Date: 9-6-14

Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Location: Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, 500 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV (Clark)

Description: “The First Lady of Las Vegas” Helen J. Stewart (1854-1926) was an avid collector of baskets made locally from the early 1910s. During her years in Las Vegas, Helen befriended the local Paiute Indians and by the early 1920s Helen’s collection had grown to nearly 550 baskets. This collection was considered one of the finest in the West. Helen was talking with the State of Nevada to transfer her collection to the Nevada Historical Society when she died on March 6, 1926. When the state could not find the money to complete the deal, Helen’s heirs sold the collection for $12,500 to the Fred Harvey Company who in turn sold off the collection piece by piece. Today, baskets from Helen’s original collection have been traced to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City and to institutions in Denver and Texas. The basket donated to the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is the only one the family kept. It was passed down through three generations until it was donated to the museum by Lawrence and Harriet Stay. Lawrence Stay is the great grandson of Helen Stewart. The family wanted the basket to return to Nevada after 82 years. This finely crafted decorated basket was made by a Moapa Paiute Indian around 1910- 1920. It is 8.5 inches long and 3 inches wide with multicolored designs. The use of dark brown to outline yellow colored design-elements gives the basket an elegant style. The body of the basket is a light cream color and the rim is accentuated with alternating colors of brown and tan. The elements may represent local plants and animals. The basket is temporarily on loan from the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas to the Old Fort for one day only on September 6, 2014. For more information please contact the Friends of the Fort at 702-486-3511 or


Phone Number: 702-486-3511