Filed Under Residences

Berry House (site)

North House / Nelson House

The two-story Queen Anne-style house that once stood at 839 N. Center Street, built around 1900, was home to four families and a university professor during the 1900s, before becoming a rental in 1999. The Norths were the first occupants. A newspaper article in October 1897 reported that "Judge Junius M. North, formerly of Eureka, died in Reno ... he had a family of girls and boys attending the university and public schools and was living here to give them school advantages." According to census records for 1900, his widow and four daughters lived in the house on Center Street: Mary was a teacher, Amelia and Ruby were to graduate from the university in 1900 and become teachers, and Angelina was a high school student.

Sometime between 1907 and 1910, C.O. Murphy and his wife Margaret and their three children became the new occupants after they moved from Nebraska to Reno, where he found work as a quartz miner. In 1913 or 1914, Nels Bernard Nelson, a Norwegian clerk, and his wife Grace bought the house and lived there with members of an extended family, including his father and her mother, until his death in 1935. Grace continued to live in the house with some of their children and the family of her daughter Evalyn's (Haynes) until 1940.

In 1940 and 1941 the house was occupied by Oral E. Clark, professor of Military Science and Tactics at the university. In 1942 William and Frances Berry and their teenaged sons bought the house. Frances died in 1993 and Bill remained in the house until 1998, shortly before his death. Bill Berry, a reporter at the Nevada State Journal, was known nationally for his coverage of celebrity divorces as a "stringer" and for his coverage of winter sports.  Later in his life he gained recognition for his long career as a ski historian who co-founded the U.S. Ski History Hall of Fame and the Skisport Museum at Boreal, California; and authored the book Lost Sierra: Gold, Ghosts & Skis: The Legendary Days of Skiing in the California Mining Camps.

In 1999, Fred Atcheson, who owned the house next door at 829 N. Center Street bought Bill Berry's house and turned it into apartments for students and other renters. In December 2015, he sold it to the University of Nevada, Reno, which had it demolished in November of 2019.

Images

The William M. Berry family house
The William M. Berry family house 839 N. Center St. in the mid-1990s. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: ca. 1995
Amelia and Ruby North's basketball team, 1900
Amelia and Ruby North's basketball team, 1900 Judge North's daughters Amelia and Ruby played basketball at the University of Nevada during their senior year in 1900. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1900
Professor of Military Science Oral E. Clark with Judge Frank H. Norcross
Professor of Military Science Oral E. Clark with Judge Frank H. Norcross Colonel Oral E. Clark of the University of Nevada Department of Military Science and Tactics, and Judge Frank H. Norcross, taken before the academic procession on Commencement Day in 1941. Oral Clark lived in the house in 1940 and 1941. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: May 12, 1941
Colonel Clark (center) reviews the ROTC troops
Colonel Clark (center) reviews the ROTC troops The annual review of the University of Nevada ROTC batallion on Mackay Field conducted by Colonel Oral E. Clark, professor of military science. Clark lived in the house in 1940 and 1941. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada Reno Libraries Date: May 10, 1941
Bill Berry and sons
Bill Berry and sons Bill Berry at Galena Creek with his sons Barnes and Hall, about the time they moved to 839 N. Center. Source: Mark McLaughlin Date: 1942
Bill Berry at home
Bill Berry at home Bill Berry in his Reno home during the year of his death. Source: Mark McLaughlin Date: 1998
View of the house from the southeast
View of the house from the southeast A winter view of the house at 839 N. Center, showing the bay windows and chimney Source: Architectural Resource Assessment Form, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Compiled by ZoAnn Campana. Creator: Jack Hursh Date: 2005
Front view, 839 N. Center
Front view, 839 N. Center This photograph shows six mailboxes for separate apartments in the house that was once a single-family dwelling. Source: Architectural Resource Assessment Form, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Compiled by ZoAnn Campana. Creator: Jack Hursh Date: 2005
Springtime at 839 N. Center
Springtime at 839 N. Center A front view of the Berry house in 2016. The house's defining feature was the lower semi-hexagonal bay window assembly. Each section was divided by fluted wood molding. and set between upper and lower inset panels. Creator: Emily Rogers Date: 2016
Facing southwest, 839 N. Center
Facing southwest, 839 N. Center A side view from the north. Source: City of Reno Historical Resources Commission Creator: ZoAnn Campana Date: March 12, 2016
The south side of 839 N. Center
The south side of 839 N. Center Facing northwest, a view of the south side of the Berry House reveals its close connection to the surrounding residences. Source: City of Reno Historical Resources Commission Creator: ZoAnn Campana Date: March 12, 2016

Location

839 N. Center Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Donnelyn Curtis, “Berry House (site),” Reno Historical, accessed April 12, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/143.