American History Press
Toll free (888)521-1789

Lumber Baron of the Comstock Lode


The Life and Times of Duane L. Bliss

Jack Harpster

Was Duane L. Bliss a business genius or a despoiler of natural resources? This is one of the major themes in this first-ever biography of one of the Pacific West's great entrepreneurial geniuses.

During the glory days of Nevada's Comstock era, from 1859 into the early 1890s, Duane L. Bliss's Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Company was the largest supplier of timber and lumber to the booming mining business. The company's products provided the framework for the Comstock's 135+ underground mines and supplied the lumber to help build the towns of Virginia City and Gold Hill. It also sold the firewood that stoked the steam engines of the equipment that performed the mines' and mills' heavy lifting and warmed the homes on the Virginia Range. On the flip side, however, Bliss's firm leveled more of the old-growth forest in the Tahoe Basin than any of its competitors.

When the Comstock's mines eventually shut down in the 1890s, Bliss began a second career, turning Lake Tahoe into a national and international summer tourist mecca. Now the living trees mattered, and Bliss changed his outlook, becoming, while not an ardent conservationist, at least a concerned one. In the process he earned the sobriquet "The Grand Old Man of Lake Tahoe," and his influence is still felt in the area today.

Much more than a biography of a professional lumberman and founder of modern Lake Tahoe, this book also describes the intricacies of business and daily life during an important era of American history, and the commitment of the men and women who were caught up in the excitement of the era.


“D. L. Bliss was one those critical players who made the success of the Comstock possible. His role . . .allowed for the installation of square-sets needed to excavate roughly seven hundred miles of underground tunneling beneath the Comstock communities. Jack Harpster describes the three indispensable industries—mining, milling, and lumbering—that depended on one another in a symbiotic relationship.”

- Ronald M. James, Executive director of the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture


Format: 6" x 9" paperback on permanent paper, printed in the United States
Pages 236, including List of Illustrations, Acknowledgments, Foreword by Ronald M. James, Text, Notes, Bibliography, Index, About the Author
Illustrations: 52, including period photographs, maps, period engravings, newspaper advertisements
ISBN 10: 1-939995-10-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-939995-10-0
LCCN: 2015934032
Price: $22.95 (Bulk order rates are available upon request)

Clink here to view the Press Release for Lumber Baron of the Comstock Lode

Click here to view and download a mail-in order for for Lumber Baron of the Comstock Lode

About the Author

Jack Harpster, author of "Lumber Baron of the Comstock Lode - The Life and Times of Duane L. Bliss"

A native of Burlington, Vermont, JACK HARPSTER was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1959 with a B.S. in Journalism. He spent 27 years in Southern California in the newspaper business, and then moved to Las Vegas in 1986. There he spent 17 years on the business management side of the city's two newspapers. Jack retired in 2002, and began writing as a hobby. He and his wife Cathy moved to Reno in 2006.

This is Jack's eighth non-fiction book, all in the personal or institutional biography genre. He has also published dozens of essays and articles on history and biography in national and local journals and magazines.

Add to Cart:

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 27 March, 2015.

Copyright © 2018 American History Press. All rights reserved.