Press Foundation rescues historic Carson home

Her skirts frayed in recent years by changing owners, tenants and incarnations, the Rinckel mansion - the grand old lady of Curry Street - will soon get new caretakers and a new set of clothes thanks to a $1 million-plus gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

On Thursday, the Las Vegas-based Reynolds Foundation announced the grant to the Nevada Press Foundation for the purchase, renovation and furnishing of the mansion.

The building will be named the Donald W. Reynolds Press Center and will house the Press Foundation and the Nevada Press Association, which will lease space from its sister group. The building will also house the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame.

"The (foundation) trustees and I felt it appropriate that this facility should be named after Mr. Reynolds, who in his lifetime was responsible for a major portion of Nevada's media growth and history," said Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Reynolds Foundation.

The capacious 3,800-square-foot home will give the press organizations some much needed elbow room.

"Right now we essentially just have office space. We only have about 500 square feet (on Minnesota Street)," said Kent Lauer, secretary-treasurer of the Press Foundation and executive director of the Press Association.

Besides housing the foundation and association, the press center will provide room for news conferences, educational seminars and leased offices for statewide news bureaus.

"The Las Vegas Review-Journal has indicated a desire to lease space in the building. The Associated Press is also interested," Lauer said, emphasizing that "we haven't confirmed any of those lease details yet."

Lauer noted the foundation also plans "to sponsor an internship program in which students cover the legislature and other state government affairs" and work in the building alongside professional reporters. He said he's already discussed cooperation on the internships with officials of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Lauer believes the combination of journalism resources and education made possible by the Reynolds Foundation grant will make Carson City "the home of one of the country's finest state press centers."

He added that the "grant also guarantees that the Rinckel mansion will be preserved as one of Carson City's most valuable historic and architectural resources. The public will be proud of the grand mansion after the remodeling is completed."

Mining baron Mathias Rinckel built the mansion in 1876. Historians have long recognized it as one of the finest and best-preserved examples of French Victorian architecture in the American West.

Media baron Donald W. Reynolds founded his namesake foundation in 1954. His Donrey Media Group's vast holdings at one time included newspapers, network television affiliates and radio stations throughout Nevada.


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