In 1901 Hosea Reid became one of the founders of the Gray, Reid & Company dry goods store, along with partner Joseph Gray, whose house is located at 457 Court Street. Their store was originally located at the corner of Second and Virginia Streets, with its final location at the site of the Circus Circus Hotel & Casino at Sixth and Virginia. In 1903, the firm gained partner Walter Wright, and the Gray, Reid, Wright department store became one of Reno’s leading mercantile establishments. Hosea Reid hired architect Fred Schadler to design his residence at 515 Court Street, which was built in 1922 at a cost of $20,000.
Reid was not only a merchant but a dentist. Born in 1863 in William, Ohio, he came west in 1884 while working as a salesman, and years later, entered the School of Dentistry at Northwestern University, where he graduated in 1891. He then returned west and practiced dentistry in San Francisco and Sacramento, and opened rural Nevada dental offices in Lovelock, Winnemucca, Austin, and Carlin. In 1901 he moved to Reno and formed his mercantile partnership with Joseph Gray. In 1902, Reid married Louise Mette, whose sister, Johanna, married Joseph Gray. Very active in civic activities, Reid served in the Nevada Assembly and on the University of Nevada Board of Regents, and as a trustee of the Nevada Historical Society.
In 1932, the Reids took the unusual step of switching houses with the family of Lester Summerfield, an attorney with a much smaller home at 237 Clay Street, where Reid died the following year. Summerfield, who resided here for the next 16 years, was hired by philanthropist Max C. Fleischmann to serve as his legal advisor upon his move to Nevada in 1935. After Fleischmann’s death, Summerfield was named chairman of the board to distribute Fleischmann’s $90 million fortune.
In 1948, the house was purchased by Casper G. and Florence Swift, who successfully petitioned for a variance in order to operate the residence as a guest house, which they ran as Skyline Manor into the 1950s. Catering to divorce-seekers, the Swifts advertised the house as “Reno’s finest guest home,” conveniently located just four blocks from the popular Mapes Hotel and Casino, which had just opened in 1947. A few years later, they sold the house to Charlie and Gloria Mapes, who completed a number of improvements to the property. From the 1960s through 1990s, the house served as the Chancery Office (later known as the Pastoral Center) for the Catholic Diocese of Reno and housing for some members of the Catholic clergy.
The Reid House is designed in the Prairie School style consisting of 4,416 square feet plus a 2,258-square-foot finished basement, with three bathrooms. Interesting architectural features include the Flemish bond massive brick façade, arched entrance with door sidelights, roof with deep overhang, and rusticated foundation. Today, the home has benefited from adaptive reuse and serves as multiple offices.