Lake Mansion History

Why is the mansiVSANV_LakeMansion_Painting_ C.B.McClellan1882on important and listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places?

Reno was once named “Lake’s Crossing” for the toll bridge that spanned the Truckee River close to the present day Virginia Street bridge. Myron Lake would charge a toll to cross the bridge.  Myron and Jane Lake owned the Lake Mansion, “Reno’s First Address”.  This original oil painting by C.B. McClellan (1882), is on exhibit in the Lake Mansion’s dining room.   Postcards of this painting are available for visitors.



1890mansion_100HThe Lake Mansion has had three addresses! The building has been moved twice. The original location was “Reno’s first address”, on the corner of California Ave and Virginia St. In 1971, the mansion was threatened with demolition, but residents of Reno rallied to save the structure and formed the non-profit Washoe Landmark Preservation. On July 29, 1971, the mansion moved 3 miles south to the corner of Virginia St. and Kietke Lane on the grounds of the now Reno-Sparks Convention Center, previously called “The Coliseum”.   The mansion moved again on July 11, 2004, 3.1 miles north to its present location on the corners of Court St., Flint St. and Arlington Ave.

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “old friends are worth keeping”.  Thanks to several grant awards and donations, dedicated volunteers, craftspeople and staff, the mansion has been saved for future generations to enjoy.  The Lake Mansion is an ornate example of the Italianate style. With the hipped roof and veranda banding the house, it typifies upper middle class prosperity during the period. Well-detailed brackets, window frames, doors and balustrades testify to the quality craftsmanship which went into the structure’s construction.  Among the impressive details of the Lake Mansion are the etched glass of the doorway, the period furnishings, and the carved woodwork over the sliding doors in the front parlor.

What does the Mansion and Arts for All Nevada mean to Northern Nevada?
At the time, City of Reno Mayor Bob Cashell … As a city, we are committed to maintaining our beautiful historic structures.  One of the most significant structures, the Lake Mansion, will be moving back downtown in 2004 to enhance our already thriving Arts and Culture District.  The Lake Mansion, under the stewardship of VSA arts of Nevada (now Arts for All Nevada), will be a focal point for the arts, history and programs for locals and visitors.  We look forward to our continued partnership in bringing the Lake Mansion home to shine for all our residents and visitors.

  • A location for children and adults to explore the arts.
  • A place for tourists and locals to explore Reno’s unique and exciting (sometimes sordid!) history.
  • A permanent home for Arts for All Nevada, formerly Very Special Arts Nevada, for administrative offices, a fine art gallery, and program space inside and out.
  • A place for individuals, service organizations, and corporations to rent for their meeting or special event.
  • A resource center for Nevada’s teachers and artists to reference information on the arts, disability issues and Reno history.

July 11, 2004.  The most moving event of ARTOWN!  Moving north slowly down Virginia St.  Bruce and Barbara Goff, descendants of Jane Lake at the original site of the Lake Mansion on California Ave. and Virginia St.  After the 2004 move, the mansion was supported on wood blocks for several months until the basement was built and the mansion was rolled onto the foundation in October, 2004.  Arts for All Nevada worked diligently to raise the needed funds for the move and renovation.  The mansion was re-opened in March, 2005 less than a year after the move.  The mansion is owned and operated by Arts for All.

Author Patty Cafferata with her book Lake Mansion: Home to Reno’s Founding Families is available to purchase at the Lake Mansion. This story is told through mini biographies of the prominent owners of the Lake Mansion and describes their important roles in Reno’s history.   Learn about Ria and Jerome Marsh, Jane and Myron Lake, Tina and Carl Otto Herz, Viola and Olin Ward and Agueda and Felix Turrillas and what they contributed to the settlement of Reno, once called “Lake’s Crossing”.  The story includes descriptions of the construction and architecture of the building from 1876 to present day.  The book concludes with a description of how the Lake Mansion was saved from the wrecking ball and Arts for All Nevada’s present operation and ownership of the building.

Visit the Mansion

Arts for All Nevada opens the doors of the beautiful and historic Lake Mansion for self-guided tours on weekdays from 10 AM – 4 PM (unless closed for a meeting/event). Please call our offices for more information at 775-826-6100, ext3# or info@artsforallnevada.org.

While you are here – Visit our wonderful neighbors, just steps from the mansion!

Great Basin Community Food Co-op

Salon Lux 

Reno Fly Shop


And, all our fellow Riverwalk Merchants.

Help Maintain the Lake Mansion

Individuals, corporations, foundation, service organizations and others can “help maintain the mansion” with donations.  If you would like to be a sponsor or would like to volunteer please contact:  826-6100, ext 3# or info@artsforallnevada.org or fill out an online inquiry form.