Lake Mansion

As you look at this impressive Italianate-style home, imagine the complication of moving its bulk--not once, but two separate times. The Lake Mansion, now sitting proudly at the corner of Court Street and Arlington Avenue, was built in 1877 by William Marsh and purchased by Myron Lake in 1879 for $5,000. Architect John S. Sturgeon designed the building. Lake is often considered the founder of Reno because his toll bridge across the Truckee prompted the early settlement to be called "Lake's Crossing."

The mansion originally stood at the northwest corner of California and Virginia Streets. Following Myron Lake's divorce from his first wife, Jane, in 1881 and his subsequent death in 1884, ownership passed to Jane and their son, Charlie. Jane modernized the mansion, adding indoor plumbing, a telephone, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

In 1971, the Lake Mansion was moved to South Virginia Street near the Convention Center to save it from demolition due to the imminent construction of a bank. Years later, on July 11, 2004 the "most moving event of Artown" took place in Reno when the 40-ton mansion was moved 3.1 miles back up Virginia Street to its current location.

The 3,206-square-foot structure is an ornate example of the Italianate style with a hipped roof and veranda banding the house; it typifies upper middle class prosperity during the period. Well-detailed brackets, window frames, doors, and balustrades testify to the quality craftsmanship that went into the structure's construction. Among the impressive details of the Lake Mansion are the etched glass of the doorway, the period furnishings, and the carved woodwork over the sliding doors in the front parlor.

This outstanding early Reno home is now owned by VSA Arts which offers affordable, open-to-the-public workshops and art camps. VSA Arts received several awards for historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the building. The beautifully restored interior can be visited for self-guided tours.

Images

The Lake Family, 19th century

The Lake Family, 19th century

The Lake Mansion was built by W. J. Marsh and sold to Myron Lake in 1879. Jane Lake's family is seen in the foreground. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Original site<br /><br />
<br /><br />

Original site

The Lake Mansion was originally located at the corner of South Virginia and California streets, surrounded by other single-family homes. Image courtesy of Nevada Historical Society View File Details Page

On the move, 1971

On the move, 1971

The Lake Mansion's first move, in 1971, was from its original location to the grounds of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in south Reno. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Historical marker, 2000

Historical marker, 2000

The Nevada State Historical Marker erected at the South Virginia Street location indicated the building's historical significance, but not its original location. Photo by Philip Galbraith View File Details Page

Convention Center grounds, 2002

Convention Center grounds, 2002

For more than three decades the Lake Mansion stood at the corner of South Virginia and Kietzke Lane, far from its original home. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Moving again, 2004

Moving again, 2004

On July 11, 2004, the Lake Mansion was on the move again from the Convention Center to the corner of Court and Arlington streets. Image courtesy of VSA Nevada View File Details Page

A public spectacle, 2004

A public spectacle, 2004

The Lake Mansion's remarkable journey from South Virginia Street to Court Street had the quality of a traveling street festival. Image courtesy of VSA Nevada View File Details Page

Permanent home

Permanent home

The Lake Mansion looks right at home in her current neighborhood, just blocks from the house's original location. Image courtesy of city of Reno, Historical Resources Commission View File Details Page

VSA Nevada

VSA Nevada

The stately Lake Mansion is now home to VSA Nevada, which offers a variety of arts-based activities. Image courtesy of VSA Nevada View File Details Page

A new complex

A new complex

Once the Lake Mansion was in place on Court Street, a modern building was built on the lot to provide expanded space for events. Image courtesy of VSA Nevada View File Details Page

Street Address:

250 Court Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Sharon Honig-Bear, “Lake Mansion,” Reno Historical, accessed March 29, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/34.
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