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Stories by author "Mella Harmon": 42

The Reno Unity Center was built as a private residence in 1895, on the former lands of Alvaro Evans. Evans had sold a portion of his extensive land holdings to Reno financier A. G. Fletcher in 1889. Fletcher subdivided the block just south of the…

Luella Garvey moved to Reno from Pasadena, California in 1929. Mrs. Garvey was the wealthy widow of a Cincinnati steel magnate. She selected a parcel in Reno’s most fashionable neighborhood and in 1934, commissioned the African-American architect…

Francis Newlands built his large home on Elm Court in 1890, two years after moving to Reno from San Francisco with his second wife, Edith McAllister. Newlands’ first wife, Clara, was the daughter of Comstock mining and banking magnate William…

The I.O.O.F Lodge/Reno Savings Bank, on the southwest corner of Virginia and Second Streets, is one of the oldest existing downtown buildings. The two-story Italianate-style building was designed by the local architect John S. Sturgeon to house the…

The 1915 Reno National Bank building was designed for George Wingfield by Reno’s pre-eminent architect, Frederic DeLongchamps, to house one of Wingfield's banks, the Reno National Bank. Designed early in DeLongchamps' career, the building is an…

Located in the northwestern portion of Idlewild Park, the California Building is the only remaining architectural element of the Transcontinental Highways Exposition of 1927. The elaborate Exposition celebrated the completion of the Lincoln and…

The Field Matron’s Cottage was built on the grounds of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in 1927 to house the activities of the field matron, who served under a program of the Bureau of Indian Affairs that provided instruction in sanitation and hygiene…

The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house was built in 1929 on a hill overlooking University Terrace in Reno's West University neighborhood, where a number of other fraternities and sororities are located. It was the first fraternity-built house at the…

In a town traditionally known for “sinful” institutions, it should not go unnoticed that between 1870 and 1950, downtown Reno had a total of 24 churches. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, which began with a congregation of just four members,…

Built in 1949, Veterans Memorial School was one of the first schools constructed in the state after World War II, and was named in honor of those who had served. Its construction came in direct response to Reno’s growth; the city’s population…

There has been a Catholic presence in Nevada since its earliest days. The first Catholic church was built by Rev. Father Hugh P. Gallagher in Virginia City in 1860, during the heyday of the Comstock Lode. Other churches followed as mining boomtowns…

The Southern Pacific Railroad Freight House was built in 1931, replacing a smaller wood-frame structure that had outgrown its usefulness and blocked a major thoroughfare. Despite the economic problems of the Great Depression, freight traffic through…

The Southside School Annex was built in 1936 through a grant provided by the Public Works Administration (PWA), one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs initiated during the Great Depression. The Southside School had been built in…

Landrum's came to Reno on a railroad flat car, off-loaded from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad tracks behind the property, and assembled on its present site in 1947 by Eunice Landrum, who named her new diner "Landrum's Hamburger System No. 1." The…

In 2006, the Reno Historical Resources Commission placed a plaque in front of the former location of Jacob Davis's tailor shop and residence at what is now 211 N. Virginia Street. The plaque commemorated Jacob Davis’s important 1871 invention:…

The Bethel AME Church was a religious, social and political center of the African American community, initially for black settlers in the 1910s, and later for local civil rights activists during the 1960s. From its inception in 1907, Bethel AME has…

The American Railway Express Agency building and the new Southern Pacific Railroad Depot were dedicated in civic ceremonies on February 8, 1926. From 1918 until that day, Reno’s American Railway Express operations had been located inside the…

Trinity Episcopal Church was built over the course of 25 years bracketing the Great Depression and World War II. The congregation’s history in Reno dates to 1870. The first services were held in a schoolhouse at Sierra and Second streets, but by…

Completed in 1926, the First United Methodist Church is one of the oldest remaining churches in Reno. The Methodist Church congregation was established early in Reno's history in 1868, organized by Reverend Thomas McGrath. The third Methodist Church…

By the late 1920s, Reno had outgrown its first federal post office, located on the north side of the Truckee River. After much discussion, a site south of the river was chosen, requiring the demolition of the Carnegie Free Public Library that had…

Walking along the paths that cross today's Whitaker Park can provide a sense of the grounds on which Bishop Whitaker’s School for Girls stood from 1879 through 1894. Ozi W. Whitaker was the Episcopal Bishop of Nevada from his arrival during…

The parochial grade school at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church was built in 1931, the year Reno was designated its own Diocese and the church was upgraded to a Cathedral. The school and a possible new parish house had been under consideration in…

Orvis Ring Grammar School, in Reno’s northeast quadrant, was the second in the quartet of Mission-style schools built between 1909 and 1912. Orvis Ring opened for students in the spring semester of 1910. The school was located on Evans Avenue…

The Mount Rose Elementary School was constructed in 1912, on a large open field at what was then the southern edge of Reno. Mount Rose School served the southwest quadrant of Reno, an area generally known today as the Old Southwest. In 1912, however,…

Designed by the local architect George Ferris in 1909, the McKinley Park School was the first to be constructed of the so-called "Spanish Quartet," four single-story Mission Revival style schools built in Reno in the early 20th century. The schools…

The Mary S. Doten Elementary School was built in 1912. One of the four Mission-style schools known as the Four Spanish Sisters or the Spanish Quartet, Mary S. Doten was similar in style to Mount Rose School on Lander Street, which remains in use as a…

Attempts to establish public libraries in Reno began in the 1880s, but funding them proved to be problematic. In 1901, after numerous attempts to secure taxes for libraries, State Assemblyman Frank Norcross of Reno wrote to the millionaire steel…

Reno’s longtime superintendent of schools, Benson Dillon Billinghurst, built this lovely bungalow around 1910. It sat across the street from the Orvis Ring Grammar School, one of four Mission-style schools built between 1909 and 1912 that reflected…

A bridge has graced this site since 1860, when Charles William Fuller constructed the first recorded span of the Truckee River at what was then known as “Fuller’s Crossing.” In 1861, he sold the whole operation to Myron C. Lake, who had to…

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The year 1931 was a pivotal one for Reno's developing tourism industry. That was the year the Nevada legislature legalized wide-opened gambling and lowered the residency requirement for a divorce from three months to six weeks. That same year,…

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