History & Preservation: Historical Editorial

Posted: 4/9/2010 Last Updated: 10/25/2011

By Barrie Schuster
The Wells Avenue area has a great history that dates back to before the turn of the century. Most of the residents who built the original homes were from the working class, unlike other areas in Reno which tended to attract more affluent citizens. The V and T Railroad ran along Holcomb Avenue until 1950, cutting the neighborhood off from the rest of the city. It has been reported that there were only a couple of places where a car could cross the railroad tracks along Holcomb. I imagine it must have been “the other side of the tracks” in more ways than one. As I have studied the lives of many of the former Reno residents who chose to make this neighborhood their home, I have discovered eccentric, colorful, outgoing people that contributed to the community and knew their neighbors. Musicians, landscapers, stone masons, teachers, lumber mill workers, small business owners; all seemed to be on the guest lists of everyone else’s Christmas parties and weddings. Even though they were of modest means, they made their small homes beautiful and were proud of what they had. In many ways, I feel the current residents in the neighborhood are full of the same spirit as the original residents. After a few decades of abandonment and decline, the neighborhood is making a comeback by moving into the future with the legacy of the past. The original residents built the homes in neighborhood and that brought them together. Now we are rebuilding the neighborhood, not physically, but by re establishing the community. We are lucky to have many long time residents and business owners who still reside in the neighborhood and can share their first hand experiences with the change of the neighborhood over the years. It is my hope that by including historical information in the newsletter alongside our forward progress updates, that we can appreciate the connection of past, present and future.

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