Monthly Programs

HRPS offers free monthly programs during the months of October, January, February, March, April, and May. We offer two programs each month: one on the Fourth Sunday at 12:30 pm at the Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street; and one on the Third Wednesday at 5:30 pm at Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive in Reno.


April 2019

Guy Clifton: "Reno Rodeo 100th Anniversary in June 2019"

Guy CliftonFrom a cattle rustler turned author to a world famous saddle rider to a rodeo clown turned movie star to a rodeo queen fit for all America, the Reno Rodeo has never lacked for great stories. Nevada history buff and author Guy Clifton will share some of the lesser-known stories in the 100-year history of the Reno Rodeo. Clifton is perhaps most known in Nevada for his work at the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he served for 22 years as a reporter, columnist, and editor. He is now a public relations specialist for the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. He is the author of eight books on Nevada history.

  • Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

ZoAnn Campana: "Reno MoMo"

ZoAnn CampanaIn the middle of the 20th century, Reno was experimenting with the architecture of the Modern Movement (MoMo). High-profile architects from around the country came to Reno to design some of our best known buildings during this time. Raymond Hellman arrived in town to become one of our most prolific and masterful modernist architects. Even preeminent local architect Frederic DeLongchamps, continually evolving throughout his career, contributed designs in the modernist mode. Come learn about the various hallmarks of the MoMo and how they manifested in our local built environment. ZoAnn Campana is a local Historic Preservation Consultant who serves as Vice President of the HRPS Board of Directors and is the architectural historian on the City of Reno's Historical Resources Commission.

  • Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019
  • Time: 12:30 PM
  • Location: Reno Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street, Reno

March 2019

Neil Brooks: "Model Dairy and the History of Ranching and the Dairy Industry"

Neil BrooksNeil Brooks, a fifth generation Nevadan, offers a glance back into the history of Reno. His visual and comprehensive presentation shares the story of two pioneer families: the Peckhams and the Taylors, and how they helped establish the Ranch and Dairy industry in the Biggest Little City over a century ago. Brooks' presentation will focus on the development and operation of Rewana Farms, home to Model Dairy. Neil was born in Reno and grew up on Rewana Farms, located on Peckham Lane. He’s the Neil in Neil Road.

  • Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Mark Demuth: "ReTRAC Railroad Trench Project Archaeology and Architecture"

Mark DemuthMark Demuth, environmental consultant and University of Nevada, Reno adjunct faculty member, presents ReTRAC Railroad Trench project archaeology and architecture. When the City of Reno decided in early 2000s to create a trench to lower the railroad tracks that ran through its center, archaeologists associated with the ReTRAC (Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor) project had a unique opportunity to explore the evidence of thousands of years of human history. The trench — 2 miles long, 54 feet wide, and 30 feet deep at its lowest point — created a cross-section through the oldest part of the city and gave investigators access to eighty-three archaeological sites, two prehistoric and eighty-one historical. The sites record continuous human habitation along the banks of the Truckee River for over 5,000 years, allowing investigators to learn how the earliest inhabitants responded to changing seasons and long-term climate change, and to study the creation of Reno's early and modern infrastructure.

  • Date: Sunday, March 24, 2019
  • Time: 12:30 PM
  • Location: Reno Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street, Reno

February 2019

Jim Bertolini: "Hooks, Hoses, and Houses: Nevada's Historic Fire Stations"

Jim BertoliniFirefighting and fire prevention have been at the center of Americans' definition of civil service since the early 1800s. Firefighting began as a volunteer effort, and remains a predominantly volunteer profession outside of the nation's larger communities that can afford professional fire departments. As firefighting progressed from the "bucket brigades" of the early 1800s to the engine companies of the Victorian age, the buildings that have housed firefighters and their equipment have evolved. This exploration of Nevada's historic fire stations will discuss the history of firefighting and firehouses in Nevada, and the ways these unique landmarks can be saved for future generations. Jim Bertolini is a Historian at the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office (NVSHPO).

  • Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Dr. Catherine Magee: "Washoe Tribes and Tourism"

Catherine MageeDr. Magee's research explores the reciprocal relationship between cultural heritage preservation and tourism. Dr. Magee received her MS in objects conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware, Program in Art Conservation and her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno. She worked in Asia, Central America, the Mediterranean Basin and North Africa as an Archaeological Conservator on both terrestrial and marine sites. For 15 years, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution and in her own conservation business. She is currently Director of the Nevada Historical Society.

  • Date: Sunday, February 24, 2019
  • Time: 12:30 PM
  • Location: Reno Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street, Reno

January 2019

Jeff Auer, American History and Humanities instructor and LGBTQ Scholar: History of LGBTQ Reno

Jeff AuerResearchers of LGBTQ history in the United States have focused predominantly on major cities such as San Francisco and New York City. This focus has led researchers to overlook a rich tradition of LGBTQ communities and individuals in small to mid-sized American cities that date from at least the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. Reno is one of many examples of a small but thriving LGBTQ community from this early period. As far back as 1882, Reno had an LGBTQ presence through the Great Recession, including the Reno Gay Rodeo and its effects on the world.

  • Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Dr. Engrid Barnett presents "50th Anniversary of the Reno Philharmonic."

Engrid BarnettEngrid Barnett holds a Ph.D. in cultural geography from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). She teaches courses in cultural geography, humanities, and philosophy (including world religions) at UNR and Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC). She received the Nevada Regents' Teaching Award for 2015-2016. She has presented at the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, the American Association of Geographers, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Fourth Ward School, and the Nevada Historical Society (NHS). She recently curated the Nevada Historical Society exhibit exploring history and culture in northern Nevada, namely the 50th anniversary of the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Date: Sunday, January 27, 2019
  • Time: 12:30 PM
  • Location: Reno Downtown Library, 301 South Center Street, Reno

October 2018 Monthly Programs

Tony Shafton, Author and Independent Scholar Discusses His Fifth Book, "The Nevada They Knew."

After writing four books on subjects as diverse as dream psychology, African-American cultural sociology, and the biological evolution of self-awareness in humans and other primates, Tony returned home to Nevada in 2012 to write about a legendary friendship — that of Robert Caples and Walter Van Tilburg Clark. Caples was Nevada's leading artist of the twentieth century, and Walter Van Tilburg Clark was its leading novelist. Caples works range from portraits of divorcees to charcoals of Nevada Indians, especially of Great Basin mountains. Clark's fame rests on The Ox-Bow Incident, but his finest novel is The City of Trembling Leaves, a celebration of youth based in part on the early years of his friendship with Caples in Nevada.

  • Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Edan Strekal Project Archivist, Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno, Presents "Reno Chinatown."

Reno, Nevada, like other mining and railroad towns in the American West, had a Chinatown that originated with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Sacramento-to-Reno section of the Central Pacific Railroad was completed in May 1868 and the first train traveled the route on June 18, 1868. Once the work was completed, displaced Chinese laborers were paid off and left along the tracks. Almost immediately, the Chinese in the Truckee Meadows built a bare-wood shantytown along the Truckee River out of any available materials. Thus, on First Street between Virginia and Center streets, Chinatown was born. Reno's Chinese population existed along the periphery of the larger white community for nearly 40 years. Chinatown burned down and was relocated several times. The last remnants of Reno's Chinatown on Lake Street disappeared with the demolition of Bill Fong's New China Club to make way for Harrah's parking structure expansion. The only indication of Northern Nevada's Chinese past is Nevada Historical Marker No. 29 located in Sparks. The plaque, dedicated in 1964, celebrates Nevada's centennial and salutes the contributions of "Chinese pioneers" in the state.

  • Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia Street, Reno

May 2018

David Hansen, Emeritus Director Hot August Nights: The Hot August Nights Story

During an evening night on August 1, 1986, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center was bursting at the seams with hundreds of revelers who were partying, cheering and pushing to be let in to a first-time event of a magnitude yet to be realized. Inside, 10,000 spectators were massed together in anticipation of seeing and hearing a live event of the Righteous Brothers, Wolfman Jack, and Jan & Dean! It was that night when nostalgia was unleashed among an audience who excitedly relived their childhood years of the 1950s and 60s — a time of innocence, prosperity, cars and the birth of Rock and Roll. The weather was HOT, the month of AUGUST was right, therefore, HOT AUGUST NIGHTS was born! The memories flooded back and so did the desire for more!

  • Date: Wednesday, May, 16, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

*Note: Before this program, we will have our annual meeting. There are new board members to be voted on by the membership.

Apr 2018

Joyce Cox, Author and Research Librarian: Visit Reno on the Way: the History of the Reno Chamber of Commerce

The Reno Chamber began as the Reno Improvement Society in 1898 and the Reno Commercial Club in 1906. The goals of these two groups, typical for any small community, were to support local businesses and to make Reno, Sparks, Lake Tahoe, and Northern Nevada a good place to live. But the way the Chamber promoted the area was unique and innovative with such slogans as "You'll Like Reno" in 1924, "Visit Reno on the Way" in 1939, "Reno, Let's Tell the World" in 1949 and "Reno Gateway to Wonders" in 1968.

  • Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

ZoAnn Campana, Historic Preservation Consultant and HRC Architectural Historian: Reno's Early Meatpacking Industry

Join us for a discussion of Reno's early meatpacking industry, as illustrated by the rise and fall of the Nevada Packing Company on East 4th Street. Founded by Patrick Flanagan as the Nevada Meat Company in 1902, the Nevada Packing Company grew into Nevada's only Federally-inspected packing plant. More than just a slaughterhouse, the company manufactured butter and ice, distributed beer and liquor, and smoked its own bacon and hams. Most notably, the company foreshadowed the locavore movement as we know it today, sourcing its animals and other materials from local ranches and farms.

  • Date: Sunday, April 22, 2018
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall

Mar 2018

Debbie Hinman, HRPS FootPrints Editor and HRC Commissioner: A Tale of Two Cities

Historian, author, walking tour guide and Reno expert, Debbie Hinman will present "A Tale of Two Cities, Virginia City and Reno." It's an overview of the beginnings of Nevada and the two significant early towns, Virginia City and Reno, and the symbiotic relationship between the two. Starting with the events that brought these early Nevada towns into existence, we learn how their survival depended on coexisting.

  • Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Kelly Rigby and Joyce Cox: Flick Ranch

In 1857, George F. Stone and Charles C. Gates opened a trading post east of Reno on the Truckee River and in 1860 erected a toll bridge crossing the river, known as Stone and Gates Crossing. By 1862, George Alt purchased the property for a ranch. George Mapes, grandfather of Charlie Mapes of the Mapes Hotel, bought the property in 1918. Margaret Flick and family bought the property from Mrs. C. W. Mapes in 1941. The ranch house was built in 1942 and purchased by the Reno Catholic Diocese in 1948 to become the first Bishop Manogue High School. In 1958, the Brothers of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary moved into the house using it as their monastery for the next 39 years. In 1997, SageWind opened an adolescent substance abuse treatment center; in 2002, they became Bristlecone Family Resources. The Truckee River Flood Project bought the ranch house and property in 2007 planning to terrace the land to reduce flooding, requiring demolition of the ranch house. Kelly Rigby, President of the Flick Ranch Project, is attempting to save the Flick ranch house from demolition.

  • Date: Sunday, March 25, 2018
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall

Feb 2018

Dana Munkelt: Truckee Meadows Irrigation Ditches

Did you know there are 9 hand-dug irrigation ditches still operating from the Truckee River in Reno? From short ones for the hydroelectric plants at Verdi, Fleisch, and Washoe, to the big one, the Steamboat Ditch, more than 30 miles long. Most have access along at least part of their routes, winding through suburbs and golf courses, north past Kiley Ranch and south to Steamboat Hot Springs. Come to a talk about the history of these water channels and how they have survived today.

  • Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Edan Strekal, Project Archivist, Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno: Reno Chinatown

Reno, Nevada, like other mining and railroad towns in the American West, had a Chinatown that originated with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Sacramento-to-Reno section of the Central Pacific Railroad was completed in May 1868 and the first train traveled the route on June 18, 1868. The displaced Chinese laborers were paid off and left along the tracks. In Reno, they built a bare-wood shantytown along the Truckee River out of any available material. First Street between Virginia and Center streets became Chinatown. Reno's Chinese population existed along the periphery of the larger white community for nearly 40 years, although Chinatown burned down and was relocated several times.

  • Date: Sunday, February 25, 2018
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall

Jan 2018

Fran Tryon, Hillside Cemetery Activist: Families of Hillside Cemetery

In 1875, the State of Nevada granted a patent of 40 acres on the north side of Reno for use as a cemetery — to be known as Hillside Cemetery. It was a privately-owned cemetery — not necessarily the best plan for perpetual care and maintenance. Sanders, the owner, sold plots but maintained ownership of the area between the plots — a complicated ownership structure. Frances Tryon will take us on a virtual tour of Hillside Cemetery, featuring stories about the founding families of Reno and their connections to the history of our community, country, and world. She will briefly touch on the importance of saving historic cemeteries for future generation and their importance in understanding our past, present and the journey into our future.

  • Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
  • Time: 5:30 PM
  • Location: Northwest Library, 2325 Robb Drive, Reno

Jeff Auer, American History and Humanities instructor and LGBTQ Scholar: History of LGBTQ Reno

Researchers of LGBTQ history in the United States have focused predominantly on major cities such as San Francisco and New York City. This focus has led researchers to overlook a rich tradition of LGBTQ communities and individuals in small to mid-sized American cities that date from at least the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century. Reno is one of many examples of a small but thriving LGBTQ community from this time period. As far back as 1882, Reno had an LGBTQ presence, which Jeff will cover through the Great Recession, including the history of the Reno Gay Rodeo and its effects on the world.

  • Date: Sunday, January 28, 2018
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall

Nov 2017

Mark Demuth: Virginia Street Bridge Demolition and Replacement Project: Treatment and Discovery of Buried Resources

A Picture of the Program Presenter, Mark Demuth

Mark Demuth, environmental consultant and University of Nevada, Reno adjunct faculty member, presents "Virginia Street Bridge Demolition and Replacement Project: Treatment and Discovery of Buried Resources." As part of the project, the company treated and documented the nine adjacent resources to the Virginia Street Bridge: the 1933 Reno Main Post Office, the 1965 F.W. Woolworth/Mapes Building, the 1963 First National Bank/Reno City Hall, the 1953/1961 Masonic Temple, the 1927 Riverside Hotel, the 1967 Pioneer Theater Auditorium, the 1910 Washoe County Courthouse and the floodwalls. The project included the preservation and re-use of key architectural elements of the Virginia Street Bridge and the Interpretive Area, as well as documentation and treatment of the seven discoveries (the Sullivan-Kelly Ditch, the Cochran Ditch, 1877 Iron Bridge, the Mapes, a storm drain box culvert, the Majestic Theater, the Riverside Hotel boiler room, and the 1905 Masonic Temple). Mr. Demuth's presentation and lecture will include details of the resources treated, documented, and the research completed.

  • Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall

Oct 2017

Howard Goldbaum: The Rise and Fall of the American Flat Mill

A View through a Tunnel at American Flat

Howard Goldbaum, Director of Graduate Studies, University of Nevada, Reno, presents "The Rise and Fall of the American Flat Mill," an extensively illustrated lecture on the planning, construction and brief operation of the Mill. It will include elements of economics and mining technologies, and will explore the different uses and cultural appropriation of the mining complex in the modern era.

  • Date: Sunday, October 22, 2017
  • Time: 1:30 PM
  • Location: Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia in Reno Town Mall.