Raising the Bar Instead of the Ceiling

Gold Hill Saloon - Virginia City, Nevada

With any luck, by the time this piece is published the political posturing will subside, and the wiser minds in the debt ceiling debate will prevail. The truth be told, this grand experiment in democratic rule was founded on a mix dedication and debt. By 1791, the country owed in excess of 75 million dollars to those creditors who bankrolled her revolution. And with the exception of a two-year period beginning in 1835, the United States has had unsettled obligations ever since Ben and the boys emerged from the Pennsylvania State House to make public their intent to break ties with King George the Third.

While it has always been a popular notion that it is the misdeeds and inefficiencies of government that are the root cause of our unbalanced books, it is in fact, those less than admirable traits in humankind that have left the public holding a rather large unpaid tab. Historically, most of Washington’s deficit spending has been the consequence of military conflict, or the missteps and misappropriations in the marketplace. Perhaps if those at the helm of our economic institutions were a bit less greedy, or if we had a healthcare system that was fair and affordable, or if we could just find a more peaceful way to settle our differences—we might just be able to get our financial house in order.

Abandoned Sluice at Gold Hill

But as I raise a glass of whiskey at the saloon of the Gold Hill Hotel, which sits atop those spent silver veins of the Comstock Lode that helped to finance many bloody Northern campaigns during America’s Civil War, I realize that we are still a ways off from raising the bar on human behavior. So for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent upon a Congress that raises the ceiling on public debt.

Posted by: Chris Poh

Looking To The West

Looking West Toward The SierrasWhile I attempt to artfully express myself through emails, blog posts and  articles for American Public House Review, my wife Fran is normally engaging her audience with what is probably a much more effective means of communication…she actually writes letters. Her pen to paper dispatches are the types of things one might hear read by some Hollywood legend in a Ken Burns documentary.

The other morning I mailed an envelope addressed to our friends Will and Norma Jean Cormany in Virginia City, Nevada. Immediately images of sunsets, saloons and snow on the Sierras filled my head. I could almost taste those midday bracers at the Old Washoe Club, McBride’s Bucket of Blood, the Ponderosa Saloon, the Gold Hill Hotel and the much celebrated Genoa Bar.

Unfortunately purse string issues will probably keep me corralled in the east for some time to come; but thanks to the keen eye of Michelle Shiflet  we have these memories and images to share with our readers. You can enjoy her western landscapes  by clicking here


Posted by: Chris Poh

The American Breakdown

Only Driven to the Store and Church on Sunday

During our recent travels through Nevada we were able to experience firsthand some of the most haunted locations in America. And while the taverns featured in the current issue of American Public House Review might convince even the most hardened skeptic as to the possibility of life beyond closing time, this correspondent was most intrigued by the ghostly remains of American industry scattered about the Comstock.

Abandoned Ore Sluice

In many ways these images seem to reflect the current state of affairs in this country. We do appear, more often than not, to be broken down and mined out. But before we give ourselves over to despair, let us not lose sight of the fact that we are a resiliant nation that will recover, revive and rebuild.

And that which can not be salvaged for use by either the pragmatic or the practical will be left to the care of the artist – to become a thing of beauty or the source of a smile. 

Going My Way

The Metal King 

And by the way, if anyone can tell us the story of these two fellows that stand alongside Route 341 just south of Siver City, Nevada contact us at American Public House Review.

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher 



Another Great Train Song

Virginia & Truckee No. 18 Dayton

The June issue of American Public House Review will visit saloons in Gold Hill and Virginia City Nevada. Connecting these classic western mining towns is the famed Virginia and Truckee Railroad. As we explore this enduring western landscape via bar and steel rails we thought it only fitting to include one of our favorite train songs. 

Jack Hardy We thank Greenwich Village based singer songwriter Jack Hardy for allowing us to use “The Zephyr (Take It Slow)” to provide a bit of traveling music during this month’s journey. 

Jack has been a major influence in American folk music since the 1960s. He is also the founder/editor of Fast Folk Musical Magazine. This non-profit publication and record label, which promoted independent artists, counts amongst its alumni – Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Julie Gold, Tracy Chapman, John Gorka, Richard Shindell and Michelle Shocked.

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher – American Public House review


The Skull of Doom

An Irish Warning I’m proud to say that there is a bit of Indiana Jones in each and every one of the staff of American Public House Review. All of us at one time or another, after a long night of editorial research, have awoke with what felt like the skull of doom – or more accurately the numskull of overindulgence. This was certainly the case after myself and our marketing director, David McBride completed our research into the otherwordly activities of the Molly Maguires.

Now as Americans prepare themselves for yet another cinematic quest for an artifact of questionable origin, those who supposedly offer the real truth behind the crystal skulls are rearing their ugly heads. The Sci Fi Channel recently aired a program about the most famous of the carved quartz craniums the  Mitchell-Hedges “Skull of Doom.” This notorious noggin was supposedly unearthed by Hedges and his daughter during the excavation of a Mayan ruin in Belize during the mid to late 1920s. It is purpoted by some that this artifact was acquired by the ancients from some space race, and that the powers contained within will either annilate or save the world from destruction as part of the culmination of the Mayan end times prophecy.

Skull and Bones In actuality Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges purchased the skull from Sotheby’s in 1943, and that its origin is man made circa late 19th century. The more likely threat to mankind from some demonic dome comes from the spate of U.S. leaders that were members of Skull and Bones at Yale. If we can survive these knuckleheads, there is precious little the Mayans can do. 

Skull of Hope I am though a little concerned about this structure that I discovered during a recent journey through the Nevada desert. Its implications to our future well being will be discussed in an upcoming issue of American Public House Review

Posted By: Chris Poh, Publisher



TAPS in Nevada

Sunrise Over the Washoe Mountains

The many blessings of my life have included a handful of sunrises over the Washoe Mountains. In a couple of weeks my assignment for American Public House Review will take me back to those foothills of the Sierras. 

View of the Sierras from the Washoe Mountains

It seems the team from The Atlantic Paranormal Society and myself appear to have similar tastes in taverns when it comes to looking for spirits – first at The Cashtown Inn and now we will cross paths once more at The Old Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nevada. The difference being their spirits are composed of orbs and ectoplasm and mine are made up of various grapes and grains. No matter which form of spirits I encounter at this grand old saloon, It will be an honor raising a glass at the same bar where Ulysses S. Grant, Phil Sheridan and Mark Twain were known to have hoisted a few.

From Virginia City we will head south to visit one of my personal favorite watering holes at Nevada’s oldest hostelry, The Gold Hill Hotel. And of course no trip to this piece of western expanse would be complete without a stopover at the much celebrated Genoa Bar

Genoa Sign  The Genoa Bar Exterior   

 The Genoa Bar Interior

I look forward to sharing this journey in the June Issue of

American Public House Review.

Posted by: Chris Poh, Publisher                                                 

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