Armstrong House

Joanne de Longchamps House

The spindled Queen Anne residence at 821 N. Center Street housed a series of residents, including Reuben Thompson, before Edna and Elmer Armstrong became the owners in 1922 and raised three children there, Raymond, John and Ruth. In 1923 they added a bedroom to the rear of the house, and conducted major modernization of the interior in 1953. After Elmer died, Edna Armstrong rented rooms to students, including young Jim Hulse. Ruth married LaMar Smith, a librarian at the university, and Ray became an accountant, establishing the firm Kafoury, Armstrong & Co. with Sam Kafoury. Ray Armstrong continued to occupy his childhood home until the early 1960s, building a small house in the back yard (819 N. Center), which has housed a series of renters including Dr. Hulse when he returned to Reno after obtaining his PhD. at Stanford.

The Armstrongs eventually rented out the entire house until selling it in the early 1970s to the Waggoners, a family with UNR students, who sold the property in 1974 to Galen and Joanne de Longchamps. Joanne was a poet, publishing seven books of poetry. She taught at the University of Nevada, Reno and was also an accomplished pianist and collage artist. Her husband Galen was the adopted son of renowned local architect, Frederic DeLongchamps. When the couple later divorced, Joanne remained in the house. Upon her death in 1983, she willed the house on North Center to the university, to be used as a guest house for visiting professors and dignitaries.

Today the former residence functions as the Northern Nevada International Center, the purpose of which is to foster better understanding between people through its public diplomacy programs, language and culture projects, and foreign policy forums.

Images

821 N. Center Street in 2015

821 N. Center Street in 2015

The former home to several families now houses the University of Nevada International Center. | Creator: Debbie Hinman View File Details Page

The Armstrong house from the northeast, ca. 1995

The Armstrong house from the northeast, ca. 1995

A view of the front and north side of the house Joanne de Longchamps bequeathed to the university for use as a home to visiting university guests, meetings, and events. View File Details Page

Reuben Thompson, an early resident

Reuben Thompson, an early resident

Reuben Thompson lived in the house around 1917. He arrived at the university in 1908 to enlarge the classics program and stayed for 40 years. He founded the philosophy department and taught Greek before becoming the dean of men in 1932. Thompson Hall is named for him. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Ruth Armstrong

Ruth Armstrong

Ruth Armstrong grew up in the house at 821 N. Center and attended the University of Nevada, graduating in 1947. She later married the university librarian, LaMar Smith. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Ray Armstrong (right), Alumnus of the Year, 1992

Ray Armstrong (right), Alumnus of the Year, 1992

Homecoming 1992 at the University of Nevada, Reno: President Joe Crowley with Ty Cobb (Professional Achievement Award) and Ray Armstrong (Alumnus of the Year). Ray spent his childhood and early adulthood at 821 N. Center St. His daughter Cathleen married Ty Cobb's son Bill. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Dr. James Hulse, renter

Dr. James Hulse, renter

Jim Hulse lived on N. Center Street twice. First, he rented a room in the Armstrong house while he was a student at the University of Nevada in the mid-1950s. After working for a few years as a reporter for the Nevada State Journal, he moved to Palo Alto, California for his doctorate in History. Upon his return to Reno, he rented the small house behind the Armstrong house, 819 N. Center St. He became a member of the History faculty at the university in 1962, where he remained until his retirement in 1997. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries. View File Details Page

Restored exterior features of the Armstrong house

Restored exterior features of the Armstrong house

Galen and Joanne de Longchamps carefully restored the features of their home's exterior to its original form, reconstructing the gingerbread siding and the decorative window features. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

The back porch at 821 N. Center St.

The back porch at 821 N. Center St.

The spindle feature of the Armstrong/de Longchamps house is present on the covered back porch. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Galen, Joanne and Dare de Longchamps

Galen, Joanne and Dare de Longchamps

Galen and Joanne de Longchamps and their son Dare bought the house at 821 N. Center in 1974. Dare committed suicide in 1976, and Joanne died of cancer in 1983 at the age of 60, after divorcing Galen. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Pink tiled bathroom, 1950s style

Pink tiled bathroom, 1950s style

The bathroom was no doubt part of the extensive remodeling by the Armstrong family in 1953. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

The Joanne de Longchamps library

The Joanne de Longchamps library

Built-in bookcases hold the book collection of Joanne de Longchamps in the living room of the home. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

In the living room

In the living room

Joanne de Longchamps in her living room with her cat shortly before her death in 1983. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Street Address:

821 North Center Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Debbie Hinman, “Armstrong House,” Reno Historical, accessed July 25, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/132.
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