A reprint story of the old Manogue Bell

Church bell

I am occasionally, ranging more often to frequently, humbled by the research that some of you Homefinders are capable of, in response to some of the questions posed here on page 8. Most recently came a query from a reader, “…what is the history of the mission bell on the old Manogue High School campus?” I followed in a later column with the clarification that I was referring to the original Manogue campus near East McCarran by the Truckee River, not the more-recently vacated (and now razed) campus on Valley Road. It takes a village to document the heritage of that village, and now we have an answer.

Enter now Terri Thompson, known about Sparks High as Teresa Tuffo when she graduated from there in 1964. She sent a couple of wonderfully researched and documented e-mails about the old bell, and this morning I’m using them substantially verbatim as they’re hard to improve upon, with a few additions in [brackets]. Take it away, Terri:
“When the Bishop Manogue High School campus moved from Boynton Lane to the Valley Road location in 1957, the Boynton property became the monastery for the Brothers of the Holy Rosary. Renovation of the property included the addition of the bell tower, the pillars at the entrance with the red brick crosses, and a new chapel. The work was undertaken between 1958 and 1960.
“My father, Mel Tuffo, was a tile setter and brick layer by profession. He built the structures for the Brothers and also constructed a swimming pool for them. My younger brother, Mark, remembers when a crane lifted the bell into place after which our dad completed the bell tower’s roof. My mother, now 85, thought that the bell came from a rural Nevada church, possibly from Yerington.
“I spoke with Brother Philip of the Brothers of the Holy Rosary who recalls that the bell tower and chapel were on the site when he came to Reno in 1961. He said Father (later Monsignor) Anderson was in charge of the renovations. He confirmed that the bell came from Church of the Holy Family in Yerington, and it may be that the bell originally came from the church in Gold Hill. When that church was destroyed – by fire? – or dismantled, the bell was moved to the church in Yerington [built in 1901, in service through 1932].
“The bell was likely removed from the bell tower at Holy Family in Yerington when the church was enlarged and the new design would not allow for the bell to be reinstalled. Father Paul thought that the bell had originally been set into a structure at ground level. No one seems to recall why the bell was given to the Brothers.
“Brother Matthew said that the granddaughter of the original ranchers on the old Manogue property, Oakland school teacher Veronica Dickie, donated the funds to erect the bell tower as a memorial to her grandparents (the Alts). Brother Matthew has the original brass memorial plaque which was removed when the Brothers moved their monastery. The Alts sold the ranch to Charles Mapes’ parents who later sold to the Flicks. The Flicks sold the property to the Diocese to be used as a Catholic high school, and Manogue opened in September, 1947. The old ranch house was renovated to provide classrooms and a new gymnasium was built.
“Coincidentally, my husband and I were married at St. John Vianney Church, the chapel at Manogue, in 1966. We never connected the history of the bell coming from Yerington and of my dad building the bell tower until I started researching information in response to your article. Our family has always been proud of our father’s ability as a brick layer and tile setter.
“Father Paul is sending me a copy of ‘Journal of 100 years of the Church in Yerington & Smith Valley’ written in 1986 by the late Holy Family parishioner Ione Minister, which may have information on the history of the bell. If the journal includes information that the bell indeed came from Gold Hill, I will e-mail you.”
Many thanks, Terri, for a wonderful story of the Manogue High – or as we’ve now learned – the Brothers of the Holy Rosary, bell. As more information about the Gold Hill connection arrives, we’ll update it here. And, as a good researcher always does, Terri gave liberal attribution to her sources, Brother Matthew Cunningham, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Reno; to Father Paul McCollum of the Holy Family Church in Yerington (he from a Sparks family), and to Brother Philip of the Brothers of the Holy Rosary.
And that’s the way research is done. Have a good week, and God bless America.
Feb. 9, 2005

