Reed and Sparks High Class of 1976 + ’77,’78 and ’79 Reunion – save the date: Friday, July 29

raidersI’ve been called a cheerleader for Reno High School, been reminded that there’s other schools in the valley, and been criticized for not including them in columns. To allay that accusation, I’m glad to post this letter that I received today from Debbie Rossi. I’m glad to post it on this website for all to enjoy! Lightly edited, Debbie writes (beautifully, I might add!):
Edward C Reed High School opened in 1974 – at Sparks High School. In the summer of 1975, before school began, the parents and students of Sparks High and the yet-to-be opened Reed High were sent letters explaining that Edward C. Reed High School – the building – was not complete and would not be able to house students until later in the fall. So the solution was to house both schools at Sparks High School.  Sparks High’s schedule for all the students, administration and teachers was seven-ish in the morning until noon and for Reed High students, administration and teachers, 1:00 p.m. ending at 5 p.m. 
Since a majority of the new Reed students were rezoned from Sparks High (we also metreedalum new friends from Wooster – the Hidden Valley area, and from Hug High – the North Sparks area) we were very familiar with the school. Both Sparks and Reed doubled up in lockers. We decorated in separate halls for big events and did our best to respect our unique situation. 
We chose our team name, school colors and elected our first-ever school officers – all within the walls of Sparks High School. In addition to students moving schools, many of the teachers, administrators and staff moving to Reed were from Sparks, Hug and Wooster High Schools.
On the first day of the second semester – the opening day at Reed – we drove or walked, for what seemed like miles, down Baring Boulevard.  The school was built down a long, wide street. There were no homes, no stores, nothing between McCarran Boulevard and the school. Reed was designed quite differently from the other high schools, with really wide hallways and bright colors.  We were overwhelmed those first few days and weeks. Fortunately, we began our first day at the new school with the friends we had already made while we were at our temporary home.
That year was 1974. We were Juniors. We were the top class as Juniors and Seniors. When we were freshmen, we were the first Freshman class to be moved up from Jr High  to High School- rather than the traditional three-year. Jr High School. That is the year Jr. Highs in Reno/Sparks became “Middle Schools.” So we were also the novelty to the upper class men. We were the first to dip our toes into that new direction in high school. So we were the novelty in high school. Actually, that first year, seniors had the option to not go to Reed and many took that option and stayed at their respective schools- Sparks, Hug and Wooster to graduate.
This year, in honor of our 40th Class Reunion – We are getting together on July 29th with the three classes behind us – the Classes of ’77, ’78 and ’79 – to celebrate with us. And on Saturday July 30th, we will join Sparks High Class of 1976, as we have always celebrated all of our reunions together and to celebrate our unique high school history, our friendships, and our 40th year of life after graduation.
Happy 41 Years to Edward C. Reed High School….from very unique beginnings to where you stand today! To all the faculty and the students of today and yesterday! A toast – and a little history to remember ….. To all of us in the first graduating class and to our friends for life – Sparks High School – Class of 1976. In our hearts the memories are a little dimmer, but it still just seems like well, last week now. 
Good words, Debbie – many thanks!
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The Lancer Restaurant and its grapes

Lancer

I no sooner post a TBT of the Lancer Restaurant on the Mt. Rose highway, than my buddy ol’ Chuk Thomas gives me the authentic recipe for the famous Lancer grapes, the highlight (or at least one highlight) of their menu.

Both images are c. 1965; the Lancer, which prior to that name was the Mesa, burned on July 30, 1971. Yeah, I know, it’s “Chuck,” but Chuk is an old nickname. Here’s the recipe, somebody lemme know how it came out!LancerGrapes

“WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL”

RHS2009 My Term Paper
“WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL”
by Carmine Ghia Sept. 1957

I am writing this under diress pressure for Mrs. Lehners’ English class so I’m supposed to use good gramar and speling but I’d rather just rite down a bunch of stuff I like about Reno High School without all the fal-de-ral and let her correct it if it’s that big a deal to her.

