Benham House

Architect Frederic DeLongchamps designed this home, which was constructed in 1930 for Guy and Emeline Benham. The couple met in Reno, but were not native to the area.

Born on a farm near Cedar Falls, Iowa, Guy Everett Benham moved to Reno in 1907 after working for many years in the superintendent’s office of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. The Reno Mill and Lumber Company first employed him as a bookkeeper and assistant manager, and he continued in those dual positions when the business was sold to the Verdi Lumber Company. He subsequently worked for the Nevada Packing Company, Consolidated Warehouse Company, and then the Clover Valley Lumber Company.

In 1927, Benham married Emeline Butterfield, who had moved to Reno from Southern California with several of her siblings around 1913. One of her sisters was Clara Chism, who became their next-door neighbor when the Benhams had this house built in 1930. The couple was very active in Reno society. A longtime member of the Garden Club, Mrs. Benham hosted many meetings in her home and beautiful gardens.

In 1930, Guy Benham was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Union Federal Savings and Loan Association. In 1942 the Reno mayor named him executive director of the city housing authority, a position in which he served until he retired in 1954. Also in 1942, he was elected vice-president of the Union Federal Savings and Loan Association and later served as its chairman and president from 1964 through 1966.

The residence is of the Tudor Revival style consisting of 3,182 square feet plus a 352-square-foot basement, four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The original house was much more modest than what one sees today, with only five rooms. Subsequent owners, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Fleischer, found the original plans and invoices for the house in a secret compartment behind a locked drawer in the home’s linen closet while starting a 1993 remodel and followed them in every detail as architect Frederic DeLongchamps had originally designed. The current owners, Mr. & Mrs. Perry, report that all of those papers are in nearly perfect condition stored in the same place today. That 1,100-square-foot addition won the first City of Reno Historical Resources Commission Residential Preservation Award in 1997.

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581 Ridge Street, Reno, Nevada