Preserve Nevada to support restoration efforts

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan was once again in front of the cameras Wednesday as the founding chairman of Preserve Nevada, a new statewide non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the state's architectural heritage.

He named 11 of the most endangered sites in addition to 11 of the state's greatest restoration achievements, the goal to elicit public support and bring attention to significant buildings, sites, and landscapes facing a threat.

Carson City's Adams House is listed as a success and the Stewart Indian Museum is considered endangered.

Built in 1922, the Adams House was slated for demolition to make room for a parking lot for Carson-Tahoe Hospital, when local preservationists appealed to the hospital to save it. Carson-Tahoe turned the building over to the Hospital Foundation, which has completed the project.

Established in 1887, the Stewart Indian School was transferred from the federal government to Nevada 15 years ago and in the intervening years, little has been done to take advantage of the property as a historic site, according to Nevada Preserve.

"In terms of lost opportunities, the V&T roundhouse is gone forever," Bryan said. "Preserve Nevada will focus attention on remaining sites, networking with the organizations that have already done such good work. We'll also be focusing our attention on education through outreach efforts."

"We can help these organizations by matching preservation groups with a list of existing resources," said Mary Wammack, assistant director for the new group. "There doesn't have to be another Mapes."

A small group of about thirty dignitaries gathered near Virginia Street for the event as the rumble and roar of the city combined with the rush of the Truckee River near the historic Fitzgerald's Hotel.

"Nevada is rich in cultural and architectural history, but with the state's growth has come new challenges," Bryan said. " The 20th century has seen more growth than at any time in the state's history and as a result, precious architecture was lost. The Riverside Hotel before me is one of our successes."

Just as the demolition permit was issued, Art Space Inc. devised a financing scheme for the building's rehabilitation into artists lofts. Frederic DeLongchamps designed the Riverside in 1927 for Reno banker George Wingfield.

According to Bert Bedeau, spokesman for the Comstock Historic District Commission, Nevada was one of two states in the country lacking a statewide nonprofit advocacy group for preservation.

"These organizations can accomplish a number of things that government organizations can't, like lobbying and raising funds," he said. "They aren't hampered by anything but their own internal rules and regulations so they have a lot more flexibility."

The organization could also submit nominations to the National Parks Service for National Landmark designation, the "holy grail" of historic recognition, according to Bedeau.

Preserve Nevada is associated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the public history program at the Univeristy of Las Vegas. The organization also received a $35,000 challenge grant from the National Trust and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

The following is a list of the historical sites considered most endangered. They are not prioritized.

-- Virginia Street Bridge, Reno

-- Stewart Indian School, Carson City

-- Moulin Rouge, Las Vegas

-- Goldfield High School, Goldfield

-- Mineral County Courthouse, Hawthorne

-- Las Vegas Railroad Cottages, Las Vegas

-- Nevada rock art sites throughout the state

-- Nevada Northern Railway Complex, Ely

-- Million Dollar Courthouse, Pioche

-- Tonopah's Main Street

-- Silver State Lodge, Reno


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