Teri Vance: Oldest Carson City home featured in this year’s ornament
The Foreman-Roberts House, a rare example of Gothic Revival architecture in Nevada and the oldest existing house in Carson City, is featured as this year’s Carson City Christmas ornament.
The Downtown Redevelopment Citizens Committee began the Carson City ornament tradition in 2002 as a way to highlight historic and unique buildings.
“It was designed as a tool to get people downtown and to get them into businesses,” said Stan Jones, who owns the Purple Avocado — where the ornament is sold — with his wife, Sue. “There’s so many different groups that have kept it going.”
The Foreman-Roberts House was built by James D. Roberts in Washoe City in 1859.
It was moved to Carson City in 1873 on the Virginia & Truckee railroad, in much the same fashion that many homes were moved during that era.
Typical Gothic Revival elements of the Roberts House include its gingerbread bargeboard, lancet windows and a steeply-pitched roof. The last residents of this home were Thurman G. and Hattie Hale Roberts, who bequeathed the home to Carson City. Thurman was a miner and an employee of the Carson and Colorado railroad. Hattie was a direct descendant of Nathan G. Hale, who was executed by the British in 1776. Hale’s official commission, signed by George Washington, was still hanging on the wall when Carson City acquired the home in 1969.
The city proposed to demolish the house to build a park on the site, but the home was saved by public protests.
It now operates as a house museum.
Jones said the ornaments are a popular item every year.
“They make them all three-dimensional,” he explained. “It’s just amazing how detailed they all are.”
They also make popular gifts.
“There are a lot of people who come in and buy them for their kids out of state or other family members,” Jones said. “It’s not unusual for people to come in and buy three or four of them.”
Past years’ ornaments have been the Central School, Laxalt Building, Nevada State Mint, St. Peter’s Church, Bliss Mansion, Capitol, St. Teresa of Avila Church, Governor’s Mansion, St. Charles Hotel, V&T Depot, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and the Civic Auditorium, the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, the Nevada State Prison and the Brougher-Bath Mansion.
Ornaments can also be purchased at the Purple Avocado, 904 N. Curry St.; Carson City Chamber Artisan Shop, 1900 S. Carson St.; Nevada Legislature Gift Shop, 401 N Carson St.; the Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.
Jones said this is looking to be a good shopping season for the economy.
“Since Thanksgiving, people have been out Christmas shopping,” he said.