The Pearl Upson House at 937 Jones Street was built on two lots in Block R of the Powning Addition subdivision in northwest Reno, likely in 1902. Laid out by Christopher Columbus (C.C.) Powning, the subdivision consisted of around 122 acres of land that he had acquired in 1886. By June of 1888, the addition had been platted and was being advertised in the Nevada State Journal, the newspaper that Powning himself both owned and edited.
While initial lot sales in Powning's Addition were fairly steady, the pace of construction was sporadic in keeping with the boom-and-bust nature of Nevada's economy. In 1901, three lots, including the two on which the Upson House sits, were purchased at a sheriff's auction by Mr. Robert Jones, after whom presumably Jones Street was named. Jones in turn sold these parcels to Pearl Upson, operator of Upson Brother's Transfer Company, for $300. The 1902 city directory lists Pearl Upson's residence at the corner of Keystone and Jones.
Through the years, the Pearl Upson House passed through a series of owners and uses. At one point it was a boardinghouse, undoubtedly serving Reno's migratory divorce trade. In addition to serving as a residence for several individual families, it also operated as a fraternity house for University of Nevada, Reno students for a time.
The house is an excellent example of a simplified free-classic form of Queen Anne architecture, employing red brick, a ubiquitous Reno building material, and two styles of porch supports. It also represents the transition from the Victorian age to the Arts-and-Crafts age that followed it. The Upson House and the house next to it (935 Jones Street) are two remnant Queen Anne homes in what became a sea of modest Craftsman bungalows that filled Powning's Addition from the 1910s to the 1940s.
The Pearl Upson House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and in the City of Reno Register of Historic Places in 2004.