Miss Stern let me borrow this typewriter. Mr. Marean told us in his Physics class that someday there would be a typewriter that puts letters up on a “screen” like a television’s with a typewriter hooked to it that you didn’t even have to touch. That’s pretty hard to believe! In Mr. Daniels’ journalism class we’re learning to use a “Speed Graphic” camera, a great big thing with film on slides that slip into the back of the camera. We go across the hall to a darkroom and develop the film for the Red & Blue school paper. Then we take it down to a printer on West Fourth Street by Central Jr. High who re-types what we write on some kind of machine called a Mergenthaler then prints the newspaper. An older guy in our class named Cal Pettingil Petengill Pettengill said that someday we’d all be “alumni” of Reno High and the alumni would put out a newsletter on a “computer,” whatever that is, in about 20 minutes without the typesetter, print it and mail it out for 44¢ a copy which is about eight times what a stamp costs now. I’d like to work on the newspaper if I could learn how to type and spel and use that camera.

They’re adding a new building for auto shop and stuff along Foster Drive so they can move all the shops out of the basement under the cafeteria. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Cline are in charge of that. The cafeteria is a nice place to eat and has good cinnamon rolls. It’s a good thing we have one because there’s nothing for blocks around the school, maybe Tony’s Dellickatesen Delikatsesenn Delicatessen downtown on First Street, Ramos Drug on California Avenue or Hale’s at Fourth and Vine. That’s about it. We hear that someday they’re putting up a bridge over the Truckee from Keystone Avenue but no one can figure out how to connect it to California and Booth Streets. So they’ll probably never build it and we’ll walk over the old Booth Street bridge to Hale’s Drugs or that new place they’re building on Vine, the Silver ‘n Gold, or something like that.

I like the music teacher at Reno High, Mr. Tellaisha and his wife Ruby. They built a great pep band for basketball games and assemblies. Assemblies are fun, each class gets to put on one a year and this year we’re doing “South Pacific.” One of our teachers said that there was a lot of language and meaning in that play that Rogers and Hammerstein wouldn’t be able to write fifty years later. But we had fun and sang “Nothing like a Dame” in spite of Mr. Finch telling us to sing “…like a girl.” What does he know? There’s a play opening on Broadway called “The Music Man” that the school will get to put on in a few years with a lot of “Barbershop” singing, whatever that is. Lauren House would probably like it, he’s a pretty good base baretonne altow tenor. We had an assembly the other day with a man named Pete Echevarria, who was the first guy in charge of the new Gaming Control Board and he was really funny. The Huskiettes marched in one assembly; they won’t date dumb guys like me but go for the jocks. We’ll see what they look like in 50 years. Ha!

The school has a club called “Huskie Haven,” once an old fire station downtown on Center Street with pool and ping pong tables and stuff to read and movies, but they closed it a few years ago. Now the Huskie Haven, which we all pay a couple dollars for on our Student Activity cards each year, has dances at the California Building and the State Building downtown, and skating nights at Idlewild Park with music and a weenie roast (the fire department floods the ice during the day so it’ll be smooth by dark). They’ve held a few ski days. They get a lot of good records for music at the dances, last Friday night the new Chordettes and Buddy Holly songs. Buddy Holly flies in a little airplane called American Pie to a lot of shows, which sounds pretty dangerous to me.

Mrs. Lehners probably won’t like my sentences chopped up like this but I’ve got to get this turned in by second period next Friday. I don’t understand the “Sessions” baloney; at Mary S. Doten we just stayed in one room and at Central we had “Home Rooms,” now we have “Sessions” with numbers and the only people I get to meet are the people with names close to mine, Ghia, so all I know are people with last names beginning in F, G, or H, and the cute chicks are in other sessions. To make it sillier, we have Sessions officers, so we have a president of a group that meets 12 minutes a day.

