Willie Stevens House (site)

This site is part of the Black Springs tour, a partnership with Our Story, Inc. Visit the Tours page for the tour introduction and complete list of sites.

Willie Stevens had the house at 415 Medgar Avenue moved to his lot in Black Springs in late 1957. Before it was moved there by Dario Bevilacqua, the top of the house was removed, as was customary at the time, in order to avoid hitting power lines above the roads.

In the early 1960s when U.S. 395 was under construction, the Highway Department took part of the lot for the highway right-of-way and made Mr. Stevens move the house back eight feet from their new fence. Bevilacqua again moved the house but it was still one foot too close, so Mr. Stevens cut off the northeast corner of the house himself.

Willie Stevens grew up in Reno, the son of Hosea and Johnnie Stevens, who lived just a few blocks away at 270 Westbrook Lane. He competed for ten years as a professional boxer, making his professional debut in an outdoor fight at Reno's Moana Ball Park in 1953. In 1963, he opened a car wash at 20 Park Street called Willie's Polish Room. He and his wife, Laura, had three children: Regina, Willie Jr., and Loretta.

Originally identified as 225 Eugene Street before the street was renamed Medgar Avenue, the house was severely damaged by fire in December of 1966. Laura's sister's family was also living in the house at the time, and fortunately no one was hurt. A few months later, the county ruled that Stevens could not rebuild the house, arguing that the structure had been more than 50 percent destroyed, and according to county building code, must be torn down. Stevens appealed the ruling and was apparently allowed to rebuild.

Both Willie J. Stevens, Sr. and Laura died in 2013, preceded in death by their daughter, Regina. The house has since been torn down.

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415 Medgar Avenue, Reno, NV