Carson's 19th century charm unveiled during fifth annual Garden Tour

A gazing ball reflects the Beck-Bellnap House on North Nevada Street. Owners Peter and Patricia Smith are opening their home and its gardens for the annual Nevada Landmarks Society Garden Tour Sunday.

A gazing ball reflects the Beck-Bellnap House on North Nevada Street. Owners Peter and Patricia Smith are opening their home and its gardens for the annual Nevada Landmarks Society Garden Tour Sunday.

A little more than a decade after Nevada became a state, a man named Henry Hudson Beck built a two-story, Mansard-roofed home in North Carson City with raised floor boards to accommodate wall-to-wall carpets.

The home and its gardens, sprawling over the one-third acre lot on the northwest corner of Nevada and John streets, will open Sunday as one of seven sites to visit during the Nevada Landmarks Society's annual Garden Tour.

Tickets for the tour range from $12 for adults to $3 for children and are available at the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Bookcellar, Cloth Cottage and at the Roberts House on Sunday before the tour.

The Beck-Belknap House is owned by Peter and Patricia Smith, who have been restoring both the home and the garden since purchasing the property in 1996.

"When we moved in nobody had done anything to (the garden) for years except mow the lawn," Peter said Wednesday. "It had naturalized. That's the nice way to say it was overgrown."

Some of the yard's natives include wild roses, a 15-foot long lilac hedge, hollyhocks, columbine and something that Smith was told is either perennial Sweet William, Bouncing Betties or phlox depending on who you ask. To this the Smiths have added delphiniums, gazing balls, statuary, a kitchen garden and removed an old evergreen that was damaged in a December snowstorm.

Neighborhood legend has it that at one time the Chinese caretaker grew opium poppies in the yard. It has been reported that two little boys received a beating from the caretaker after running through the yard and knocking the tops off all the poppies.

The property is listed on the state and national historic registers and sits on half a city block. Smith said that because there were no side-street setbacks in 1875, the garages -- or at the time, carriage sheds -- were built on the far corners of the lot, leaving "an enormous yard."

"Today people set their houses back from the street, but you can't sit out there on the porch in your pajamas drinking coffee," Smith said.

In addition to strolling by the sweet peas, iris, yarrows and more outside Patricia will be showing and maybe selling part of her collection of historic linens. The linen display is part of the Carson Valley Quilt Guild's quilt exhibit being shown in conjunction with the tour.

About 20 to 30 quilts from the guild as well as old family quilts will be on display at each tour site, said Landmarks tour organizer, Dorothy Dolan.

Entertainment and light refreshments will be offered at several homes. The Silver Strings will play at the Bliss Mansion, Chris Bayer will play his banjo in the garden of the Olcovich-Meyer Home and the Barbershop Quartet and the Red Hats will play at the Krebs-Peterson Home.


What: Garden Tour

When: 1-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Carson City's Historic District

Tickets: Available before the tour at the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Bookcellar, the Cloth Cottage and the day of the tour at the Roberts House beginning at 11 a.m.

Cost: Adults $12; seniors and students ages 13-18 $10; and children ages 5-12 $3.

Tour stops

Roberts House, 1207 N. Carson St.

Krebs-Peterson home, 500 Mountain St.

Beck-Barber-Belknap House, 1206 N. Nevada St.

Olcovich-Meyers, 214 W. King St.

Cloth Cottage, 602 N. Curry St.

Adams House, 909 N. Minnesota St.

Bliss Mansion 710 W. Robinson St.

Brief history of 1206 N. Nevada St.

Property record dates back to 1862

Home built by Henry Hudson Beck 1875, a business man who owned the Ophir Works at Franktown and had served as justice of the peace in Ophir in 1863.

Home sold to Attorney General John R. Kittrell

Home sold back to Beck within six months of purchase by Kittrell

Beck sells home to Oscar T. Barber, 1876, a Gold Hill merchant who lived there with wife, Emma and four children: Oscar, Ester Nellie and Edgar.

Barber sells home to Charles Henry Belknap in 1881. He lived in the house until 1905.

A number of owners and renters occupied the home until it was purchased in 1948 by George B. Criteser who lived there until his death in 1988. His widow, Dorcas Pierce Wilson Criteser, occupied the home until her death in 1995.

Peter and Patricia Smith purchase home and begin restoration 1996.


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