Perched above Wingfield Park is the ghost of the home of George Wingfield (1876-1959), Nevada banker and miner. The Wingfield house, once significant enough to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1907 at 219 Court Street and was demolished after a devastating fire in October, 2001.
Wingfield was one of the state's most powerful economic and political figures during the period from 1909 to 1932. He rose from faro dealer to the position of richest man in Nevada in less than five years. While living in the central Nevada town of Goldfield, Wingfield and his partner, George Nixon, established the Goldfield Consolidating Mining Company, which ultimately produced more than $50 million worth of ore. In 1906, the partners established the Nixon National Bank of Reno (later renamed the Reno National Bank), and in 1908, Wingfield moved to Reno, where he became active in politics, banking, ranching, and hotel-keeping. He was influential in developing Reno's gambling and divorce-related tourism industries.
The house was happy for Wingfield. He lived there with his second wife, local girl Roxy Thoma, and their children. As was common for prominent wives of the era, Roxy held all types of social gatherings at the house, including Republican Women’s teas, Red Cross sewing groups during World War II, and lunches and meetings for the Auxiliary to the American Institute of Mining Engineers. The Wingfield house, while lovely, was considered less extravagant than the homes located further west on Court Street. Many a party and several weddings were held on the prominent one-story porch that encircled almost the entire house.
Although Wingfield’s home is gone, his legacy remains visible through the Riverside Hotel he financed, the Reno National Bank building he had constructed, and more. In 1920, he bought the land formerly known as Belle Isle, on an island in view of his house, for $20,000, and immediately donated it to the city, which gratefully named it Wingfield Park in his honor.