© rgj/breckenridge

The Beret

Karl Breckenridge is taking the holiday weekend off. This piece appeared in the 1931 Reno High School yearbook, the ReWaNe (REno/WAshoe/NEvada). No attribution given to the student author, who might have penned it on a solitary night at the Santa Fe Hotel. Some reader might claim it as their work – they’d be close to 90 years old now. Karl thought you might enjoy it:
“Introduced into this country about five years ago, the beret has become the sensation of the hour and the inveterate choice of the hoi polloi. Tennis players have affected berets ever since Jean Boratra, better known as the “Bounding Basque,” made such an outstanding success with his pancake-shaped top-piece. Golfers took it up close on the heels of the tennis fans. And nine-nine and forty-four hundredths per cent of the miniature golfers – or should I say tiddely-winks experts – have adopted the beret as their badge.
“There is something uplifting and comforting about the fit of a felt beret on the old cranium. No matter how old or how battered it is, you feel qualified to strut with the best of the crowd when you wear it. It gives an inexplicable feeling of confidence and self-esteem, which is puzzling, since there are so many other numbskulls wearing “critters” who must be in about the same mental frame.
“A beret is one of the least distinguished pieces of head-gear ever created. Designed originally for sports, it goes to school, to five o’clock tea, to prize fights, to dances, to weddings and funerals, and even to church. Every stenographer boasts of a half-dozen in her wardrobe; the screen stars have a beret for e very costume – everyone from the gray-haired dowager to the year-old tot sports one.
“There are as many ways of wearing a beret as there are of tying knots n a piece of string. Straight up from the eyebrows, it resembles a French chef’s cap, from which it may have been derived. Placed squarely on a mop of shoulder-length hair, it brings visions of the inverted-bowl and pruning shears haircut popular in our youth, before we were old enough to object. Placed on the back of the head with hair bushing out at front and sides, a clever impersonation of an Airedale dog is achieved. Worn forward over one or both eyes, it gives that natty, natural aspect, ad infinitum.
“As to there being anything sissyish in a man’s wearing a beret, we would advise you to say nothing about it if you think so. People have been run out of town for less, and besides, we know a football player who wears one.
“The beret is ideal for yachting and speeding in a roadster. It sticks like a leech in the teeth of the strongest gale. It is the mainstay of the rumble seat rider as well as his protection from the elements. There doubtless would be many more bald pates in this country if the beret had not happened along, just in time to offset the evil effects of hatless rumble seat riding. In B. B. (Before Berets), if a man rode hatless in a rumble seat he was certain of losing at least half his hair combing knows out of it afterwards. Now he doesn’t even lose his dandruff.
“White berets are considered conspicuous until they have acquired a generous coat of grime. From then on, the object seems to be to get an agent-in-the-dirt effect punctuated by swipes of lipstick and chocolate, with an occasional gleaming white place in a fold. Other colors, particularly tans, are considered bourgeois. Trying to age a tan beret is like trying to sunburn an Australian bushman.
“Only initiates wash berets; the dirtier they are, the better they feel. Seasoned veteran say that to wash a beret is net to the sin of washing a sweatshirt, which, according to old theater tradition, brings bad luck to the wearer.”

2001 copyright by somebody, God knows who…

An ol’ buddy’s memories of the NCO’s Reno depot

WP2One of the joys of writing a column in the Gazoo is the mail we get, some extremely well-written like letters from Jean Myles and John Metzker, which are well-worth putting out for all to see. This is one such, from an old friend Des(mond) Powers, who grew up in Reno and now resides in San Rafael, a practicing CPA. I received this over the weekend, and it brought back a lot of memories, for me and maybe you all. Enjoy, and thanks, Des!

Karl, I just finished reading your column on the former NCO (and WP) depot on Fourth Street. It is great to see that the building has been renovated. The restaurant, distillery and brewery in the building are bringing new life to that part of Fourth Street. Included in the history of the depot, which you may know, during its days as Western Pacific’s Reno terminal where it connected with the SP, each weekday, for many, many, years, the WP ran the Reno Local from Portola to Reno in the morning with the return to Portola each late afternoon. The Reno Local left the WP main at Reno Junction, just down from Beckwourth Pass, in Long Valley, which was (is) the WP’s summit over the Sierra. Beckwourth is about 2,000 feet lower than Donner Pass. I know there is a reason why the builders of the Transcontinental Railroad did not route the line over the lower elevation at Beckwourth, but I don’t recall why. Most likely politics, and money “issues,” but I can’t remember. Reno Junction is not far from Hallelujah Junction where, as you know, CA 70 connects with 395.

