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[graphic] Three Historic Nevada Cities Carson City, Reno, Virginia City A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[photo] Dat So La Lee House
Photo by Terri McBride, Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
Louisa Keyser, also known as Dat So La Lee, is the most famous Washoe Indian basket weaver. Dat So La Lee was born in the Woodfords area (25 miles south of Carson City) in the first half of the 19th century, before European Americans settled Nevada. At that time, Washoe women would weave baskets to cook and store food, winnow seeds and carry infants. Dat So La Lee moved to Carson City late in life, in 1895, offering small baskets for sale to the owner of an emporium there. This owner, Abe Cohn, became Dat So La Lee's main benefactor and promoter, building this small vernacular board-and-batten cottage for her around 1914. It is located directly east of Abe and Amy Cohn's house.

[photo] In this studio portrait Dat So La Lee posed with two baskets from her final visionary "masterpieces" series. "Light Reflected" (left) and "Hunting Game in a Proscribed District."
Photo courtesy of Nevada Historical Society

From that time until her death in 1925, Abe and Amy Cohn supported Dat So La Lee so that she could concentrate on making her superb baskets to sell to tourists and collectors, becoming internationally known. Even during her lifetime, Dat So La Lee's baskets sold for thousands of dollars, a large sum for the early 20th century. Dat So La Lee was the undisputed master of a craft that was at the same time dying in her culture. It is for this reason that Dat So La Lee is so important to modern Washoes and other American Indian weavers; she was an inspiration to young women and girls who wanted to learn the ancient art of basket-weaving, and still is today. Her baskets can be found at the Smithsonian, the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, and the Nevada Historical Society in Reno.

The Dat So La Lee House is located at 331 W. Proctor St. in Carson City. The home is a private residence and is not open to the public.

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