Eveleth Lumber Company

Reno Mill & Lumber Company

Lumber was big business throughout the Tahoe basin from the time of the Comstock, when thousands of acres of Sierra forest were cut down to construct underground support systems for the mines as well as the towns they founded. Numerous lumber companies had logging operations and band mills in the mountains, with planing mills and storage yards in the valleys below.

By 1900, the Reno Mill & Lumber Company, founded in 1889, needed more room and better facilities for its growing business. Moving just a few blocks east of its original location, the company constructed a planing mill and sash and door factory at this site. Spur tracks ran from both the Central Pacific and NCO Railroads into the expansive yards, which could store over a million feet of lumber at a time. Carloads arrived daily from the band mill near Beckwith, where the company owned several thousands of acres of pine.

In 1902 the company completed the large fireproof brick building that still stands. There, the lumber was finished and manufactured into sashes, door frames, and other building supplies that were both sold locally and shipped out of town by rail. At the time, the company was one of the city’s largest employers, with between 90 and 100 men on the payroll—around 50 in town, and the rest at the band mill on the Sierra Valleys Railroad.

The property was sold to the Verdi Lumber Company in 1913 to serve as their sash and door factory. By the late 1920s, the company was foundering, following the burning of its Verdi sawmill, storage yard and roundhouse, as well as the depletion of its timber stands. In 1928, A.T. Eveleth, a former purchasing agent for the Verdi Lumber Company, bought its mill and lumber yard and founded the Eveleth Lumber Company, which operated for over 50 years. With much of its original machinery intact, the 1902 building, along with the wood-frame structure once used for administration and retail, now serves as storage for Ray’s Tire Exchange.

Images

Reno Mill & Lumber Company

Reno Mill & Lumber Company

Close proximity to the railroad tracks was a key factor in the location of the Reno Mill & Lumber Company's Reno headquarters. The property was sold to the Verdi Lumber Company in 1913 and later became known as Eveleth Lumber. Image courtesy of Nevada Historical Society View File Details Page

Eveleth Lumber ad, 1950

Eveleth Lumber ad, 1950

An advertisement in the 1950 State of Nevada telephone directory points out the company's location at the Alameda (later Wells) Avenue underpass, which was constructed in the mid-1930s to enable traffic to pass safely beneath the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. View File Details Page

National publicity, 1965

National publicity, 1965

Eveleth Lumber assistant manager Norm Avansino appeared in front of the company's office in a national Yellow Pages advertisement found in the December 1965 issue of Building Materials Merchandiser magazine. View File Details Page

Norman Avansino, 2014

Norman Avansino, 2014

Norm Avansino began working for Eveleth Lumber in 1948. He is pictured here in 2014. Photo by Patrick Cummings View File Details Page

Office building, 2013

Office building, 2013

The small building at the front of the property housed offices and the retail arm of Eveleth Lumber, where the company took orders and sold paint and other products. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Eveleth buildings, 2013

Eveleth buildings, 2013

The office and planing mill buildings stand largely untouched, used in 2014 as storage space for Ray's Tire Exchange. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

North end of mill building, 2013

North end of mill building, 2013

The mill building stands just to the east of the Wells Avenue underpass, between E. 4th Street and the railroad tracks. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Original equipment

Original equipment

Even surrounded by tires for the current retail business, the Eveleth Lumber building evokes its manufacturing heritage, with original planing and finishing equipment firmly affixed to the interior. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Skylights and machinery

Skylights and machinery

Skylights helped illuminate the floor of the planing mill, where much of the original machinery remains intact. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Audio

A variety of jobs

Interviewed in 2013, Norm Avansino discusses the types of employees and the work they did at Eveleth Lumber, where he worked for 25 years. | Creator: Recorded by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Arrested decay

Interviewed in 2012 by Alicia Barber, Cindy Ainsworth, a founder of the Historic Reno Preservation Society, recalls her reaction upon first viewing the intact condition of equipment inside the Eveleth Lumber mill building. | Creator: University of Nevada Oral History Program View File Details Page

Street Address:

802 East 4th Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Eveleth Lumber Company,” Reno Historical, accessed June 26, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/31.

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