Berry House

North House / Nelson House

The two-story Queen Anne-style house at 839 N. Center Street, built around 1900, was home to four families and a university professor during the 1900s, before becoming a rental in 1999. The Norths were the first occupants. A newspaper article in October 1897 reported that "Judge Junius M. North, formerly of Eureka, died in Reno ... he had a family of girls and boys attending the university and public schools and was living here to give them school advantages." According to census records for 1900, his widow and four daughters lived in the house on Center Street: Mary was a teacher, Amelia and Ruby were to graduate from the university in 1900 and become teachers, and Angelina was a high school student.

Sometime between 1907 and 1910, C.O. Murphy and his wife Margaret and their three children became the new occupants after they moved from Nebraska to Reno, where he found work as a quartz miner. In 1913 or 1914, Nels Bernard Nelson, a Norwegian clerk, and his wife Grace bought the house and lived there with members of an extended family, including his father and her mother, until his death in 1935. Grace continued to live in the house with some of their children and the family of her daughter Evalyn's (Haynes) until 1940.

In 1940 and 1941 the house was occupied by Oral E. Clark, professor of Military Science and Tactics at the university. In 1942 William and Frances Berry and their teenaged sons bought the house. Frances died in 1993 and Bill remained in the house until 1998, shortly before his death. Bill Berry, a reporter at the Nevada State Journal, was known nationally for his coverage of celebrity divorces as a "stringer" and for his coverage of winter sports.  Later in his life he gained recognition for his long career as a ski historian who co-founded the U.S. Ski History Hall of Fame and the Skisport Museum at Boreal, California; and authored the book Lost Sierra: Gold, Ghosts & Skis: The Legendary Days of Skiing in the California Mining Camps.

In 1999, Fred Atcheson, who owned the house next door at 829 N. Center Street bought Bill Berry's house and turned it into apartments for students and other renters. He sold it to the University of Nevada, Reno in December 2015.

Images

The William M. Berry family house

The William M. Berry family house

839 N. Center St. in the mid-1990s. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries. View File Details Page

Amelia and Ruby North's basketball team, 1900

Amelia and Ruby North's basketball team, 1900

Judge North's daughters Amelia and Ruby played basketball at the University of Nevada during their senior year in 1900. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Professor of Military Science Oral E. Clark with Judge Frank H. Norcross

Professor of Military Science Oral E. Clark with Judge Frank H. Norcross

Colonel Oral E. Clark of the University of Nevada Department of Military Science and Tactics, and Judge Frank H. Norcross, taken before the academic procession on Commencement Day in 1941. Oral Clark lived in the house in 1940 and 1941. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Colonel Clark (center) reviews the ROTC troops

Colonel Clark (center) reviews the ROTC troops

The annual review of the University of Nevada ROTC batallion on Mackay Field conducted by Colonel Oral E. Clark, professor of military science. Clark lived in the house in 1940 and 1941. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Bill Berry and sons

Bill Berry and sons

Bill Berry at Galena Creek with his sons Barnes and Hall, about the time they moved to 839 N. Center. Image courtesy of Mark McLaughlin View File Details Page

Bill Berry at home

Bill Berry at home

Bill Berry in his Reno home during the year of his death. Image courtesy of Mark McLaughlin View File Details Page

View of the house from the southeast

View of the house from the southeast

A winter view of the house at 839 N. Center, showing the bay windows and chimney | Source: Architectural Resource Assessment Form, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Compiled by ZoAnn Campana. | Creator: Jack Hursh, photographer View File Details Page

Front view, 839 N. Center

Front view, 839 N. Center

This photograph shows six mailboxes for separate apartments in the house that was once a single-family dwelling. | Source: Architectural Resource Assessment Form, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Compiled by ZoAnn Campana. | Creator: Jack Hursh, photographer View File Details Page

Springtime at 839 N. Center

Springtime at 839 N. Center

A front view of the Berry house in 2016. The house's defining feature is the lower semi-hexagonal bay window assembly. Each section is divided by fluted wood molding. and set between upper and lower inset panels. | Creator: Emily Rogers View File Details Page

Facing southwest, 839 N. Center

Facing southwest, 839 N. Center

A side view from the north. Image courtesy of the City of Reno Historical Resources Commission. | Creator: ZoAnn Campana, photographer View File Details Page

The south side of 839 N. Center

The south side of 839 N. Center

Facing northwest, a view of the south side of the Berry House reveals its close connection to the surrounding residences. Image courtesy of the City of Reno Historical Resources Commission. | Source: . | Creator: ZoAnn Campana, photographer View File Details Page

Street Address:

839 N. Center Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Donnelyn Curtis, “Berry House,” Reno Historical, accessed March 29, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/143.
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