Colonial Apartments

Ross Apartments

The Colonial Apartments, located at the corner of W. First and West Streets, was built in 1907 by partners Charles E. Clough and George Crosby. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the temporary housing needs of Reno's divorce colony prompted the construction of several modern apartment houses. The Colonial Apartments, which cost more than $60,000 to build, was the first large apartment building in Reno that advertised accommodations to travelers and long-term residents alike. The building contained 160 rooms divided into forty-eight furnished apartments. It was said to be "strictly modern in every particular...built according to the plans of modern apartment houses in Los Angeles." Built in the Colonial Revival style of architecture, the new building featured classic revival elements such as columns, brick and stone materials, and brackets. Inside, it boasted hardwood floors in each apartment, "new wall beds," marble steps and columns, and an elevator.

Born in 1857, Charles Elmer Clough, the builder, came to Nevada by way of Wisconsin. He was an ambitious man who made his name in western Nevada. In addition to construction projects, Clough was responsible for organizing Reno's first power company and water system. The success of his various projects led him to become one of the founders and eventually the president of the Reno Press Brick Company, an association that undoubtedly paved the way for his success as a contractor in the Reno area. Some of Clough's other building projects included the Masonic Temple, the Gray Reid Wright department store, and several buildings on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Upon his death in March of 1932, he was the last founder of the Reno Press Brick Company to pass away. His property was left to his family members.

In the 1950s, the apartments began appealing more to elderly tenants. The location and quaint rooms attracted retired seniors who desired more simplistic living arrangements. In 1972, it was purchased by sisters Anna and Ethel Ross, who renamed the building. The Colonial Apartments, or Ross Apartments, as it is known today, continues to operate as an apartment building. Its historic look both inside and out, and location in the heart of downtown near the Truckee River, still make it a desirable address.

Images

Early days of the Colonial Apartments

Early days of the Colonial Apartments

Upon its construction in 1907, the Colonial Apartments building was surrounded by wood-frame houses, picket fences, and abundant trees. Image courtesy of Dick Dreiling View File Details Page

Unusually Attractive apartments

Unusually Attractive apartments

A short newspaper piece which appeared in the Reno Evening Gazette in 1913, five years after its construction, described the merits of the apartment house. View File Details Page

The Colonial Apartments in 1915

The Colonial Apartments in 1915

In this 1915 postcard, an early automobile and a horse-drawn wagon wait near the apartment's entrance. Today, a private fenced-in park occupies the lot where the attractive private home once stood. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Behind the Methodist Episcopal Church

Behind the Methodist Episcopal Church

In this postcard of the Methodist Episcopal Church from the 1920s, the Colonial Apartments are clearly visible in the background. This photograph is a nice representation of the quaintness of the area where the building was located. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

A new wing for the Colonial Apartments

A new wing for the Colonial Apartments

Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s, a parade on First Street drew the attention of some of the Colonial Apartments' residents to their windows. Notice the additional wing added to the building on the southeast corner. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

The Colonial Apartments in the 1930s

The Colonial Apartments in the 1930s

In a postcard of the Colonial Apartments from the 1930s, the street signs for First and West streets are clearly visible. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Ross family

Ross family

Anna Ross (left) and Ethel Ross (right) stand on opposite sides of their mother, Alice Ross. Anna and Ethel were business partners, purchasing the Colonial Apartments in 1972 as well as other real estate under their business name, "The Ross Sisters." Image courtesy of Roberta Ross View File Details Page

The Colonial Apartments became Ross Manor

The Colonial Apartments became Ross Manor

Seen in 2004, the Ross Manor remains a welcoming presence on West Street. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Ross Manor in the 21st century

Ross Manor in the 21st century

Today, Ross Manor is a historic anchor in the heart of the thriving Riverwalk district. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Street Address:

118 West Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Mella Harmon, “Colonial Apartments,” Reno Historical, accessed March 29, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/7.

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