Visit the Lake Mansion

Green trim LM ext Court St

Click on the image above for a virtual tour.

Guided tours, every Friday.  Tours start at Noon and last 20-30 minutes.

If you are with a school or community group and would like to schedule a private group tour, please call (775) 826-6100 ext. 2#

Arts for All Nevada offers either Guided or Self-guided tours, weekdays, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (unless closed for a Meeting/Event). This tour will include all seven rooms on the main floor of the historic Lake Mansion, and guests are welcome to explore the beautiful wrap-around porch, as well as our art galleries.

Built in 1877, five prominent Reno families lived here through 1971.  The mansion was originally built on the corner of California Avenue and South Virginia Street, about six blocks southeast of its current location.

In 1971, Washoe Landmark Preservation moved the Mansion to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center location, on the corner of Virginia Street and Kietzke Lane, about three miles south.  The second move, by Arts for All Nevada, was in 2004 to its present location, three miles north! Back when the house was being occupied by it’s owners, they could of been contracting a Domestic Staffing Agency as the mansion offers great architecture and would of been built for the rich. An excellent butler and chef may had complimented the mansion at the time.

Arts for All Nevada, a non-profit organization, now owns and operates the Lake Mansion.  Donations are tax deductible and very much appreciated to help maintain the Lake Mansion.

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Lake Mansion History

Historic painting of Reno in 1926 with Myron Lake, the Virginia Street Bridge over the wide Truckee River and the Lake Hotel Inn

Large painting on display in the Lake Mansion, of Myron Lake’s Hotel Inn and Truckee River wooden bridge, by artist C.B. McClellan, in 1882

Why is the Lake Mansion so important to Reno?

The Mansion is on the list of Nevada’s State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Reno was once named “Lake’s Crossing” for the toll bridge that spanned the Truckee River. This bridge would have been very close to the present day Virginia Street bridge.

Myron Lake would charge a toll to cross the bridge.  He and Jane Lake owned the Lake Mansion, considered to be “Reno’s First Address”.  The featured original oil painting to the left, by artist C.B. McClellan (1882), is on display in the Lake Mansion’s dining room.   Postcards of this painting are available for visitors.

The Lake Mansion’s different locations

Black and white photo of the exterior of the Lake Mansion with Lake family (Jane and children) in the foreground.

Black and white photo of the exterior of the Lake Mansion with Lake family (Jane and children) in the foreground.

The Lake Mansion has had three addresses! The structure has been moved twice. The original location was “Reno’s first address”, on the corner of California Avenue and Virginia Street.

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 Street and Kietzke Lane. This was on the grounds of the now Reno-Sparks Convention Center, previously called “The Coliseum”.

The Mansion moved again on July 11, 2004. The distance was 3.1 miles north to its present location on the corners of Court Street, Flint Street and Arlington Avenue. It was said to be the “most moving” event of ARTOWN!  The Mansion was mounted to a large truck-bed, slowly headed north down Virginia Street.  Descendants of Jane Lake, Bruce and Barbara Goff,  were present during both moves.

After the 2004 move, the Mansion was supported on wooden stilts for three months while a basement was constructed. The Mansion was rolled onto the foundation/basement 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 Nevada.

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “old friends are worth keeping”.  Arts for All Nevada and the entire community thank donors to the mansion, dedicated volunteers, and craftspeople.  The Mansion has been saved and now maintained for future generations to enjoy.

About the ArchitectureCurrent photo ofthe Lake Mansion's front entrance

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 said:

“… 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.”

Arts for All Nevada, here in the Lake Mansion, offers this:

  • 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.

lake-mansion-book-coverCurious to learn more? 

Lake Mansion: Home to Reno’s Founding Families, written by Author Patty Cafferata, is available for 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.


Click here for a larger photo of map.

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

Efforts to Maintain the Lake Mansion

Individuals, corporations, foundations, service organizations and others can help maintain the mansion with donations of funds or time.  If you would like to be a sponsor contact info@artsforallnevada.org or would like to volunteer, fill out an online inquiry form