President's Message Summer 2014

"History is hot." That was the message from HRPS Administrator, former President, and volunteer extraordinaire Cindy Ainsworth upon her return from presenting at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History this spring. With the celebration in 2014 of Nevada's sesquicentennial, history is definitely hot in Nevada. The growing interest in local history has not only brought record attendance to HRPS' Wednesday monthly meetings, but also to our historic walking tours. On Saturday, May 3, almost 60 people turned out for our first walking tour of this season. This increased visibility is also increasing awareness about other opportunities we offer, evidenced by the increased number of applications we received for the 2014 Neighborhood Improvement Grants.

On May 9, HRPS, the City of Reno, the University of Nevada Libraries Special Collections, VSA Nevada, the Riverwalk Merchants Association, and others officially launched the Reno Historical App (www.renohistorical.org) at a press conference at the Lake Mansion. Reno Mayor, Robert Cashell, was introduced by master of ceremonies Myron Lake (impersonated by Allan Reinap). The celebration ended with a reenactment of the May 9, 1868 auction when the Central Pacific Railroad auctioned off the 400 lots that was the beginning of the town of Reno.

With the City of Reno and Artown, HRPS is a sponsor of the Parks Rephotography Project, an exhibition of historical and contemporary photographs of local parks. The project will be available for public viewing afternoons, every Friday through Monday in July, at Bicentennial Park on the Truckee River in Downtown Reno. Many HRPS members turned out the morning of May 10 to be a part of the recreation of the iconic photo taken at the 1927 dedication of the California Building. The first public showing of the Parks Rephotography Project in the California Building followed the photograph.

On May 10, we celebrated the Biggest Little Birthday Party. Volunteers were stationed at twelve historic sites surrounding the Virginia Street Bridge, each site marked by an historic picture and a QR code for the Reno Historical App. There were bands, gold panning, antique cars, performances by the Young Chautauquans, and more birthday cake!

On Friday, May 30, HRPS and VSA Nevada participated in the Creative Coalition of Midtown's Sundown in Midtown. HRPS offered two one-hour walking tours through midtown. We are working on an interactive game to test participants' knowledge and engage the public in the history of Midtown Reno.

HRPS is working on a partnership with Washoe County Library System to offer presentations of our more popular programs, and the Downtown Reno Library is working with the presenters of our February and March programs for their celebration of Nevada 150 this fall. HRPS will keep members informed of these upcoming opportunities through our website and via email to our members. If you would like to receive HRPS email updates and have not yet shared your email address, please use the email link in the "Contact Us" section below to sign up.

Because HRPS is becoming so visible in the community, more organizations are inviting HRPS to present to their members. These opportunities allow even more people to know about our activities and programs, and they provide an additional window into how HRPS impacts our community. We have heard from people who know recipients of HRPS' Neighborhood Improvement Grants and share what wonderful opportunities their friends or relatives have had to improve their homes.

History is hotter than ever in the Biggest Little City, but that doesn't mean we don't need to remain vigilant in protecting our local history. The HRPS board has identified five historic Reno buildings to relaunch our Endangered Historic Building Watch List. Please keep an eye on these valuable structures and report any activity — good or bad, and let us know of other buildings that should be included.

  • Lear Theater, Riverside Drive and 1st Street
  • Freight House, Evans Avenue north of the Aces Ballpark
  • Nevada Brewing Works, Southeast corner of 4th Street and Morrill Avenue
  • The Regina Apartments (Iliescu’s old office building), 260 Island Avenue
  • First Masonic Building (Reno Mercantile), Sierra Street and Commercial Row

Our growing visibility and new collaborations are increasing awareness of local history and HRPS, and that means a need for more and more volunteers. We are working on a comprehensive plan to better organize our volunteer needs and utilize those of you who have already come forth and indicated your willingness to volunteer. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with HRPS, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Byllie D'Amato Andrews

Monthly Programs

  • Programs on Summer Vacation
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Nov 19, 2014

Be sure to enjoy our walking tours this summer and the Harvest of Homes Tour on September 27th. Monthly programs will return October 22nd.

A Lew Hymers Postcard with Bathing Beauties Walking Along the Truckee River

A Family Look at Reno in the 1920s and 1930s

Reno attorney Richard Hill has agreed to show never before publicly displayed family movies of Reno in the 1920s and 1930s. These include moving pictures of parades through downtown Reno, shots of "old" southwest Reno before it was "new," and various other former sites around town like Laughton's Hot Springs and the Nevada Stock Farm. The presentation will be informal with some detours along the way.

  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Location: Laxalt Auditorium, Warren Nelson Building, 401 West Second Street, Reno

Twelve Inches from Hell: Archaeology at a Black Rock Desert Stagecoach Station Between 1852 and 1869

Teaching and Research Assistant and HRPS' 2014 University of Nevada, Reno scholarship recipient, Laura Sechrist, will present her research results about this emigrant station. Granite Creek Station in Nevada's Black Rock Desert provided trade goods, rest, and a source of water for emigrants, travelers and stagecoaches after they crossed the alkaline playa. Though emigrant diaries and other written sources provide some information about this station, the archaeology was able to challenge some emigrant accounts, confirm others, and help fill in the details of everyday life at this 19th century trading post, stagecoach station, and military camp.

  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Location: Laxalt Auditorium, Warren Nelson Building, 401 West Second Street, Reno