Filed Under Residences

French/Cooke House

The French/Cooke House, now owned by the Cooke family's third generation, tells the intertwined story of two attorneys who came to Nevada from very different parts of the country at the height of the state’s mining boom and later became partners with an impact on Nevada’s mining industries. Their names were LeRoy N. French and Herman R. Cooke.

This home was built for LeRoy Noah French and his wife, the former Florence Grace Roche, ca. 1910-1914. French was a successful district judge in the Eighth Judicial District who had been on the bench for three years and living in Fallon when he unexpectedly resigned and moved to Reno to practice law. He joined the firm of Hoyt & Gibbons, which was connected to George Nixon and George Wingfield, forming the partnership of Hoyt, Gibbons & French. In 1919, he formed a new partnership with Lewis A. “Bert” Gibbons and Roy Stoddard.

In 1920, Gibbons died, and French’s law practice was joined by Herman Cooke, forming the firm Cooke, French & Stoddard. At that time, the house changed hands and became the residence of the Herman Cooke family. A native of Texas, Herman Richard Cooke had been one of the most prominent attorneys and residents of Nevada since 1898. In 1906 he had moved to Tonopah, which at the time was at the mining center of the West. His law practice there was involved in several of the most significant mining litigations of the period including trials for the Tonopah Mining Company and for the Round Mountain Mines Company of which he served as attorney and director. In 1910 Herman Cooke married Annie C. McSorley of Mokelumne Hill, California, who at the time was the official court reporter in Tonopah.

In 1925, French left the firm and moved to California. Cooke eventually formed a legal partnership, Cooke & Cooke, with his son, Thomas A. Cooke, and lived with his family in the house until his death in 1956. His wife, Annie, died soon after, and the house served as a rental after that, while remaining in the Cooke family. By the mid-1960s it had become a commercial space, housing several businesses including the law firm formed by Thomas Cooke, Bruce D. Roberts, and David J. Reese.

The French/Cooke House is a Tudor Revival style with Classic influences consisting of 3,694 square feet including six bedrooms and five bathrooms plus a 554-square-foot basement. Notable architectural features include fluted Doric columns, varying exterior textures (brick and rough plaster), pilasters, sidelights at the entrance, and a balcony off the second floor.

Images

Cooke House ca. 1915
Cooke House ca. 1915 In 1915 the home appeared in the publication Beautiful Homes of Reno, demonstrating the community's pride in the lovely residence. Source: Nevada Historical Society Date: ca. 1915
Florence French and children
Florence French and children Florence Grace French was a native of San Francisco who met and married LeRoy French in Fallon, Nevada. Here she poses for a portrait ca. 1915 with her children, William (b. 1910) and Marian (b. 1914). Source: Julie Espudo
The Cooke House
The Cooke House The Cooke House is a Tudor Revival style with Doric columns, varying exterior textures, pilasters, sidelights at the entrance and a balcony off the second floor. Creator: Donna and Paul Erickson Date: 2018
Doric columns, sidelights, and pilasters
Doric columns, sidelights, and pilasters A Doric column is fluted but unadorned and simple with a plain saucer-shaped capital and bold cornice. A sidelight is a narrow window or pane of glass set alongside a door or larger window. A pilaster is a flat column attached to the surface of a building, often as a doorway or window frame. Creator: Donna and Paul Erickson
Balcony and exterior textures
Balcony and exterior textures Details like the textured wall above the lower brick portion and the whimsical balcony add distinctive character to the house. Creator: Donna and Paul Erickson
The double garage
The double garage The French/Cooke House and the Price House shared this garage. The original garage doors have been maintained separately. Intricate brickwork trims the top and adds interest to this structure. Creator: Donna and Paul Erickson

Location

421 Court Street, Reno, Nevada

Metadata

Donna and Paul Erickson, “French/Cooke House,” Reno Historical, accessed July 14, 2024, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/174.