Filed Under Education

Historic Huffaker Schoolhouse

The one-room schoolhouse built in 1867 was moved to Bartley Ranch Regional Park in 1992.

The little white schoolhouse near the entrance to Bartley Ranch Regional Park in southwest Reno fits so snugly into the surrounding landscape that one might assume it has always been there. But it was in fact originally located two miles east on South Virginia Street, just north of Huffaker Lane.

The school was built in 1867 to serve the small community of Huffaker’s, which predated both Reno and Sparks. Huffaker’s was one of the largest of many population centers that dotted the Truckee Meadows in the years before Nevada statehood. The community was named for Granville W. Huffaker, who settled the area in 1858—one year before prospectors discovered the Comstock Lode, centered in nearby Virginia City. Huffaker started ranching along Thomas Creek, six miles south of the Truckee River. By the time Nevada became a state in 1864, Huffaker’s had 300 residents, a post office, hotels, and later, its own stop on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

Granville Huffaker deeded one acre of his property to Huffaker School District No. 9, and in 1867, the school opened. The style is Victorian Greek Revival, with simplistic National Schoolhouse influences. Originally a single room, an additional room at the rear was added around 1878. So was the belfry, which houses the original school bell, cast of solid brass by the W.T. Garratt Bell & Brass Foundry. It is said that on a clear day, the bell could be heard for miles around, and area farmers would set their clocks by it.

Children of the area’s ranching families, many of them Italian, went to school in this little white schoolhouse. It operated until 1950, when a modern brick replacement was built just next door. That building still stands at 7495 South Virginia Street, serving today as Washoe County School District offices. In 1992, the original school was moved two miles west to Bartley Ranch Regional Park, very close to the current Huffaker Elementary School, which was constructed in 1990. It is now used for meetings, weddings, performances, and special events.

The community of Huffaker’s has long since been swallowed up by the city of Reno, but it lives on in the names of its contemporary and historic schools, Huffaker Park, Huffaker Lane, and the surrounding Huffaker Hills.

Images

Original location
Original location The Huffaker School in its original location on South Virginia Street in the 1940s. Source: Nevada Department of Transportation Date: 1940s
Moving Day, 1992
Moving Day, 1992 In August 1992, local movers A. Bevilacqua & Sons moved the historic schoolhouse to its new home in Bartley Ranch Regional Park. The entire structure had been moved to Neil Road in the 1950s, after a new Huffaker Elementary was constructed next to its original site on South Virginia Street. Source: Reno Gazette-Journal Creator: Don Marquis Date: August 17, 1992
Relocated and restored
Relocated and restored The historic Huffaker School currently sits at the entrance to Bartley Ranch Regional Park, just off Lakeside Drive in southwest Reno. Source: Washoe County
Interior facing entrance
Interior facing entrance The large room inside the schoolhouse has been restored to the 1930s era. Source: Washoe County
Interior facing the rear
Interior facing the rear Originally, the schoolteacher would start the school day by starting a fire in the stove and pumping and hauling water from the outside well for drinking water. Source: Washoe County

Location

Metadata

Alicia Barber and Friends of the Old Huffaker School, “Historic Huffaker Schoolhouse,” Reno Historical, accessed April 12, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/170.