In order to get to know my little town of Reno, Nevada, I joined the Historic Reno Preservation Society. Immediately I was launched into role of tour guide. Tour guide! I was here to learn, but what better way to remember than to repeat to someone else all the neat things I’ve learned. Bear with me, I’m still learning, and in actuality I assist Elsie Newman and Anne Simone, two of the best little ladies in Reno, who really know a whole lot about Reno history!
If you do happen to be on the Monroe Street walking tour here are a few things you will see:
- Historic Reno seems to be a city that was made of brink. You will see this brick done in a variety of designs and colors. My favorite is clinker brink. Clinker brick is a darker, purplish color. Apparently, clinkers are the bricks that were too close to the fire in the kilns. Around the turn of the last century architects discovered how attractive they were when combined with regular looking bricks and added them to their designs. You will see a lot of clinker brick usage in our historic districts, but there is one house in particular where it is used on the Monroe Street tour.
- Rose gardens. Reno has many lovely rose gardens, but what is so unusual about the rose garden on this tour is that it is well over sixty years old! The story goes that the present home owner found numbered Jackson & Perkins (well known sellers of roses) tester tags. After calling the company it was related to her that those numbers weren’t even in the computer system and that those roses were indeed quite old.
- Down the street a bit we will see the home of Pappy Smith of Harold’s Club Casino fame. This home was built in the mid-50s. It is
5000 square feet upstairs and 5000 square feet downstairs. There is a hidden elevator in the drive-way leading to a storage area that held the liquor that supplied the club. Harold’s Club Casino catered to a female clientele, who were otherwise overlooked at other gaming establishments. Pappy Smith created a safe environment where ladies felt welcome.
- My personal favorite home on the tour is located at 975 Joaquin Miller. This briefly was the home of boxing legend JackDempsey. In its time this was a charming Tudor style home.
- One last notable home on the tour was once owned by artist Lyle V. Ball. He was known for his water color paintings of aging barns and ranch houses. He lived here during the 50s and 60s.
There are a few more surprises in store on my home tour, but these are some of the highlights. If you are in the Reno area and are interested in the tours please contact the Historic Reno Preservation Society for details on walking tours and rates, 775-747-4478.
Click here for walking tour descriptions.
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