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.