11 Most Endangered Places List

Each year we name Nevada’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. We rely on the model established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The goal of this list is to bring attention to significant buildings, sites and landscapes that are threatened and to gather support for the effort to record and preserve the history of our unique state. 

Reno's Gateway District

North Center Street and North Lake Street, between 8th Street and 9th Street, Reno

 Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

The Gateway District encompasses a group of 19th century Victorian houses on two blocks between the south end of the University of Nevada, Reno campus and Interstate 80, flanking the main entrance to the campus. The university plans to construct a new College of Business building on Center Street (Historic University Avenue), displacing six of these Queen Anne homes.  The Gateway District houses are some of the best surviving examples of Victorian architecture in Reno, comprise a rare intact 19th century landscape, and enhance the university’s connection with the history of its city. University administrators have agreed to try to relocate the homes rather than demolish them; however, relocation would constitute an enormous loss for the historical context of this neighborhood. The University should help facilitate a citywide discussion to discuss the future of the entire Gateway including these houses. Learn more about them at http://renohistorical.org/tours/show/9.

To contact a regional board member: Alicia Barber, aliciambarber@gmail.com and Honor Jones, Honorsj@aol.com


Goldfield High School

 Photo credit, Anthony Graham

Photo credit, Anthony Graham

Built in late 1907 at the apex of Goldfield’s 5-year boom and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, it is one of the few highly significant buildings to survive the great fires of 1923-24.  Along with three grade schools, the 3-story Romanesque-style masonry structure, designed by Architect J.B. Randell, reflects the community’s commitment to education.  As mining and population declined, all schools were consolidated into the high school, where instruction continued until 1953.  That year, a new school was built and the high school abandoned.  A 2009 National Park Service Reconnaissance Survey found a high degree of historic integrity, although lack of maintenance had rendered the high school’s exterior walls unstable.  Since being deeded to a state non-profit corporation, limited funding has allowed some walls to be rebuilt.  If additional funds become available, the last wall section can be stabilized, finally eliminating the ongoing risk of collapse and allowing other preservation work to proceed, thereby preserving this important example of Goldfield life from its time as the last great gold mining boom in the West.

To contact a regional board member: Joni Eastley, jonieastley@gmail.com


Las Vegas High School

315 S. Seventh Street at Bridger, Las Vegas

 Photo credit, Shae Cox

Photo credit, Shae Cox

The Las Vegas High School Academic Building and Gymnasium were constructed in 1930 and are excellent examples of Art Deco architecture.  The campus has been renamed the Las Vegas Academy for Performing Arts but the buildings remain in use.  These two buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, but their future is potentially in doubt as the Clark County School District considers upgrading the campus. The original buildings exemplify the architecture of their era, but also Las Vegas history: at the time that local superintendent of schools Maude Frazier called for building a high school to accommodate 500 students, many Las Vegans doubted there ever would be that many students in their community.

 

To contact a regional board member: Richard Bryan, rbryan@fclaw.com and Bob Stoldal, stoldal@cox.net


Rural Downtown Areas

 Photo credit, Jonathan Foster

Photo credit, Jonathan Foster

Small towns have played a vital role in the history of rural Nevada. Scattered across the state, each downtown served as a nexus between rural residents and a wide variety of social services and needs. Rural downtowns have housed centers of government, commerce, healthcare, entertainment, education, and provided a variety of other vital services for residents of their oftentimes vast hinterlands. Recent years have witnessed a decline in such usage as information technology has provided alternatives to downtown shopping and other services. Many rural and small-town residents have also heeded the call of the employment opportunities and excitement offered by larger urban centers. Subsequently, the historically significant structures that make up Nevada’s rural downtowns are constantly threatened by increased vacancy, structural deterioration, and, in some cases, demolition. For example, Wells’ historically significant Commercial Row, with its various establishments dating back to the 1860s, was damaged by an earthquake in 2006. Unfortunately, rather than undergoing expensive repair and preservation, the structures were ultimately demolished. Rural downtowns across the state similarly face great challenges regarding preservation.

To contact a regional board member: Mark Bassett, director@nnry.com, Caroline McIntosh, carolinemcintosh@live.com, and Jonathan Foster, jonathan.foster@gbcnv.edu


The Huntridge Theater, Las Vegas

1208 E. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas

 Photo credit, Billy Marino 

Photo credit, Billy Marino 

The Huntridge first opened in 1944 in the new neighborhood built as World War II was beginning and became a community and entertainment center for the surrounding area at the time, and for the entire community.  It was the first desegregated theatre in southern Nevada. The Huntridge served as a cinema while also hosting stage productions and concerts.  The roof of the theatre collapsed in 1995, but it was repaired and the venue remained in use until 2004.  The theatre has since fallen into disrepair and its future remains uncertain. State and local officials, and interested community members, have sought to find ways to preserve it, and the efforts continue.

