Gold Hill Lecture Series – Tales of the Donner Party

Covered WagonFormer RGJ Investigative Reporter Frank Mullen To Tell Tales Of The Donner Party At The Gold Hill Hotel March 24, 2016

     That isn’t the whole story, however. Other factors impacted how and why they ended up like they did. Splitting from the main group to take Hastings’ cut-off, an untried path at the time; discord among the families and recognizing other alternatives to their tragic end could have changed history. What really caused the 87-member group to end the way they did? And what about the heroic efforts of James Reed, who was banished from the group in Nevada, but came back again and again to rescue his family as well as those who turned against him?

     Frank X. Mullen, former investigative journalist for the Reno Gazette-Journal will tell the tale of the Donner Party at the March 24 Gold Hill Hotel Thursday Night Presentations. Mullen is the author of “The Donner Party Chronicles,” a book that was the basis for a documentary produced by the Weather Channel and also shown on public television. Photos for the book were taken by Marilyn Newton, former photographer for the RGJ.

     Mullen is an investigative reporter, author, historian, university journalism professor, Chautauqua performer and free-lance writer. For more information on his works, go to

  • Mullen’s Gold Hill Presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.
  • Date: Thursday, March 24.   
  • Dinner:  4-8 p.m. at the Crown Point Restaurant at the Gold Hill Hotel with several fine-dining menu options offered.
  • Cost:  $25 for the dinner and lecture; $10 for the lecture only.

     The Gold Hill Hotel, the oldest hotel in Nevada, and its renowned Crown Point Restaurant, are located at 1540 Main Street, Gold Hill, just one mile south of Virginia City on SR 342.

     For reservations, call the Gold Hill Hotel at 775-847-0111.

Other upcoming presentations include:

  • March 31 – Deke DiMarzo – retired law enforcement officer, local re-enactor – First half “The Paiute Wars” and second half, “Camels on the Comstock and Other Interesting Information.”
  • April 7 – Dennis Cassinelli – “Petroglyphs and the Dayton Petrified Forest”
  • April 14 – James Lee Reeves – Comedian-musician
  • April 21 – Bill Sjovangen – “Nevada Aviation History”

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