Marsh Addition
620 Humboldt Street

For the past few Home Tours, HRPS has included an "adaptive reuse" property to show how a home can be converted to a business without negatively impacting a largely residential neighborhood. Here is our example for the 2023 Tour. This modest Craftsman bungalow was built in an era when it was one of the most popular architectural styles in Reno. With bricks being plentiful, thanks to the availability of dark red clay and several companies producing them, such as Reno Press Brick Company, brick homes are featured in most older neighborhoods throughout Reno. The Marsh Addition is no exception. The Arts and Crafts movement across the United States added intricate woodwork and handcrafted details to the interior and exterior of these homes. Some of the common features of this style are focal-point fireplaces, charming dormers, coffered ceilings, exposed rafter tails, and open floor plans. The style became so popular, you could even build your own bungalow from a kit in a mail-order catalog! The term "bungalow" dates to 18th century India. Bangla or bangala, is the Hindi word meaning "of the province of Bengal." The term came to be used to mean houses built for the British colonial authorities. The porches with the wide, unenclosed eave overhang helped shelter the home from the sun.

Our featured home dates from 1927, 50 years after the establishment of the addition. Humboldt Street was well populated by that time; addresses ran from the 500 block to the 1200 block, attesting to its popularity as a desirable neighborhood.

The first residents of our home were James and Jessie Costello, who moved from S. Center Street. James was born in 1866. When still an infant, James' family moved to Gold Hill, then to Virginia City. James resided there until about 1914, when he retired and moved to Reno. James spent 46 years as a conductor on the Virginia & Truckee railroad. Sadly, he only enjoyed his Humboldt Street home until 1934, when he passed away. That year, a G. D. Oliver purchased the home and built an addition and garage. The small building to the rear of the home today may be this garage. Several other owners occupied the home until 1955 when it was repurposed. A radiologist, Peter J. Kapo, MD, came to Reno from Pennsylvania to obtain a divorce about 1953 and became Chief of Radiology at the Veteran's Hospital. Dr. Kapo married a well-known local widow and left his previous position to open an office at 620 Humboldt St.

Another view of 620 Humboldt

From that time on, the little bungalow remained an office for various businesses. In 1956, it became the location of Blakely Whitney Adjusters. The Major Telephone Corporation had a brief stint as a resident in the 1970s, heavily advertising their new product, Majorette. This was a telephone that was said to automatically disinfect the mouthpiece after each call. In the 1980s, a law group occupied the building.

In August of 2021, the property became Westside Dental Studio and was remodeled to accommodate exam/treatment rooms and make the office bright and welcoming. The large brick fireplace that is a feature of the bungalow is still present in the waiting area. The dental workroom occupies a space in the rear of the office that was the home's kitchen. The home's exterior brick has been painted white and there is a small yard and a tasteful sign that allows the office to blend seamlessly with the surrounding residential area.