Filed Under Residences

Hart-Keresey House

A thirties-era Pagoda-style home in the heart of Reno's Old Southwest

This Revival Pagoda-style home occupies 2/3 acre of what was Patrick Ranch land in the early part of the 20th century. George Hart was a popular piano player and crooner from southern California who performed at such popular nightspots as the Corner Bar of the Riverside Hotel, The Willows, and the Country Club. He and his wife Marie, who married in Reno in 1929, appear to have had the house built in 1934-1935.

George had quite a following among local women and those who came to town in the 1930s to wait out their six weeks before they could obtain a divorce. One of those divorcees, heiress Marcia Farrell Keresey, received her Reno divorce in 1931 and remained in the city with her three children. Sometime over the next few years, she apparently won George's heart. The two married in June of 1937 and initially lived on Marsh Avenue, but seem eventually to have acquired the pagoda-style house from Marie.

The home was designed by an up-and-coming young architect Russell Mills, Sr., who had worked for pre-eminent architect Frederic DeLongchamps. Mills spent several years in Asia with his mother, who worked as a governess after her divorce. Oriental design was popular in southern California in the 1920s and 1930s. Some Reno houses have upturned eaves and a few other Asian influences, but none compare with the Hart House.

Components that identify the Pagoda style are the full-sized "moon gate," arched doorways, multi-level roofs, round windows, and the red and black trim. Skilled craftsmen milled the cedar siding on site to resemble stacked bamboo . Other unique features included an octagonal living room, three-inch-thick pocket doors, built-in cabinets and niches, and a rotating bed.

The 2/3 acre property has a tea house and an arching bridge over the original koi pond, and a walking path encircles the beautifully landscaped property. A seasonal creek (really an irrigation ditch) runs down the west side of the property.

Images

The Hart-Keresey  House around 1938
The Hart-Keresey House around 1938 A photograph of the Hart House in the 1930s shows its original setting in the midst of former ranch land. Source: Anne Simone Date: ca. 1938
Hart-Keresey House close-up, exterior
Hart-Keresey House close-up, exterior A close-up view of the house's exterior shows a distinctive circular window and pagoda-style roofline. Source: Anne Simone
House and grounds
House and grounds An undated photo of the Hart-Keresey House shows the great attention paid to the landscape and gardens. Source: Anne Simone
Hart-Keresey House roofline
Hart-Keresey House roofline An undated photo of the Hart-Keresey House provides a clear view of the multiple rooflines and levels. Source: Anne Simone
The Hart-Keresey House in 2011
The Hart-Keresey House in 2011 In 2011, the Hart-Keresey house was one of the stops on the Historic Reno Preservation Society's "Harvest of Homes" tour. Source: Historic Reno Preservation Society Date: 2011

Location

1150 Monroe Court, Reno, Nevada

Metadata

Deb Hinman, “Hart-Keresey House,” Reno Historical, accessed May 24, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/256.