About the Neighborhoods
The neighborhoods revealed in this year's Tour include:
- our Encore Home from the 2010 Home Tour, occupying a significant corner in the Powning's Addition;
- two lovely homes in Newlands Manor, part of the Newlands Historic District, designated in January 2017, and now in the National Register of Historic Places;
- a vernacular stone cottage that was once part of the 1880s Plumb Ranch, begun by Edmund and Elizabeth Plumb who arrived in Reno in the late 1880s;
- a brick two-story home which is this year’s Adaptive Reuse property, built in Crampton’s Addition which was established in 1906;
- and a 1963 Mid-Century Modern ranch home, built in Southwest Terrace subdividion, established in 1962.
In moving through the neighborhoods and the homes themselves, we hope you will gain a sense of Reno's history, of huge parcels of ranch land that was subdivided for residential use as Reno moved from an agrarian to urban society, of the evolution of the additions and subdivisions that grew up around the downtown core and the architecture that represents each time period. As you read the home histories, we hope you will come to know a little about the people who lived in the homes, both who they were and how they came to become a part of the history of the city we love and inhabit today.
A word about "additions," for those of you unfamiliar with the term. Early Reno grew quickly and as it grew, residents began populating the areas outside the city core. This was an opportunity for a developer or investor to purchase land, subdivide it and create lots for sale to benefit new residents, the growing city, and of course their own financial well-being. These areas containing lettered blocks and numbered lots known as an "addition" to Reno. Today we refer to them as subdivisions or tracts.
937 Jones Street (c.1902)
Christopher Columbus Powning purchased 122 acres of land for his addition from the estate of Alexander Forbes on July 14, 1886. Powning was an early leader of the young town; he was president of the Reno Water, Land and Light Company and owner/editor of the Nevada State Journal. Two years later, the new addition had been platted and was being advertised as "the most lovely portion of Reno." Powning's was one of the earliest additions in Reno. Advertising went on to boast, "Unlike any other part of the town this Addition faces the beautiful Truckee River and Riverside Avenue is certain to become the fashionable driveway of the country." Initial lot sales were fairly steady, though slowed in the 1890s due to an economic depression. Then as mining boomed in Tonopah and Goldfield, building resumed in the addition. The earliest residences were moderately-sized working class homes, often in the Queen Anne style, as with our featured home. Following the boom, Craftsman homes proliferated in the neighborhood. As you stroll through the quiet, tree-lined streets of Jones, Vine, Winter and others in this area, you can get a sense of time standing still. A few yards still have garden patches, and gentle breezes rustle the leaves, just as they have for over a century.
145 Mark Twain Avenue & 6 Bret Harte Avenue (c.1928)
Newlands Terrace Addition
What is generally referred to as "The Newlands Neighborhood" is made up of several additions, including Newlands Heights, Newlands Terrace and Newlands Manor. These additions fall within the Newlands Historic District, designated in January 2017, and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Our two featured homes sit nearly back-to-back off one of the alleys that meander through the neighborhood, in an era when garages were hidden in the rear of homes. The Newlands District was developed as an "automobile suburb," boasting paved roads, mandatory setbacks, sidewalks, driveways, streetlights, and underground utilities. At the same time these homes were built, W. E. Barnard of Nevada Developers, Inc. was placing four pairs of large, distinctive stone monuments to herald the entrance to the Newlands area along Nixon Avenue. The neighborhood is an eclectic mix of Tudor Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Craftsman bungalows, just to name a few of the varied architectural types found here. The Newlands Historic District has been recognized for its importance to Reno's historic architecture, including "a stylistic diversity and level of design quality rare in Northern Nevada," according to the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. Residents are proud of their neighborhood, as evidenced by the strong Newlands Neighborhood Association and active efforts to maintain the beauty and livability of their historic district.
1895 West Plumb Lane (c. 1934)
In the late 1880s when Edmund and Elizabeth Plumb emigrated from the green, rolling hills of Middlesex, England to the barren, rocky country quite a distance south of the fledgling town of Reno, they must have experienced quite a culture shock. Reno was growing, from 1,000 inhabitants in 1880 to 3,500 in 1890, but starting a ranch in what surely seemed a godforsaken spot could not have been easy. Having one child, a daughter, they soon called for nephews to join them in the American West. By the 1900 Census, there were six additional Plumbs in the household, as well as an unrelated farm worker. The ranch continued into the late 1940s. The area was still very rural and outside the city limits; Plumb Lane did not extend beyond Arlington Avenue. Building was beginning to occur along Hunter Lake Drive and farther west on Plumb, a new development known as Rivermount, was gaining traction, offering both smaller and 1-acre lots for residents to build their country homes. The area might have been annexed to the city sooner, if not for the opposition by a large group of residents who felt annexation would negatively impact the quiet, rural lifestyle they had come to enjoy.
611 Forest Street (1939)
Following the popularity of such early additions as the Lake Addition (1871), Hatch Addition (1876), and Marsh Addition (1877), more and more early residents flocked to the south side of the Truckee River to make their homes in this prestigious new sector of the city. Forest Street, which today extends southward from California Avenue to Mt. Rose Street, is comprised of many small additions, created as local entrepreneurs purchased tracts of land, platted lots and either built homes or sold the lots for the purchaser to develop. Our adaptive reuse home/office is located in Crampton's Addition. Henry J. Crampton relocated from New York to Virginia City during its boom years and opened the Commercial Soap Works. In 1894, he and his family moved to Reno where Henry bought some acreage south of the river and moved his business to the growing town. The factory was located off Forest Street near present-day St. Lawrence Ave. and Tahoe St. In 1906, Henry established Crampton's Addition, building some homes and also selling lots. Henry died in 1910 but his addition and others in the neighborhood continued to grow and flourish. His son Eugene took over the family business but the soap works burned in 1934. The lot where our property stands appears to have remained undeveloped until 1939. Today the addition is part of Reno's popular Midtown district.
3310 Sunnyvale Avenue (1963)
Southwest Terrace Addition
Part of the Southwest Terrace subdivision touted as "Reno's prime Executive residential area," the land was purchased by Reno Properties, Inc. in 1962 from Thomas Dant for about $1 million. Principals of the firm included Reno notables Camill and Al Solari, Jeanette Cashill and Norman Biltz. These names may sound familiar, as streets in the area bear their names. Also involved in the project were four well-known contractors: Wiechmann Construction, Ramsey Brothers, Paul Williams and John Capurro. Model homes were constructed to demonstrate the quality of the homes or, if a different style was desired, lots could be purchased for custom homes. 1200 new homes were planned, as well as a shopping center and a series of garden apartments. Biltz and Camill Solari were pioneers in the business of tract subdivision development in Reno, creating the first tract in Reno near Plumb Lane and Arlington Avenue in the late 1930s. Prior to the development of Southwest Terrace, this area was barren, hilly and pretty much inaccessible until Cashill Boulevard was constructed at a cost of $80,000 which connected the new subdivision with Skyline Boulevard. This new construction signaled the growth of Reno southward which has continued through the present day.