Filed Under Industry

Eveleth Lumber Company (site)

Built to support the Reno Mill & Lumber Company in 1902

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 a large fireproof brick building where 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, served for many years as storage for Ray’s Tire Exchange. Both structures burned down in 2023.

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. Source: University of Nevada Oral History Program Date: 2013
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. Source: University of Nevada Oral History Program Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2012

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. Source: Nevada Historical Society
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. Source: State of Nevada telephone directory Date: 1950
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. Source: Building Materials Merchandiser Date: 1965
Norman Avansino, 2014
Norman Avansino, 2014 Norm Avansino began working for Eveleth Lumber in 1948. He is pictured here in 2014. Source: University of Nevada Oral History Program Creator: Patrick Cummings Date: 2014
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. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013
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. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013
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. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013
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. Source: Alicia Barber Date: 2013
Skylights and machinery
Skylights and machinery Viewed in 2013, skylights helped illuminate the floor of the planing mill, where much of the original machinery remained intact. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013

Location

802 East 4th Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Eveleth Lumber Company (site),” Reno Historical, accessed June 14, 2024, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/31.