We’re decorating the gym tomorrow for the Sophomore Dance tomorrow night, and after the Senior Ball decorating fiasco last year, the girls were told to bring their dungarees and their father’s Oxferd Oxford shirts if they wanted to change after school to work in the gym. The Senior girls came to school in their dungarees and ratty shirts and were sent home before school to get into skirts or dresses. Mr. Finch said this is a school, and no student from Reno High is going to be seen in dungarees with torn-out knees, belly buttons and straps showing under sleeveless blouses, short tight skirts, red-and-blue hair, nose rings, tattoos, and boys with “Bite Me” on their t-shirts. When we walk across to the new Village Shopping Center being built across Foster Drive, we’re going to look GOOD!

That’s some of what I like about Reno High, and the ribbon in Miss Stern’s typewriter has almost run out. If this were 50 years later I could write, “send me an ‘e-mail’ with your favorite things about Reno High, and if we have an “alumni” newsletter going by then – maybe we’ll call it the Huskies Trails – something like that, kind of catchy, you could put your favorite memories in the newsletter along with mine.

But heck, who knows now what an “e-mail” is in 1957?

© Karl Breckenridge website 2001

FRED SANFORD REMEMBERS BAKER’S STABLES AND OLD SOUTHWEST RENO

xxxxxTHIS ARRIVED EARLIER TODAY, TOO GOOD NOT TO POST! NOTHING CHANGED OR EDITED, THANKS FRED!

Hello Karl,

I enjoy reading your Sunday Column in the Reno Gazette-Journal. I came to Reno, when I was 13 years old. I graduated from Reno High School, class of 1961. So, I am one of the old guys. Your article that appeared this Sunday really brought back memories of old Reno. My step-dad built a house at 300 W. Peckham Lane back in the 1950’s. He later built and subcontracted another house at 325 W. Peckham Lane. He was ahead of his time at that time we were on well water. He ran pipes through the floor of both house connected to a geothermal well.

Your article last Sunday, June 14th on Rodeo reminiscence: Nevada White Hats brought back memories in reference to Baker Lake and the Baker Ranch. A couple of friends and I use to build rafts and float down the ditch along Baker Lane in Baker Lake. I remember someone had built a tree house in the branches of a lone large tree in the lake. I remember back then that across Moana Lane from Baker Lane there was a marsh small lake area, we use to call it Berrum Lake back then. We would float our rafts there also. This area was above the old Isbell Construction site, where a group of apartments now stand on South Virginia directly across from Grove Street.

We used to go horseback riding at Baker’s Stables. One of my friends use to work there during the summer. A friend of ours owned a horse that was stabled there. We use to ride down Peckham Lane which was a dirt road back then and head west across Lakeside and continue on a bridle path up to Horseman’s Park and then head up the mountains to Hunter Creek and up to Hunter Lake. It was a good ride up and back in a day. We use to take our fishing gear with us and fish in Hunter Lake. If it was early summer, we use to catch small brookie trout on dough balls. They were pan size just right for cleaning and eating.

I look forward to your columns about a lot of the things I remember about our area. Please keep up the good work Karl.

Another Old Guy,

Fred Sanford

Some shots by Cal Pettengill taken June 14 of the Virginia Street Bridge demolition progress. Note photo #2 demonstrates vividly how much of that bridge was earth within the shell of concrete!

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Here’s some shots that Cal Pettengill took with his Brownie Hawkeye earlier this Flag Day. One is of the drained pond at Idlewild; the others are of the progress of the removal of the Virginia Street Bridge. That pond in Idlewild was Reno’s first municipal swimming hole!

Thanks, Cal! The torture continues at AT&T Park – After Brandon Crawford made two errors on one play I decided the time to post had arrived. White Hats stuff is in the mill. Don’t ask me what the “Sierra Street exit” is, must be a GPS thing

The Alice McManus Clark Library at the University

ClarkOnce upon a time I wrote of Reno’s Chism family, including that Miriam Chism’s dad was Walter E. Clark, who was president of the University of Nevada from 1917 to 1937. So far, so good.
The column created some confusion, with readers connecting the one-time Clark Library, now the Clark Administration Building on the University campus, to President Clark’s memory. Herein we’ll now straighten the record out:

The Clark Administration Building is named for Nevada native Alice McManus Clark, the wife of William A. Clark Jr. Clark’s father was a Montana senator, railroad financier, and namesake of our state’s Clark County (Las Vegas). William Clark Jr. donated the structure in memory of his wife; the building was designed by Los Angeles architect Robert D. Farquhar, and it was dedicated in October 1927. It housed the campus library from 1927 until 1962, when it was replaced by the Nobel Getchell Library and renamed the Clark Administration Building.