Remember that old air strip at Hallelujah, [Nervino – still active!] right next to the bar and gas station? When the Union Pacific bought the WP in 1983 the Reno Local continued to run each day, and occasionally ran two sections a day. After the UP purchased the SP in 1996, the Reno Local’s demise was inevitable and the early morning crew-calls in Portola eventually ended. Occasionally, when a slide in the Feather River Canyon closed the Western Pacific’s line for a few days, the westbound California Zephyr would be re-routed from the WP main at Reno Junction and run over the former NCO to downtown Reno where it would connect with the SP main and head west over Donner. In my recollection, that happened at least a couple of times in the mid- to late 1960s. The Feather River Canyon has always been notorious for slides.

As you recall, the WP was allowed to end operation of the California Zephyr in March 1970. I was born in Oroville and our family moved to Reno in early 1962. I rode the Zephyr several times between Portola and Oroville between the early 1960s and March 1970. I still miss the Silver Lady. I have great memories of riding that train through the Feather River Canyon westbound and eastbound. I went to Manogue (the second campus at the top of Valley Road) and would, whenever I could, watch the Reno Local go by on its way downtown in the morning and return in the evening. I am a rail fan and every chance I got I would get alongside the tracks and watch it roll by. Right next to Manogue was a de-railer switch. Each day, before switching at the Montgomery Ward’s warehouse, Albers & Deming Feed’s warehouse, and other industries along Valley Road, the train would run down to the switch and a crewman would throw it. I spoke with the train crew once in awhile and one day I asked the trainman why they threw the switch each day. He said it was to prevent a runaway car from rolling into downtown Reno. That made a lot of sense. I got a ride in the engine a couple of times. The first was when I was a freshman. The second was when I was a senior. I played football at Manogue. Each year, just after school started, Manogue would have its annual “Clean-Up Day.” This particular September 1970 Clean Up Day, early in my senior year, was a Friday and that night was our first game at Hawthorne. We football players wore our game jerseys to school the day of each Friday night game, or the day before if we played on Saturday for our home games. Manogue’s football field did not have lights.

Being good football players, and concerned about conserving our energy for the game that night, we occasionally picked up a weed or errant food wrapper and threw it into the trash can. Other than that we did not do much for Clean-Up Day. While walking along the tracks right next to school with a teammate of mine, while our non-football playing classmates worked diligently on cleaning up the campus, the WP Reno Local came down the tracks after their morning switching at the businesses north of the school campus. The train slowed to a stop while the trainman got off and threw the de-railer switch back to its “normal” position and the train was ready to roll to downtown Reno. We talked with the engineer as he waited for the switch to be thrown. Just as the train began to inch forward he said to my teammate and me, “Hey, are you guys going downtown?” I took that as an invitation for a ride and said to my friend, “Come on!!” We jumped up on the step of the engine and hurried into the cab so no one would see us, although my friend did see a teammate of ours and waved to him. It was a nice ride downtown to the WP (former NCO) Depot and it was neat talking to the engineer and the brakeman in the cab. Well, all good things come to an end and we had to walk back to Manogue. We walked up the tracks to campus, with our away football jerseys on, and when we got back Clean-Up Day was still in full stride. We resumed our occasional participation in Clean-Up Day by picking up a few more twigs, small weeds and food wrappers and put them in the trash can. Nothing was ever said to us by anyone in authority, so we concluded that we “got away” with our little adventure.

That night, by the way, we beat Hawthorne 46 – 0. Chris Ault was our head coach. We went on to an undefeated and, in those days, untied season and were AA State Football Champions. It was good to save our energy and just pick up a few twigs and food wrappers on Clean-Up Day. The results of our season certainly provide an indication of the benefits of conserving our energy on Bishop Manogue’s 1970 Clean-Up Day!

As always, I really enjoy your columns. Thanks. Des Powers