West/Hood House

This residence has been referred to as the “medical mansion”; two physicians owned it, but not in succession. The original building was a large, garage-like structure situated on the Nixon estate overlooking the Truckee River. The structure and property were acquired in 1921 by Dr. Claudius W. West when the property was being liquidated by Senator Nixon’s widow. He commissioned prominent Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps to design the house, but according to West’s daughter-in-law, Thelma Charlton West, it was Dr. West who put the medical shields on the concrete flower boxes in front.

West only owned the house for a few years. In 1926, he sold it to William Stanley Hill, a medicine manufacturer, for about $50,000. Hill told the newspapers that he had bought the house as an anniversary present for his wife, and that he expected to spend half the year there while devoting his time to writing, and spend the other six months attending to his manufacturing business in New York.

The residence was acquired early in the 1930s by Dr. A.J. “Bart” Hood. He was a Nevada native born in Battle Mountain in 1895; his father, D.C. Hood, was the first licensed physician in Nevada. Dr. “Bart” Hood was the first orthopedic surgeon in Reno, and practiced medicine here for 36 years, mostly at St. Mary’s Hospital. During the Great Depression, he is said to have bartered professional services for chickens and vegetables.

Dr. Hood was married to Elizabeth Charlton, who had traveled to Reno from Boston in 1929 to divorce Earle Perry Charlton, an heir of one of the five founding families of the Woolworth chain. Because of the recent Lindbergh kidnapping, she brought along her two children, Thelma and Earle “Chuck” Charlton. In Reno, she met Dr. Hood; they married in 1931, and the couple had two more children. They added the children’s wing and a woodshop for the doctor’s use.

While owned by the Hood family, the residence was the scene of many social events. Elizabeth Hood’s friend, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, married her second of seven husbands, Danish Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Reventlow, in front of the fireplace in this house, the day after she divorced Georgian Prince Alexis Mdivani. Coincidentally, in 1945, Elizabeth’s daughter, Thelma, married Fraser E. West, son of Dr. Claudius West, the house’s original occupant.

Previously given the address of 657 Ridge Street, the residence is of the Mediterranean Revival style consisting of 5,641 square feet plus a 1,072-square-foot finished basement, seven bedrooms, and eight bathrooms. Interesting architectural features include the horizontal plan, tile roof, and arched windows.

Images

Map

599 Ridge Street, Reno, NV