Found in Fallon: New Year and New Beginnings
- 2020-02-22, 08:37 PM
by Kathleen Williams-Miller Laura Mills Park, one of my favorite places in the whole wide world, is getting a facelift. Located at 400 W. 5th Street, I am absolutely enchanted by this diverse park. For the past 31 years, I have walked there in the morning and evening enjoying the trees, desert landscaping, and benches. Recently, the park has been experiencing a renewal, because the Fallon Park Department has been trimming trees, rejuvenating the lawn, renovating the sprinklers, and tending to the roses. In spring, we hope to see beautiful, green grass. Fallon’s soil isn’t always grass friendly, but with the dedication of the parks department’s incredible team, I have confidence we will have a lovely lawn. Laura Mills Park was named for an amazing woman who taught in Fallon for 40 years. Laura Mills is celebrated as an educator and naturalist. She was awarded the Distinguished Nevadan Award in 1968. Ms. Mills graduated from Churchill County High School in 1912. Her passion was teaching, and she eventually taught school at the Smart District School in Churchill County. She was constantly striving to improve her education and her knowledge of the natural world. From the University of Nevada to the Yosemite Field School, she pursued her quest to understand the world around her. She was appointed as an honorary curator of Ornithology by the Nevada State Museum, and she gave the museum a total of 114 mounted birds, which she preserved through taxidermy. Ms. Mills had true grit. Her photography graces many volumes with subjects ranging from Nevada landscapes to glass bottles and antique glass. Ms. Mills was beloved by her students, and they frequently made trips to the desert, fields, and Virginia City to search for flora and fauna, bugs, or clues to the past. She was also involved with 4-H clubs, Campfire Girls, church, and musical groups. She taught until 1953 when she retired. Ms. Mills died on December 25, 1973. The land for Laura Mills Park was purchased from Churchill County by the city of Fallon in 1972. After many fundraisers and volunteers working along with Fallon’s park workers, Laura Mills Park was completed on October 1, 1975. It was dedicated to Laura Mills, an absolutely perfect choice for our sweet park. Walking around the park, I see folks enjoying the fresh air and scenery. Over the years, I have met many kind, wonderful people strolling through the park. One of my favorite walkers is Cal, who at 96 takes morning and afternoon walks through the park. Our park has been the scene of weddings, parties, epic-playing band concerts, political rallies, police training, boot camp for ladies, yoga classes, religious camp, cookouts, suicide prevention walks, egg searches, exercise buffs and treasure hunts. The park actually has five exercise stations for workouts. It’s like a free gym available anytime. I must share a personal experience with treasure hunts, because one year I planned a treasure hunt in the park for my first-grade class. To ensure that they were planted in strategic places, I got up extra early at 5:00 a.m. to plant the clues. Little did I know that the park crew would arrive at 7:00 a.m. to clean. We arrived, and we were clueless! Fortunately, my high school student volunteer was able to quickly run around and replace the clues. Disaster adverted. As the New Year begins, please take time to savor the excellent opportunities Laura Mills Park offers: fresh air, lovely scenery, and great walks. It could be the beginning of a great relationship with nature, and I’m sure that Ms. Mills would have approve. Never miss a meeting or community event – keep an eye on the community calendar at https://www.thefallonpost.org/events/ If you like what we’re doing, please support our effort to provide local, independent news and contribute to The Fallon Post, your online news source for all things Fallon.