In 1962, the entire University of Nevada student body, all two thousand of us strong performed a bucket brigade of books, out the front door of the Alice McManus Clark Library and north along the main drive to the newly-dedicated Getchell Library. Truly a social occasion not without some hi-jinks, but a productive one indeed. There’s been talk of replacing the Getchell, as being rendered obsolete by the cyber-age [2015 edit: It’s been replaced, and the structure has been demolished].

‘Twill be a bittersweet afternoon when the Getchell’s intellectual resources are moved to their new home, wherever it may be and whatever it will be named, in one pickup-loadfull of beefy computers. [They’ve been moved, to the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center – what a name for a library – can you imagine the Music Man singing to Marian the director of the knowledge center? – loses something – back to the text:] Doesn’t sound like a big deal to celebrate at the Lil’ Wal when the job’s done, as it was 43 years ago. [53, as you read this in 2015]

And that, my friends, is the connection with Walter Clark and the University – Walter Clark was president but had no structure that I know of named for him. William Clark (the given names both starting with “W” to add to the confusion!) had the first library (and the county) named after his dad. Sounds like a dude with a little political horsepower; they broke up Lincoln County to designate its southern portion as Clark County.

Footnote: I’ve been asked why I vacillate on the UNR vs. University of Nevada usage. Two reasons: One, I’m a Libra and therefore intransigent by nature; secondly, I write the term appropriate for the time of the topic, e.g. the 1927 University of Nevada building dedication is University of Nevada; if something happened after 1966 it’s UNR. That’s a battle I’m losing, as our alma mater is pretty consistently UNR now, regardless of the year in context. But never University of Nevada comma Reno. Never.

And there you have it, Craig Morrison, who accused me of dogging it for letting a post stand for two weeks without replacing it. It won’t happen again…! (Baloney…)

© sort of, Reno Gazette-Journal, May 2005
photo credit: UNR

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Bill & Effie’s: Take a good last look at Garson Road

BillIf you like the new moniker of “Arrowcreek” that replaced our favored old Zolezzi Lane intersection on South Virginia Street, or if you’re comfortable with renaming “Del Monte Lane” to “Neil Road” to keep it from getting tangled up with the Damonte Ranch off-ramp on the I-580 freeway, then you’re going to love what you’re about to read this morning. (I should say that the Damontes are legends in our valley and that Neil Brooks from Model Dairy is a great friend and an old column reader – the squawk herein is not for those people but of renaming streets whose names were part of our landscape for many years, all to accommodate progress.)
Out a few miles west of town there once was a little roadhouse called Bill & Effie’s – good food, some lodging, diesel fuel – and a beacon for every over-the-road trucker on Highway 40. To access it you turned off the old 40, and later off the new Interstate 80, on Garson Road.
While many thought that Bill and Effie’s last name was Garson, the fact was that the road, later an off-ramp, took its name from Chris and Ruth Garson, two Danes who had ranched the area for many years. Bill & Effie’s would one day become Boomtown in what was originally a modest change-of-name and ownership. As we know, Boomtown grew, and grew into its present size. But the Garson Road designation, happily, remained.
About 15 years ago a name-change request went before the Washoe County Commission, requesting that the off-ramp be designated “Boomtown Road”. The Garson family, who had earlier donated land to NDOT to enhance the road system, appeared at the meeting and a deal was struck to rename the cloverleaf as “Boomtown/Garson Road,” and that bit of our local heritage was able to live on.
But times change. Dirt is being moved on a grand scale on the old Garson Ranch at the boundaries of mighty Boomtown. Soon stuffed critters will climb the slopes of a mock mountainside inside a huge building, a sporting goods and clothing outlet that’s a-buildin’ next to Boomtown. They sell good stuff; I buy it liberally off the web but will do so less often when the store opens, because then I will have to pay Nevada sales tax on their clothes. So then, I’ll probably drive there and shop right at their new retail store to save the shipping charge.
It’s just a short trip from my lonely writer’s den, out Mayberry a hoot-and-a-holler, onto the freeway, then off again quickly at the Cabela’s Road off-ramp.
I’ll miss the old Garson Road – now scheduled to go away – a portent for us all that we were home from a trip to the Bay Area. But, if we’re going to grow as a community, we absolutely have to put some of these rural traditions aside.
This column was founded 18 years ago upon street names and the way we all hammer them up sometimes. One such that I never thought about until I received an e-mail from a newer resident a couple of weeks ago: “I keep seeing a Cashill Drive; isn’t our mayor’s name Cashell?” Bob Cashell is indeed our mayor, probably one of the most popular public officers Reno’s ever known, while attorney and state legislator Bill Cashill, who died, too young many years ago, was an equally popular guy in his time. And I’ll bet there’ll be a Cashell Boulevard someday; the two similar names driving motorists, UPS drivers and firemen nuts.
I typoed iconic schoolteacher Virginia Palmer out of five years in the classroom two weeks ago; she retired from Mount Rose School in 1977, not in 1972 as you read here.
And if the paper had left “Reno’s Finest” capitalized as I wrote it in the Babcock Building yarn, it would have made a lot more sense. An old nickname for any town’s cops is its “Finest,” and, well, I’m showing my age. Have a good week anyway, and God bless America.

