January 2021

HRPS News & Updates

Dear HRPS Members,

The new year is upon us and change is in the air!  You should have received your Winter edition of FootPrints by now, and I hope you are planning to attend our January virtual program on Alice Ramsey's historic automobile trip across Nevada on January 5.  

The prospect for a Covid vaccine for the general public by spring bodes well for our walking tours and Harvest of Homes tour, but we shall see.  For now, plan on joining us virtually through May for our monthly programs and take a look at our reading recommendations below to increase your knowledge of local history.

Katy Phillips has resigned as Membership Chair due to health concerns, a position she has held since 2017.  Thank you, Katy, for a great job all these years!

We continue to add new Lifetime Members - David Lowndes, Rhonda Shoolroy, Jerry Sawyer, Holly Gallup, and John and Holly Muran.  Many thanks for your generosity and your belief in Reno historic preservation!

Very best wishes for the new year.  Please stay safe.

Carol Coleman, President

Historic Reno Preservation Society


January Program - Remembering Alice Ramsey

Alice Ramsey c.1909. Photo courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection, Detroit Public Library


Join us Tuesday, January 5, 2021, 5:30pm on Zoom for Debbie Hinman's enlightening presentation on Alice Ramsey's historic cross-country road trip in 1909.  

Alice Ramsey was the first woman to drive an automobile across the United States and the first woman to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. 

In the five years since the continent had first been traversed by an automobile,  only a couple dozen brave souls had managed to conquer America’s trails and rutted roadsRamsey, a 22-year-old mother from Hackensack New Jersey was determined to be the first to assert women’s rights to travel freely across the nation.  

The event is free, but registration is required. 

Winter FootPrints is Here

The Winter Edition of FootPrints is now available in digital form.  This issue highlights the Lear Theater, including a timeline of development, a look at Riverside Drive in the early part of the 20th century, the brilliant work of architect Paul Revere Williams, and a discussion of what any development proposal should consider from an historic preservation aspect.  

(photo courtesy of Reno Gazette Journal)

Renewing Your Membership

Although HRPS membership is now revolving (renews on your anniversary date), most HRPS members renew in January. You should have already received an e-mail and a letter with renewal instructions. We encourage all members to renew online if possible.

If you’d like to renew now, here are the steps:

1.  Go to the HRPS website: historicreno.org.  On the far right just below the photo banner, there is a small black icon. (As you hover, you’ll see “Member Login”)  Click on that icon.

2.  A login box will pop up asking for your e-mail address and password. If this is your first time logging in, enter your e-mail and click “Forgot password or New User”

3.  That takes you to a new screen Reset password. Enter your e-mail address, click on “I’m Not a Robot” and Submit. It tells you password reset instructions have been e-mailed to you. (If this does not work, the website may not know that e-mail address.)

4.  Check your inbox for an email from Historic Reno Preservation Society. Open that email and click the link to set up a password of your choice.

5.  Now you are set to enter your e-mail and new password. You go to a “landing page” where at the top right you see your name followed by View profile. Select View profile.

6.  You go to a page that has Membership details. Several lines down you will see “Renew to date” – select that to renew your membership. Be sure to select Log Out when you are finished.

If you run into any difficulty, e-mail board@historicreno.org with your questions.

Thanks for being a valued HRPS Member!

Benefits of HRPS Membership

  • Monthly Newsletter keeps you up to date on HRPS news and events
  • FootPrints, our quarterly publication, provides research on interesting  historic buildings and preservation related issues, as well as the people who made Reno interesting.  It also provides advance notice of monthly programs and walking tours, and our signature "Harvest of Homes Tour"
  • Member rates for walking tours 
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • A way to support Reno historic preservation 

Reno Heritage Fund Now Accepting Applications

842 Nixon Ave


235 Lee

Now is a good time to begin planning those summer renovation projects.  Do you have an older home that could use some sprucing up or repairs?

The Reno Heritage Fund was established to provide small grants (under $5,000) to homeowners wanting to make improvements on an historic building.  

Structures must be located within Reno city limits, be at least 50 years old, or of historical and/or architectural significance. Applicants must be Nevada residents.

Grants will be given for exterior improvements only (e.g., front door, front windows, porch details, etc.). Grants are not intended for landscaping or hardscaping projects.

Improvements must be authentic to the style of the structure, i.e. a new door or window for a Craftsman Bungalow, needs to be of a Craftsman Bungalow style.

Grant monies must be matched 100% or more by the homeowner, though some latitude may be allowed.

Full guidelines and application form can be found on the Reno Heritage Fund webpage

100 Years Ago in Reno

From time to time we'll browse the history files of the Reno Evening Gazette and other Reno newspapers to find interesting tidbits of local history.  Since this is the holiday season, news of social events around town seem appropriate.  See if you recognize any names from this Society News section on December 30, 1920

What are you reading?

Catching up on your reading during the pandemic?  How about expanding your knowledge of Reno history?  We asked several HRPS Board Members what they would suggest, and here are a few of their recommendations.

No reading list would be complete without City of Trembling Leavesby Walter Van Tilberg Clark. 

No longer in print, you might find a copy on eBay or the Washoe County Library, or query your HRPS friends to see if they will lend you their copy.  Beware, it might come with conditions!

This coming of age story is set in the Reno of the mid-1920's and will captivate anyone familiar with a little of old Reno history.

Once you've read "Trembling Leaves", you should pick up a copy of The Nevada They Knew, by Anthony Shafton.

Robert Caples (1908–1979) was Nevada’s leading artist of the twentieth century, Walter Van Tilburg Clark (1909–1971) its leading novelist. The Nevada They Knew tells the full story of that lifelong friendship. Shafton goes back and forth between the novel and the men’s biographies to understand their lives and works. He explores the reasons Clark’s fiction too soon came to a dead end, while Caples eventually ceased painting as a spiritual choice. 

The Nevada They Knew is also a memoir, of Shafton’s friendship with Caples, his attachment to Clark’s novel The City of Trembling Leaves, and his connection to Nevada, which both men taught him to love.  Anthony Shafton is a writer and independent scholar who resides in Reno.

Over 157 years ago—before there was a Reno, Nevada; before there was a state of Nevada; and even before there was a Nevada Territory—there was a bridge over the Truckee River at a narrow, deeply rutted cattle and wagon trail that would one day become Virginia Street. There was also a small rustic inn and tavern occupying a plot of ground at the southern end of the log-and-timber bridge, catering to thirsty cowboys, drovers, and miners. The inn and the bridge were the first two structures in what would one day be a bustling metropolitan area, and to this day they still form the nucleus of the city. The Genesis of Reno traces their history up to the present day. 

Jack Harpster lives in Reno and is the author of numerous books about colorful characters in early American history.

Make a Donation

Historic Reno Preservation Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting historic resources in the Truckee Meadows through education, advocacy, and leadership.

Historic Reno Preservation Society | P.O. Box 14003, Reno, NV  89507

board@historicreno.org  |  775-747-4478

Virginia Street Bridge photos courtesy of Nevada Historical Society