This house was the residence of Joseph H. Gray, Jr., said to have been the first white child born in Truckee, California. The year was 1868, five years after his father, Joseph H. Gray, Sr., a lumber mill operator, had constructed the first cabin in Truckee, which was then known as Gray’s Station.
Joseph H. Gray, Jr. moved to Reno just before 1900 and along with partner Hosea Reid, opened a general store called Gray, Reid & Co., at 237 N. Virginia Street in September of 1901. The store sold family apparel along with laces, fancy silks, table linens, and other dry goods. Known as Gray, Reid & Wright after they took on partner Walter Wright in 1903, the local department store moved several times as it expanded. In 1938, it vacated the Charles Mapes building at First and Virginia to move to a new building one block west. Gray Reid’s final downtown location, just above Fifth Street, was converted into the Circus Circus hotel-casino in 1977, when the venerable department store headed south to Old Town Mall.
Gray was also active in the local Elks Club. He and Hosea Reid, in addition to being business partners, married the Mette sisters, Johanna and Louise; the Hosea Reid House is located at 515 Court Street. Joseph and Johanna Gray had two sons: Joseph and Eugene.
The Joseph Gray House, built ca. 1911, is a Free Classic Queen Anne (Queen Anne massing with Classical details) style structure consisting of 3,441 square feet plus a 791-square-foot basement, and featuring eight bedrooms, two-and-one-half bathrooms, and one fireplace. Interesting architectural features include a slightly projecting pediment porch, paired Tuscan columns, a raised random rubble foundation, and weatherboard (clapboard) sheathing.