© RGJ May 2007 ~ Photo credit KTVN

A reprint story of the old Manogue Bell

Church bell
OLD FRIEND TERRI (TUFFO) THOMPSON POSTED THIS ON A FACEBOOK SITE THAT I DON’T BELONG TO SO I’M ADDING IT HERE TO MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE ACCESSIBLE. THE THRUST IS TO BRING THE OLD FLICK RANCH INTO THE HIGH BEAM IN THE HOPES OF SAVING IT. I WROTE THIS IN 2006 AND AM RUNNING IT UNALTERED:

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

Mike Ingersoll lives on at the U of N

NevadaStateMuseumA while back I lamented the impending departure of a couple of University of Nevada campus names that became hallowed to students and alums in the last 40 years – the Getchell Library and the Jot Travis Student Union – both buildings being replaced by newer facilities with newer names.

Comes now our college contemporary and later the popular long-time principal of Reed High School Tim Griffin, who reminds us that another revered facility name is on the endangered species list, the Mike Ingersoll Associated Students of the University of Nevada Senate Room within the doomed Jot. I could write now that Mike – (“Foot,” he was known as) – was the consummate BMOC but that dated 1960s mnemonic would probably be lost on 61.3 per cent of our Saturday morning readers. A Big Man on Campus, Foot was; his effusive presence and great sense of humor transcended graduating class and fraternity and sorority lines (he was an Alpha Tau Omega), and he was elected ASUN president in 1965. I remember him best for organizing a campus-wide blood donor drive for Vietnam casualties, with nary a warm-blooded mammal setting boot or paw north of Ninth Street and east of North Virginia Street spared – probably the most successful such drive ever carried out in Reno.

And Foot gave the first unit…

Mike would die in a skydiving accident before he graduated with his 1966 class (Sigma Nu Bill Chaffin took over for the remainder of that year.) A campaign grew to a huge groundswell gaining campus-wide support from all – students and faculty alike – and the room in the Jot devoted to ASUN business was named in his memory.

Regrettably but inevitably, 40 years later Mike’s name over the ASUN Senate Room’s doors means little to the current students, indeed just as the name “Jot Travis” itself is vague to many, but be assured that there remains a large cadre of us Homefinder alums still out here that recall Mike’s name fondly, and implore those on the Hill who make such facility-naming decisions to keep the memory of a guy from our era alive in the new student union facility.

