In 1970, when the farm industry had a five-year slump, Maggie Lowther and her husband, Willard, decided to sell their heavy-equipment machine shop they owned in The Dalles, Ore.
Lowther's mother became a Virginia City shopkeeper in 1964, and she convinced her daughter, an antique hound, to move to Nevada to do the same.
"So we came here and opened our store on North C Street called Maggie's Closet," she said.
When her father died, Maggie and Willard Lowther moved into the shop's tiny backroom.
"We lived in a 6-by-10-foot space. I used to have to crawl on the bed to make it," she said with a chuckle.
For a short time, they lived in a Carson City trailer park, but the commute was a bit too much.
Back then, she said, Virginia City was a very different place.
"When we started, the (tourist season) only lasted like five months of the year," she said. "And then it just grew."
Through February to November, while her husband looked after the shop, Lowther worked as a telephone operator for the mountain community.
"I was one of the last operators in Virginia City before they switched over to the newer systems," she said.
In 1982, Lowther took a job with the Storey County Clerk-Recorder Office. In 1990, she was elected the county's recorder-auditor, and she's been there ever since.
Lowther said that for the first 10 years she lived in Nevada, every time she'd go back to Oregon to visit her children and grandchildren, she'd cry all the way back to the border.
But after 34 years, the Silver State has grown on her.
"I wouldn't live anywhere else," she said.
At 77 years old, Lowther is retiring.
Her children want her to move back to Portland, since Willard's death in 1998 left her alone. Friends in Southern California are trying to lure her there. She's thought about selling her property, but "I love Nevada, so if I did sell and move, I'd probably only move as far as Carson or Reno."
An avid traveler, she's venturing to Egypt in November.
And when she works her last day on Dec. 31, she's sure she'll find ways to fill her time.
"I'll travel, play golf, and read," she said. "It's really too early to decide what I'm going to do. Maybe God will help me decide."