Mount Rose Elementary School

The Mount Rose Elementary School was constructed in 1912, on a large open field at what was then the southern edge of Reno. Mount Rose School served the southwest quadrant of Reno, an area generally known today as the Old Southwest. In 1912, however, it was an up-and-coming neighborhood that was filling up with middle-class bungalows and cottages that spread south from the elite homes along the Truckee River.

Designed by the architect George Ferris, Mount Rose is one of a quartet of Mission-style schools known as the Four Spanish Sisters or the Spanish Quartet. The four schools, McKinley Park (1909), Orvis Ring (1910), Mount Rose (1912), and Mary S. Doten (1912), were laid out in nearly identical fashion in a U plan with a wing housing the auditorium extending off the rear. There were subtle differences among the four schools involving decorative features and architectural elements typical of the Mission style. Mount Rose originally contained 15 classrooms, a kitchen, and two domed towers.

Despite the Great Depression, the population of southwest Reno was growing, creating a demand for additional classrooms at Mount Rose School. In 1938, the school district applied for, and received, a grant from the federal Public Works Administration (PWA) to add classrooms and make other repairs and upgrades. The addition was a separate building that connected to the south end of the main school by a hallway. The new wing was constructed by Robert McCarthy of San Francisco, who employed Mission-style elements, in keeping with the style of the school. The addition, which included two classrooms and a lavatory, was completed in time for the start of the 1939 school year.

In 1977, there was a move by the school district to demolish the old schools. Mary S. Doten had already been torn down, Orvis Ring stood vacant, and McKinley Park housed city recreation offices. Of the original quartet, only Mount Rose continued to serve as a school. A local attorney suggested to the school district that one of the Spanish Quartet be kept in service as a tribute to the beauty and importance of the four Mission-style schools. He also recommended that it be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The proposal gained the support of the community and school district, and Mount Rose School was listed in the National Register. Now, nearly 40 years later, the Old Southwest is one of Reno’s most desirable historic neighborhoods, and Mount Rose School continues to serve its families as both a school and a beloved landmark.
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Images

Mount Rose schoolchildren, ca. 1913

Mount Rose schoolchildren, ca. 1913

A Mount Rose class ca. 1913 included two children of Judge George Bartlett: Margaret Bartlett is the 6th child from the left in the all-girl row, and Donald Bartlett is the third from the right in the top row. Photo by the Craftsman Studio. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

6th and 7th graders, ca. 1916

6th and 7th graders, ca. 1916

In this photo of Mount Rose 6th and 7th graders, ca. 1916, Eleanor Siebert is in the top row 2nd from left, and Dorothy Bartlett is in the third row (from the top), 4th from left. Photo by the Craftsman Studio. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Mount Rose School, ca. 1920

Mount Rose School, ca. 1920

In a postcard of Mount Rose School postmarked 1920, tiny saplings mark the beginning of landscaping improvements. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Mount Rose School, ca. 1920s

Mount Rose School, ca. 1920s

At the end of its first decade, Mount Rose School was still near the edge of Reno city limits, surrounded by unimproved roads. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

First graders, ca. 1945

First graders, ca. 1945

Students are identified in Miss Lillian Funk's first grade class, ca. 1945, in their Mount Rose classroom. Image courtesy of Mount Rose Elementary School View File Details Page

Grade school yearbook, 1964-1965

Grade school yearbook, 1964-1965

Starting in the 1960s, group photos at Mount Rose School were discontinued in favor of individual shots of students in an annual yearbook. Copies of all the yearbooks are on file at the school. Image courtesy of Mount Rose Elementary School View File Details Page

National Register

National Register

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Mount Rose Elementary School is one of the only two surviving members of Reno's "Spanish Quartet," and the only one to remain in use as an elementary school. Image courtesy of Mella Harmon View File Details Page

Mount Rose School, 2008

Mount Rose School, 2008

Expanded and renovated, Mount Rose Elementary School, pictured here in 2008, is one of the most historic schools in Reno. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Street Address:

915 Lander Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Mella Harmon, “Mount Rose Elementary School,” Reno Historical, accessed June 28, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/27.

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