Dr. Alicia Barber Dishes Details About Reno’s Rich History

I’m thrilled that my friend and founder of Stories in Place – a professional, historical consulting firm dedicated to the documentation and presentation of history – is joining us today on the blog. Alicia Barber, PhD, has more than fifteen years of experience working as a researcher, educator, published author, and public historian. Some of her specialties include: U.S. History, the American West, Urban History, and Tourism.

Today Alicia will touch on some unique facts about Reno’s rich history, which she expanded upon at the January 11th Keynote Speaker Event (that I had the honor of attending.)

Dr. Barber’s lecture focused on the Seven Historical Forces that Shaped the Biggest Little City. It was both informative and very engaging! The seven historical forces according to Dr. Barber are:

  • water
  • the railroad
  • mining
  • agriculture
  • the divorce trade
  • the automobile
  • and gaming

As she delved into each aspect we were all hanging on her every word. It was excellent! We all really appreciated her knowledge and understanding of Reno’s history.

Check Out Some Photos from the Event

Read on to learn more about Alicia and read more about Reno’s history…

aliciaHi all! Alicia here. Thank you for inviting me to share some history on the blog.

I’ll be sharing a few ideas from my talk to get you thinking more about Reno’s history. Follow along with me!

Reno is Not Just a Gambling Town


Many people think of Reno as just a casino town, but it started as a railroad town, a ranching town, and a university town decades before gambling was legalized. Sharing images that help explain all those aspects of Reno’s heritage and how they’re still part of the city’s landscape can help orient newcomers to Reno and also help longtime residents feel more connected to it.


I think a place becomes so much more meaningful to us when we know what shaped it and why it’s set up the way it is.

Check out some of the amazing projects Alicia and her Team at Stories in Place have been working on:


Dr. Barber helped design a permanent history installation in The Basement, a marketplace and food destination located in the basement of the historic 1934 downtown Reno post office.  (below)


View More of Alicia’s current projects, focused on bringing history to life.

Thanks again Alicia for your insight and for the continued work you do to preserve and illuminate the beauty of Reno!


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