightly rates found:

Book Now