A second look at the Kit Carson Trail
Anyone who follows the distinctive blue line that marks Carson City’s Kit Carson Trail can’t help being impressed by the elegant design and architecture found in the community’s historic buildings.
As mentioned last week, several years ago Carson City initiated an innovative promotion called the Kit Carson Trail, which encourages people to follow a 2.5 mile trail, marked on sidewalks with a blue line, through the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
The second half of the trail includes many of the most historic and prestigious houses and structures on the tour.
For example, the T.B. Rickey house (512 Mountain) predates the adjacent Governor’s Mansion by nearly 40 years. Rickey, a prominent local banker, erected the original portion of this brick and white wood home in 1870, making it one of the city’s older homes.
Rickey is also noteworthy for having later donated the land upon which the Governor’s Mansion was built in 1909.
Nearby is the Krebs-Peterson House (500 N. Mountain), a classic Victorian built in 1914 by Ernest Krebs Sr., a prominent surgeon, and owned later by State Controller Edward Peterson The two-story home was prominently featured in the movie, “The Shootist,” which was actor John Wayne’s last film.
A half block south is the Sadler house (310 N. Mountain), built in 1878. Originally owned by Edward Niles, paymaster and ticket agent for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, this elegant house was later owned by Reinhold Sadler, Nevada’s governor from 1896 to 1902.
A few blocks away, trail explorers will find the Stewart-Nye residence (108 N. Minnesota), built in 1860 for William Morris Stewart, first U.S. Senator for Nevada. The sandstone home was sold in 1862 to James Nye, who served as Nevada’s only Territorial Governor.
Another impressive sandstone building is the two-story Edwards House (204 N. Minnesota), which boasts an unusual two-story bay window. Built in 1883 by Thomas Edwards, the home was reputedly constructed by state prisoners, which became a source of controversy after it was completed.
Despite the allegations of impropriety, Edwards, who had been sheriff and county clerk, later a served as U.S. Commissioner and clerk to the U.S. District Court.
Two fine examples of early 20th century architecture are the multi-gabled Springmeyer house (302 N. Minnesota) and Dr. S.I. Lee home (304 N. Minnesota). The former was constructed by H.H. Springmeyer in 1908, and then was home to former Governor Charles Russell and his family from 1960 to 1975. The latter was built in 1906 by a local surgeon,
Of particular historic significance this year is the Sears-Ferris house (311 W. Third), built in 1863. Originally owned by George A. Sears, one of Carson City’s earliest developers, it was sold in 1868 to rancher and horticulturalist George Washington Gale Ferris, who lived there with his wife and family.
From 1868 to 1875, when he went off to military school, Ferris’ son, G.W.G. Ferris Jr., also lived in the house. The younger Ferris would later invent the Ferris Wheel as an attraction for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Other noteworthy buildings on the second half of the trail include:
• The former Carson Brewing Company building (449 W. King), built in 1864. This fine brick structure was home of “Tahoe Beer” for nearly a century and once housed the Nevada Appeal’s offices. Today, it is home of the Brewery Arts Center.
• The Roberts House (1207 N. Carson), built in Washoe City in 1859, then moved on railroad flat bed to Carson City in 1873.
• The Carson City Auditorium (813 N. Carson), built in 1939. This WPA project served as the library and community center for many years and is now the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada.
• The St. Charles-Muller Hotel (302-304 S. Carson), built in 1862. The hotel was originally the main stage stop in Carson City and one of the state’s most elegant hotels. It is also one of the oldest commercial buildings still in use in the city.
For more information on the Kit Carson Trail, contact the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1-800-NEVADA-1.
Rich Moreno covers the places and people that make Nevada special.