National Register of Historic Places in Lander County

National Register #03000752: Gridley Store in Austin 13 March 2016

National Register #03000752: Gridley Store in Austin 15 July 2008

National Register #03000752: Gridley Store in Austin 15 July 2008

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National Register #03000752
Gridley Store
247 Water Street
Built 1863

The Gridley Store, located in Austin, Nevada, is associated with one of Nevada's most celebrated Civil War-era episodes. The simple granite store was built in 1863 for merchant Reuell C. Gridley and a partner. In April 1864 Gridley lost an election bet and was required to march from his store through Austin carrying a fifty-pound sack of flour. The flour was then sold and resold to raise funds for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which provided care to wounded Union servicemen.

Gridley took the Austin Sanitary Flour sack on tour, ultimately raising in excess of a hundred thousand dollars for the cause in Nevada, California, and the East. The affair was heavily publicized at the time and was celebrated by Mark Twain in Roughing It (Twain and Gridley were schoolmates in Hannibal, Missouri). Today, the rehabilitated store is used as a museum by the Austin Historical Society.

Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination form submitted in 2003.

The Gridley Store is also Nevada Landmark 119.

When we photographed the Gridley Store in 2016, it was home to the Gridley Store Museum operated by the Austin Historical Society.

On 15 July 2008, there was a signed taped to a window:

Reuell Colt Gridley is said to still haunt his store which was built in 1863. Mr. Gridley is best known for carrying a 50-pound sack of flour from Austin to Clifton to pay off an election bet. He then auctioned the sack of flour over and over to raise money for the Sanitary Commission, a relief agency for Union soldiers. They say no good deed goes unpunished and while traveling cross country raising money his health took a tragic turn and his store was lost to bankruptcy as the mines had played out. He died in 1870 at the age of 41. Code: C723

On the same day, a similar haunting notice was taped to the side old the old Lander County High School.

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