To contact a regional board member: Richard Bryan, rbryan@fclaw.com and Bob Stoldal, stoldal@cox.net


Fernley Swales 

 Photo credit, Emerson Marcus

Photo credit, Emerson Marcus

Settlers traveling west in the mid-nineteenth century--especially the Stevens-Townsend-Murphy party of 1844, the Donner Party in 1846, and the gold seekers of 1849--crossed Nevada in their wagons, leaving depressions in the soil. Those near Fernley, in the last seven miles of the Forty-Mile Desert (an area between the Humboldt and Carson Rivers that had no water and became legendary on the trail), became known as the Fernley Swales and are still there. Volunteers from the Oregon California Trail Association have installed signs. The land cannot be developed, but the Swales face threats from off-road vehicles and a nearby shooting range. The Fernley Swales serve as a reminder of Nevada’s early history and its importance to those going West.

To contact a regional board member: Emerson Marcus, Emersonm85@gmail.com


Nevada's Motor Courts/Motels

 Photo credit, Jonathan Foster

Photo credit, Jonathan Foster

On Fremont Street in Las Vegas, east of Glitter Gulch, and on main streets throughout rural and urban Nevada, motor courts and motor hotels once were important places for tourists who had been driving or preferred to stay slightly outside the heart of town. Now, many of them are in disrepair or ignored. This is especially true in larger cities, where they are often occupied by long-term low-income residents. The buildings and marquees reflect a variety of architectural styles, including Mid-century Modern, Art Deco, and Googie, and are in danger of being lost as newer motels or inexpensive hotels or chains move into areas or have more appeal, or downtown redevelopment projects change the urban landscape.

To contact a regional board member: Bob Stoldal, stoldal@cox.net and Jonathan Foster, jonathan.foster@gbcnv.edu


Red Rock Canyon Area

 Photo credit, Billy Marino

Photo credit, Billy Marino

People have lived in the Red Rock Canyon area for thousands of years.  Petroglyphs, pot shards, and the remains of roasting pits stand as evidence of a long history of human habitation in the region.  Much more recently, ranchers moved into the area and created what is now Spring Mountain Ranch.  Multiple important historic locations are protected within Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area.  However, as Las Vegas continues to expand westward, people will increasingly encroach upon these valuable historic resources. Various attempts at encroaching development have not succeeded, and that record must be maintained.

To contact a regional board member: Andy Kirk, Andy.kirk@unlv.edu


Masonic Lodge No. 13/Reno Mercantile Building

98 W. Commercial Row, Reno
 Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

The Masonic Lodge No. 13/Reno Mercantile Building, built in 1872, is Reno’s oldest standing commercial building.  Originally, James C. Hagerman sold groceries and hardware out of his store on the first floor and the Masons occupied the upper floor until moving to their new building on Virginia Street in 1906.  Reno Mercantile took over the first floor of the building in 1895 and operated there until 1970.  The building was used for storage by Fitzgerald’s Casino, and its ownership transferred to the operators of the Whitney Peak Hotel after they purchased and renovated Fitzgerald’s. Decades of neglect and water seepage have made the building structurally unsound, and a complete interior framing structure currently prevents the building from collapsing. Its future looks bleak, and its age and history demand attention. Learn more at http://renohistorical.org/items/show/85.To contact a regional board member: Alicia Barber, aliciambarber@gmail.com and Honor Jones, Honorsj@aol.com


Victory Hotel, Las Vegas

307 S. Main Street, Las Vegas

 Photo credit, Shae Cox

Photo credit, Shae Cox

Originally the Lincoln Hotel, it opened in 1907 near the railroad depot to cater to passengers. This mission-style building is one of the oldest downtown hotels and on the National Register of Historic Places, but often reported to be in danger of demolition. There has been a discussion of making it the center of a multi-use, green redevelopment that would preserve the hotel. The only older hotel in the vicinity is the Golden Gate, and it is and can be an important part of our past and present.

To contact a regional board member: Bob Stoldal, stoldal@cox.net


Hillside Cemetery, Reno

900 Nevada St. Reno

 Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

Photo credit, Bridger Bishop 

Located a few blocks west of the University of Nevada, Reno, Hillside Cemetery was established in the 1860s and was renamed Hillside Cemetery in 1875.  It contains the graves of many of Reno’s early residents as well as the graves of one congressman, five mayors, and Paiute chief Johnson Sides.  Neglected for decades, the cemetery is owned by Sierra Memorial Gardens, whose owner, Drew Lawton, first announced his intention to disinter and relocate the bodies in the southern half of the cemetery on August 26, 2016.  Due to public reaction, Lawton has since suspended his plans and no bodies have been disinterred yet.  However, that possibility remains and the future of the cemetery is uncertain, as the site is considered a prime location for development. The Hillside Cemetery Preservation Foundation was formed in 2016 to help restore, preserve, and protect Hillside Cemetery. http://hcpfoundation.squarespace.com/ 

To contact a regional board member: Alicia Barber, aliciambarber@gmail.com and Honor Jones, Honorsj@aol.com