Martha Wingfield House

The South Side Addition was platted in 1903 along with the construction of the South Side School located on the block bounded by Center and Sinclair Streets, and Stewart and Liberty. The new residential area south of it formed a wedge shape running east from Virginia Street to Holcomb, and extending four blocks southward from Moran Street. In the years to follow, the neighborhood slowly filled with bungalows and other comfortable homes.

Born in Arkansas in 1848, Martha Matilda Wingfield moved to the neighborhood from the Bay Area to live near her son, George. He had become a resident of Reno in 1909 after making a fortune in the central Nevada mining town of Goldfield. Together with his partner, George Nixon, Wingfield gained ownership of a large number of banks, and would eventually become known as the “Emperor of Nevada” for his extraordinary economic and political influence.

For her Reno home, Martha Wingfield selected a c. 1912 Craftsman bungalow, a style that was experiencing widespread popularity in the U.S. during the early years of the twentieth century. At the time of her move to 735 South Center Street, Mrs. Wingfield was a fairly recent widow. Her husband, Thomas, had died in San Francisco in 1906, and her move to Reno may have been hastened by the birth of son George’s first child, Jean, in February of 1912.

Once in Reno, the new grandmother became active in many local organizations, including the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the local chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Order of the Eastern Star. The Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Church and the WCTU both met frequently in her home.

Martha Wingfield died in 1940 at age 91, and in the years to follow, the house was converted to commercial purposes and its new owners constructed additions on the south and west sides. In 1953, it became the Modern Music Center, the precursor of Maytan Music. With the construction of a new building at the corner of Cheney and South Center Streets in 1979, the Maytans transferred ownership of the Martha Wingfield House to their contractor, Duke Morin. He ran his construction business and other ventures out of the house for several decades.

Upon his retirement, Morin’s daughter, Renee Lauderback, turned the house into the Mountain Music Parlor, a combination performance venue, music shop, and instructional space dedicated to traditional American music.



An unexpected visitor
In a 2015 interview, Duke Morin, who operated a business in the Martha Wingfield House for decades, recalls the day when Martha's grandson, George Wingfield, Jr., unexpectedly stopped by.
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735 South Center Street, Reno, NV