Edward Chism House

The Tudor Revival home at 575 Ridge Street was designed by architect Frederic DeLongchamps and built in 1927. It was the residence of Edward and Clara Chism, who were married in Reno in 1915. Edward Chism was a Washoe County native born on the Chism Ranch west of Reno in 1881. He attended local schools and was a graduate of the University of Nevada.

In 1905 Edward Chism put his first ice cream manufacturing plant into operation at his parents’ ranch along the Truckee River; it was a small freezer rigged to a water wheel that he operated himself. In 1918 he opened a small plant on West Street, and over the years he enlarged it four times. At the time of his death it was producing more than 400,000 gallons of ice cream and also included frozen foods and carbonated beverages. His products were sold in California and Oregon as well as Nevada. In 1955, the Chism Ice Cream Company celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

Clarinda Chism, known as Clara, was born and raised on a ranch near San Juan Capistrano in Southern California. The sister of Emeline Benham, who lived next door at 581 Ridge Street, she was a graduate of the Fabiola Hospital in Oakland where she received her registered nursing credentials. Following Edward Chism’s death in 1956, Clara Chism served as president of the family’s ice cream company until it was sold in 1960 to the Carnation Ice Cream Company. She was a member of the Congregational United Church of Christ, charter member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and member of Eastern Star and the Twentieth Century Club.

The residence is Tudor Revival style consisting of 3,548 square feet plus a 1,287-square-foot finished basement, four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, living room, formal dining room, breakfast nook, sun/library room and two-car garage in the rear.

Interesting interior elements include a 20’ x 30’ barrel-arched living room with a Batchelder tile fireplace, a mahogany handrail on the staircase, and quarter-sawn oak and single-plank fir throughout the downstairs and upstairs. The four bedrooms are graciously large with unconventionally large closets. The master suite has a dressing room. The kitchen was designed for the house help, with swinging doors to the breakfast nook and dining room. The basement has an apartment with full bath for the house help, and picture moldings top each bedroom. Original glass and crystal doorknobs can be found throughout the house on the original doors. The ceiling of the entry hall is designed in the shape of the state of Nevada, with Las Vegas in the coat closet.

The Edward Chism House received the 2010 Residential Preservation Award from the Reno Historical Resources Commission and was featured on the 2012 Historic Reno Preservation Society Harvest of Homes Tour. It is currently owned by Mercedes de la Garza and Scott Gibson, two of the founding members of HRPS.

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575 Ridge Street, Reno, Nevada