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Our Nevada State Museum in Carson City (pictured above) is doing a cool thing: As within most museums space is available to display only a fraction of the artifacts and mementoes that they house. Our museum has started a “Behind-the-Scenes” display, periodically delving in the darker reaches of the storage rooms and bringing assets up to the light of day – watch for news of these special displays being carried in this paper – it’s worth a trip south, especially on the new freeway extension.

            One motivation to include all this on page 10 is to remind newer readers and residents that the grand old museum saw its first use as a federal mint, placed near the Nevada source of silver and gold and opening in 1870. It closed in 1893, and if you’ve got an 1893CC Morgan cartwheel or Double Eagle gold piece in the ol’ jewelry box, it’d look mighty fine in a belt buckle.

            And to give credit where due, the Silver State is grateful to Max and Sarah Fleischmann, they of the yeast fortune, who shortly after their arrival to Nevada to set up residency here in the 1930s endowed the museum, then somewhat floundering, with a grant necessary to convert the building from a mint to a museum – and continued the endowment for two more decades for construction and artifact acquisition.

            As kids a trip to Carson City and the museum was a slam-dunk requisite of our education (just as was singing “Home Means Nevada” every Friday morning in school!) and the descent down into the mock “mineshaft” beneath the museum was a memory we carry with us for a lifetime.

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In last week’s raw text I spelled a reference to the Spreckels family right but my spell-checker recognizes “spreckles” as a word, whatever a spreckle is, and kindly converted it to thus for me automatically. I alone take the rap for letting Spreckle get loose. On the bright side, I did get it right a long time ago in connection with the Spreckels family endowing San Francisco’s Palace of the Legion of Honor. So I’m batting .500 on Spreckels, Sugar.

            Milestones: We say goodbye later this morning to Jim Puryear. “Bud” had at least two firsts in his lengthy tenure with the Washoe County School District: He was our P.E. coach in his first year with the district in 1951 in Central Junior High’s first year of existence, and later was the inaugural principal of Jessie Beck Elementary School when it opened in 1958. I’ve scribed his name several times in this column as a great candidate for a school name, but thus far with no success (yet!). Jim was a hell of a guy, a good friend to us all, student-through-adulthood.

            And, we said hello last Friday night to Julia Michelle Breckenridge, born to Brent and Laura Breckenridge in San Mateo. She’s already interning to take over Gramp’s page 10 in 2038, that year coinciding with real estate editor Bob Brundage’s retirement from the Gazoo.

                I’m advised by George Smith, the Guru-of-Grain at Ralston Foods on East Greg Street whose Accident-free day count we’ve long been including in this column, that the plant two weeks ago reached 5 accident-free years, with a whopping 1,769,000 hours worked with no one getting sliced, diced, crushed, boiled or stuffed into a boxcar. Ralston treated the whole staff to dinner at Famous Murphy’s, and no, Rice Chex and corn flakes weren’t on the menu. Nor were Spreckles. Nicely done, all 150 of you Ralston Folks!

            Have a good week; be as safe as the Ralston folks, write a U of N regent near you about keeping Foot’s room-name alive, and God bless America.

 

 

Open-mall shopping, when consumers were tough

ParkLaneThere was a holiday season years ago when old local shopping habits started to fray at the edges – a new concept of merchandising opened south of town with a pretty good selection of stuff to choose from, and 3,000 parking spaces (parking downtown had started to become an issue in the mid-1960s.) Mighty Sears, by then no longer Roebuck, pioneered the migration from their location on Sierra Street to a new place called Park Lane in September of 1965; within two years the center would fill its 580,000 square feet of space – more total retail space than existed downtown.

               Many established friends from downtown Reno joined Sears, like Sonny and Randy Burke and Kenny York at Mt. Rose Sporting Goods and Betty Mirabelli’s Record Room (round black things that played music) when the main mall started opening in February of 1967. F.W. Woolworth’s opened a major store, larger than their downtown outlet (which would remain in operation for many years to follow.) Two major stores with a Nevada presence opened in 1967; Joseph Magnin, from North Virginia Street, and Roos Atkins (yikes, do I need to write men’s store for the younger readers? I guess I’d better…) Most thought Roos Atkins was established in San Francisco and new to Reno; in truth, its predecessor Roos Brothers opened in the Comstock in 1871 so they’d been around for a while.

