Leave the driving to us

Bishop Manogue Bus

Leave the driving to us
A fortnight ago in a treatise about Stead AFB I noted that “…there was only one high school in Reno until 1961” and proceeded to recall that all the high school students in town could fit into two 66-passenger school buses.
The remark endeared me to many a Manogue High School graduate, who called en masse to remind me that there was indeed a second high school in Reno in 1961 – their alma mater, then as now on a site just east of the University of Nevada campus. The thrust of what I was writing was that Reno High was the only school in Reno with a bus program. But, when life hands you a lemon, a writer makes lemonade: In talking with one of the Manogue alums who was kidding me about my gaffe, Nancy Howell Spina, the topic of school buses inadvertently arose.
Starting closer to the beginning, a word about Manogue, formally Bishop Manogue High School. The school’s name came from Bishop Patrick Manogue, who contributed to the education of miners’ children during the Comstock gold rush and was later the first bishop of the Sacramento Catholic diocese. The school opened in 1947, in a couple of old barracks in a beautiful meadow at the old Flick ranch by the Truckee River near the present southeast McCarran Boulevard (it’s now utilized by Sage Winds school). Within a decade it had grown and was relocated to its present campus in 1957. I should say parenthetically that the present site will become part of the University campus when Manogue’s new campus is completed south of town by Zolezzi Lane. (Arrowcreek Drive, to the newcomers.)
Nancy told me that a bus made the loop around Reno picking up Manogue students to transport to the school’s original location, which back then you had to pack a lantern and a lunch to drive to. “A bus, you say?” I asked. “A bus,” she replied. There I was prepared to get myself off a hook by saying that Manogue never had a school bus system and get myself into yet-another jam. But you read it here first: Bishop Manogue High School indeed had a school bus system, in the 1940s. There were two high schools in Reno in 1960. Finally, we wish Manogue’s leadership well in completing their new campus. [and they did]
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On the topic of schools, Reno High School Alumni Club honcho Joe Granata tells of a bit of school apparatus that has been around longer that it might appear. There’s a strong probability that the flagpole at Wooster High, which spoiled Reno High’s place as the only PUBLIC! High school in Reno when it opened in 1961, was the same pole that was originally installed in the front courtyard of the Reno High School on Fifth and West Streets in 1913. (I almost wrote “the original high school”, which it wasn’t.) Take a look at the flagpole next time you’re traveling down East Plumb Lane past Wooster – that baby’s been around for a long time.
Now, I’ll solicit some reader help, maybe from Dale Sanderson, Washoe County School District’s great facilities manager: I think, but have never been able to prove, that the scoreboard that originally clocked basketball games in the old Reno High (later serving as Central Junior High) gymnasium, was later relocated to Vaughn Middle School on Vassar Street near Kietzke. It’s a classic scoreboard/timer with a revolving hand, not the contemporary 00:00 electric numerals – the words I’m groping for might be analog and digital. Last I saw it it was hanging unused in the Vaughn gym, alongside a modern digital scoreboard. It might be nice – if it is indeed the old Reno High gym clock – to relocate it to the Reno High Alum Center on Booth Street someday, or at the least be aware of its heritage and not trash it as pre-WWII junk.
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We’ve had a little fun closing columns with the Ralston Food Company’s “Safe-Day” readerboard count, watching the number of injury-free days grow to make a safe full year look like a good possibility. Recently I left the day-count off the end of a column, for no apparent reason. On that weekend I got a healthy dose of email and calls, wondering if the chain had been broken by an injury. No, they’re going to make it a full year.
Several of those callers wondered about the name. As it happened I had received an email from Ralston exec George Smith shortly after I had erroneously referred to it as Ralston Purina this summer. Turns out that Ralston Purina became Ralston Foods in a corporate buyout in the early 1990s, and shifted their production to packaging cereals.
Many of us recall the plant when it was built 20-plus years ago, far and away the largest significant structure, seemingly all by itself miles east of industrial Sparks. The Purina Checkerboard – now redesigned – was a standard reference for Reno airport control tower operators, telling pilots arriving from the east to report in when “over the Checkerboard.”
Ralston Foods is a good neighbor. Check the Safe-Day readerboard on the guard shack when you’re driving out East Greg Street. Early next year you’ll see a big 3-6-5 and George will be out in front handing out miniature boxes of corn flakes in celebration. We wish him and all the Ralston employees a safe holiday!
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Real estate editor Tom McGuire thinks that my mother’s origami shop folded because she failed to keep a good paper trail. And in response to many readers’ queries: There were both a Waldorf and a Little Waldorf on Virginia Street, different places, different sides of the street – their locations are both correct in the “Walking Virginia Street” columns.
We have seventeen more shopping days to buy a new home for Christmas, 329 Safe-Days at you-know-where, and, God Bless America.

© RGJ 2006

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