The home at 543 Ridge Street was designed by celebrated Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps and built for Harry and Anna Ginsburg in 1927. The Ginsburgs had moved to Reno in 1915 from Northern California, where Harry Ginsburg had owned a jewelry store in San Rafael, in Marin County. In Reno, he purchased the lease for the Marymont Jewelry Store, located at Second and Virginia Streets, before opening his business in a new location at 133 North Virginia Street on February 13, 1920.
The Ginsburgs were born, raised, and married (1903) in Russia, before immigrating to the west coast of the United States in 1906 with their two oldest children, Leo and Sam. They had another son, Edward, in California. Harry Ginsburg’s father had reportedly been watchmaker to the Czar and family until 1904. Harry Ginsburg was one of the founders of the Temple Emanu-El, the synagogue constructed in 1921 to serve Reno’s Jewish population, which by then numbered several hundred.
The Ginsburg name is well-known in Reno not just for Harry Ginsburg’s longstanding jewelry store, but for the 18-foot-high, four-sided clock that he had installed in front of his Virginia Street business on November 18, 1935. The clock was donated to the City of Reno by the Ginsburg family after Harry’s death in 1954. It was restored and installed at the Park Lane Mall on the corner of Virginia Street and Plumb Lane in 1966, and prior to the mall’s demolition, was moved to the plaza on the north side of the Truckee River, in front of the Reno City Hall.
The house is of a Tudor Cottage style consisting of 1,937 square feet plus an 870-square-foot finished basement, which includes a bedroom, a 400-bottle wine cellar, and a wood shop that complements the large machinery wood shop in the garage. Interesting architectural features include the circular and half-circular windows on the west elevation, the Tudor arched door, steep gable roof, and beautiful arches gracing the entryways. The interior remains original with the arch design also echoed in the fireplace. The Ginsburg House won the 2009 Residential Preservation award from the City of Reno Historical Resources Commission.
The Ginsburg family occupied the residence until the mid-1950s, after which it became a rental. It was then purchased by State Senator Peter Echeverria, who donated it to the Basque Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. The university later sold the home to Mike Cassity, a retired English professor and his wife Joannie; the Cassitys have painstakingly restored the home, researching design plans and paint colors and reproducing them as needed.