History & Preservation: 331 Moran Street

The West of Wells Neighborhood has been home to many interesting and famous Renoites over the years. While the majority of the former residents have historically been from the working class, there have also been some affluent residents. You have probably noticed the large, two story shingled home at 331 Moran Street. It is hard to miss as it sits right at the bend in the road and has a rather large lot. This home was originally owned by Charles Brooks, the founder of Model dairy. Although I am not sure of the exact year built, this home is unmistakably visible in the Library of Congress Airship photo taken over Reno in 1908. This photo is amazing and is available for viewing at the Nevada Historical Society where you can even order a print.

While the dairy itself did not operate from this location, Nevada’s first motorized milk delivery trucks were once stored in the brick garage on the alley side of the property. Model Dairy launched the state’s first motorized milk delivery in 1914. It has been reported that people ordered milk just so they could watch the trucks pull up at their homes. Many homes in the area have steel lined “milk doors”; small doors that opened from both the outside and the inside so the milkman could leave the milk and the residents could retrieve it without going outside.

The main structure at 331 Moran is now divided into three living units. The large brick garage and ice house still remain on the back of the lot. Other brick storage structures have been demolished over the years. I interviewed a woman who lived at 328 Moran Street during the early 1940’s and she remembers Mrs. Brooks taking her and the other neighborhood children to the ice house for containers of chocolate milk.

Moran Street has some remarkable examples of early Reno architecture. Many homes along this street are visible in the 1908 photo and still stand today. The trolley that used to run along Moran Street may have had an influence on the concentration of early development along this street.


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