               Established Reno powerhouse Durkee Travel migrated from their office across from the Holiday, whoops, Siena Hotel, and from West Second Street came Schilling’s Leather, think luggage and wallets. We had the World of Toys, and a Hallmark Store, for those who cared to send the very best; a hot ticket was Frederick’s of Hollywood – lacy stuff banned in Boston in 1967 but seen around every high school today during lunch hours. I can’t ignore Park Lane Florist where my RHS classmate Craig Morrison petaled flowers, and from Gray Reid’s downtown came the Bird Cage restaurant, later to be renamed the Gazebo. Two other classmates, one George Cross, rode the then-current hippie craze with his popular Sneed Hearn Ltd. tie-dye shop, and the other, Dale Prevost owned the leather shop – clothing.

               Owners Pik and Letty Southworth of Southworth’s Tobacco, the legendary store across from Harolds opened their gift-and-event ticket store Pik & Letty’s – the popular slogan attributed to, but never acknowledged by them was “Jesus is Coming, tickets at Pik & Letty’s” and if you read that here that I’ll be amazed. [The Gazoo printed it. I was amazed.]Weinstocks three-story department store would open a few months later. First National Bank originally opened in the main mall; four years later the present stand-alone Wells Fargo branch opened on East Plumb and Locust.  

               Hungry? Or thirsty? Stop by Eddie May’s Prime Rib on the west side of the mall, which several years later would become Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus, an excellent chain restaurant out of Washington state. Many remember their booths, created by heavily dark-tinted suspended acrylic panels that inadvertently created a mirrored maze. They lasted a few months ‘til the fire department pointed out that in the event of an emergency the diners would all be medium-well before they could find a doorway out. Eve Lynn’s Strolling Fashions held forth at lunchtime, and Duke’s Wild Goose lounge (a John Wayne theme, pilgrim) was a popular late-evening hangout long after the mall had closed.

               The mall was enclosed on four sides, but open to the sky – a wondrous sight under the perennial extensive holiday décor, new-fallen snow crushing beneath your boots, with John Tellaisha’s Reno High School choir or voices from any number of local churches singing carols this time of year. Swinging the Salvation Army bell were local Lions Club members that we all knew, often transportation and tourism exec Vic Charles wearing a gray Santa beard. (That was 35 years ago; Vic’s now grown a Santa beard of his own.) Park Lane was a beautiful sight at Christmas, and a great place to shop and meet old friends.

               The original developers were pooh-poohed by some locals, “What do a car dealer, a couple of doctors, a banker, a rancher, and an investor know about running a shopping center?” Apparently, quite a bit – Park Lane was vastly successful from its inception, setting the standard for local mall shopping. Architect Ralph Casazza built Shopper’s Square across Plumb Lane in about the same time frame – also deservedly successful – and the geographic sum for the local consumers was greater than the parts. In January of 1978, the year by the way that Meadowood Mall was built, Park Lane was sold to Macerich, a giant retail center developer.   Their motto, according to a RGJ article, was “We make good things happen.”

               Now writing in a benevolent holiday mood, I’ll explore that doctrine in another column. The casual reader may have noticed one glaring omission in the Park Lane tenant roster, a bookstore, and now comes the professional writer, closed-course, don’t-try-this-at-home plug: Waldenbooks, in the center of Park Lane’s west building, didn’t stock The Sting of the Scorpion, my new novel (with Linda Patrucco) but Sundance Books in Keystone Square does, and we’ll be signing it next Saturday morning at 11 ayem. They’ll have my last year’s You’re doing WHAT to the Mapes…? column compilation book as well. [2014 note: Sundance Books & Music is now located at 121 California Avenue at Sierra Street]

               Have a good week; buy a kid a warm coat and some gloves, and God bless America.

© RGJ 2006