4th Grade Education
Fourth grade is the year Washoe County school children learn Nevada history. The HRPS Board learned from our members who are former or current teachers that little if any Reno history is included in the curriculum. That didn't seem quite right to us, so in 2008 several board members got together to find a way to include some Reno history for the children that would be fun as well as educational. What came out of the discussions was the fourth grade education program that we offer every year to the 4th grade classes.
This two-day program begins with a slideshown presentation created by long-time HRPS member Jerry Fenwick. Jerry is a well-known, local photographer and author and former HRPS board member. He is very generous in sharing his knowledge and photography collection with researchers and others. You will find a few of his photos on the historic photos page on this site. Jerry engages and entertains the fourth graders with his stories of days-gone-by in Reno. We receive much positive feedback from the children about "Mr. Fenwick."
At 9:00 AM on the second day, the children board a school bus for a tour of Reno's downtown area, starting with the Amtrak Railroad Depot. HRPS covers the cost of the school bus. Some of the children have never been downtown nor have they been on a school bus tour. At the depot the children visit the artifacts room in the old depot and then go downstairs to the track-level to view the WCTU fountain, where they are presented with information about the fountain. The fourth graders are usually impressed by the different troughs for horses, dogs, and humans.
The next stop on the tour is South Virginia Street and the Truckee River, arguably Reno's most historic location. The childern are told about the history of the Riverside Hotel, the Post Office, and the Pioneer Center. They then tour the Washoe County Court House, including the old jail, and are given an activity book paid for by HRPS.
After the Court House tour, the kids return to the bus and go to the Lake Mansion on the corner of Court Street and South Arington. There they eat the lunches they have brought and afterwards, tour the Lake Mansion. If there is time, they will take in the California Building in Idlewild Park.