Lake Mansion

Built in 1877, the residence was home to Jane Lake and was famously moved across town twice.

As you look at this impressive Italianate-style home, imagine the complication of moving its bulk--not once, but two separate times. The Lake Mansion, now sitting proudly at the corner of Court Street and Arlington Avenue, was built in 1877 by Washington J. Marsh and purchased by Myron Lake in 1879 for $5,000. Architect John S. Sturgeon designed the building. Lake is often considered the founder of Reno because his toll bridge across the Truckee prompted the early settlement to be called "Lake's Crossing."

The mansion originally stood at the northwest corner of California and Virginia Streets. Following Myron Lake's divorce from his first wife, Jane, in 1881 and his subsequent death in 1884, ownership passed to Jane and their son, Charlie. Jane modernized the mansion, adding indoor plumbing, a telephone, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

In 1971, the Lake Mansion was moved to South Virginia Street near the Convention Center to save it from demolition due to the imminent construction of a bank. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Years later, on July 11, 2004 the "most moving event of Artown" took place in Reno when the 40-ton mansion was moved 3.1 miles back up Virginia Street to its current location.

The 3,206-square-foot structure is an ornate example of the Italianate style with a hipped roof and veranda banding the house; it typifies upper middle class prosperity during the period. Well-detailed brackets, window frames, doors, and balustrades testify to the quality craftsmanship that went into the structure's construction. Among the impressive details of the Lake Mansion are the etched glass of the doorway, the period furnishings, and the carved woodwork over the sliding doors in the front parlor.

This outstanding early Reno home is now owned by Arts for All Nevada (formerly VSA Arts of Nevada) which offers affordable, open-to-the-public workshops and art camps. Arts for All Nevada received several awards for historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the building. The beautifully restored interior can be visited for self-guided tours.

Images

The Lake Family, 19th century
The Lake Family, 19th century The Lake Mansion was built by W. J. Marsh and sold to Myron Lake in 1879. Jane Lake's family is seen in the foreground. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: ca. 1880s
Original site
Original site The Lake Mansion was originally located at the corner of South Virginia and California streets, surrounded by other single-family homes. Source: Nevada Historical Society
Lake Mansion from across the street
Lake Mansion from across the street The Lake Mansion can be viewed at its original location in the background of this photograph of Capt. Glenn D. Davis of the Reno Fire Department as he stands across the street in front of the Southside Fire Station at 532 S. Virginia Street (since demolished). Davis was killed while fighting a fire on Lake Street in 1948. Source: Jon Wagner Date: ca. 1940s
On the move, 1971
On the move, 1971 The Lake Mansion's first move, in 1971, was from its original location to the grounds of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in south Reno. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: 1971
Historical marker, 2000
Historical marker, 2000 The Nevada State Historical Marker erected at the South Virginia Street location indicated the building's historical significance, but not its original location. Creator: Philip Galbraith Date: 2000
Convention Center grounds, 2002
Convention Center grounds, 2002 For more than three decades the Lake Mansion stood at the corner of South Virginia and Kietzke Lane, far from its original home. Creator: Max Chapman Date: 2022
Moving again, 2004
Moving again, 2004 On July 11, 2004, the Lake Mansion was on the move again from the Convention Center to the corner of Court and Arlington streets. Source: Arts for All Nevada Date: 2004
A public spectacle, 2004
A public spectacle, 2004 The Lake Mansion's remarkable journey from South Virginia Street to Court Street had the quality of a traveling street festival. Source: Arts for All Nevada Date: 2004
A new complex
A new complex Once the Lake Mansion was in place on Court Street, a modern building was built on the lot to provide expanded space for events. Source: Arts for All Nevada
Permanent home
Permanent home The Lake Mansion looks right at home in her current neighborhood, just blocks from the house's original location. Source: City of Reno, Historical Resources Commission
Arts for All Nevada
Arts for All Nevada The stately Lake Mansion is now home to Arts for All Nevada, which offers a variety of arts-based activities. Source: Arts for All Nevada

Location

250 Court Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Sharon Honig-Bear, “Lake Mansion,” Reno Historical, accessed June 14, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/34.