Welcome to Full Circle House

Located in Reno Nevada, our house is over one hundred years old. We know the names of everyone who has lived here. In most cases, we know their history. We've never blogged before, so this will be something new to us. Besides the history of our home, we will be adding information about the neighborhood we live in. When our neighborhood was developed in 1905 it was called the Wells Addition. Today we call it West of Wells. Through future posts and, as we learn more about blogging, there will be more about Full Circle House and our unique neighborhood.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Full Circle House Happenings During 2013

I realized today that I haven't posted to our blog for awhile. What I didn't realize was how long it had been. Besides myself, I blame Facebook for this. Not that Facebook is bad, but it is more of a what is happening now form of social media. A blog is something you write for and therefore you take more time with what you write. Consequently, I tend to put off blogging for the quickness of Facebook. That being said, here is recap of 2013 at Full Circle House.

It was a warm winter and quite dry, though not as dry as the winter of 2014 is turning out to be. We lost few plants and realized dormant plants still need water. This winter we are watering our dormant plants as we have only had one or two significant snowfalls. Here in Nevada we depend on snowfall for our water. The winters of 2013 and 2014 are shaping up to be the warmest and driest on record. So while the Midwest and East Coast are going through record snowfalls, out West we are in the midst of a drought and warmer than normal temperatures.

2013 was Year Two of our urban homesteading project. We built two new raised beds, added some decorative features for flowers. The vegetables we planted included yellow squash, Japanese eggplant and pumpkins. Here's what we learned about these plants. Squash bugs love yellow squash and pumpkins. Last winter was not cold enough to kill off the squash bug eggs, consequently, our squash and pumpkins were over-whelmed with squash bugs this year. Since the most effective organic way to combat squash bugs is to pluck them off and throw them in soapy water, we were over-whelmed as well.

On the bright side, the Japanese eggplant did well. It's purple flowers look great in our front yard along with sunflowers and other flowers we planted. The herbs did well, though the basil I planted this year was not as prolific as the ones I planted in 2012. On the other hand, my pickling cucumbers were extremely prolific producing more then I could handle.

Our tomatoes suffered from an early heat wave while they were flowering and didn't produce as much as last year. What they did produce was very tasty. Finally, the strawberry bed increased in size, but it too suffered in the heat and production was less than last year.

We covered the front yard in decorative rock in late fall. Since then it's been too cold for any major work in the front yard as it gets very little sun in the winter. Come spring we will be adding some wine barrel halves to increase the amount of plants and flowers we grow as well as adding decorative items, such as a bird bath.

Also this fall we picked up eighteen gallons of wine juice which has been fermenting in our basement since then. We will bottle the Pinot Grigio in February. The Cabernet and Old Vine Zin will be bottled this spring. While we didn't get any cherries from our friend Griff this year, we did pick up a flat of cherries during a visit to California and made more cherry brandy and bourbon then we can drink.

This winter we are going to concentrate on the back yard. The plan is to incorporate inexpensive raised beds with a mexican style patio and fence. However, we have a lot of cleaning up to do. Hopefully, we'll get the garage painted this year as well.

That's the re-cap of activities at Full Circle House for 2013. I'll try and get monthly updates out during 2014.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Urban Homesteading At Full Circle House

It's been quite a while since we posted to our blog. We have been doing so much unrelated to Full Circle House that we haven't gotten around to writing anything. That has changed this year. Full Circle House is under going a transformation. Rosalie and I have decided to stop watering our lawns. Not only is it a bad idea in a desert environment, but in lieu of the current drought it is a wasteful practice as well. However, our yards are not going to be dirt and weeds (though currently it sure looks that way), but we intend to fill them with fruits, vegetables and useful plants.

We are starting an Urban Homesteading project that will take many years to perfect, but is currently showing results. We have a raised bed dedicated to herbs (Come on by if you need Basil). A raised bed that is part flowers to attract pollenating insects and part vegetables and a raised bed for vegetables. There are two blueberry bushes growing in wine barrel halves and we have five different varieties of tomatoes in containers. This post has a photo of one our tomato harvests. In the front, left to right are Early Girl, German Queen and Lemon Boy tomatoes. The small ones in the back are Black Princes.

We are trying to figure out how to post pictures without having to do a post, but we do post photos to Scott's Facebook page.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reno Harvest of Homes Recap

Yesterday was the First Annual Reno Harvest of Homes tour put on by the Historic Reno Preservation Society. The tour was conceived as both a way to show distinguished homes in Reno and to form a fund to help preserve the old and historic homes of Reno.

Six distinguished homes of historical and architectural significance were on the tour. I was joking up to the day of the tour that there were five distinguished homes on the tour and then there was ours, but after touring the other homes, I can honestly say our home held it's own. It was the smallest, most unassuming home on the tour. We didn't have great landscaping like the Enchanted Garden/Ricky's Resort house nor did we have unique features like the oriental design of the Hart house, however, based on the reactions and comments from people I met who had visited it, Full Circle House was a big hit. As far as I can tell almost everyone who toured our home loved it.

Between two and three hundred people came through our home in four hours. I had the opportunity to be home at the beginning and end of the tour and was able to interact with people on the tour. Many of the older attendees knew the name Machabee and remembered Machabee and Morrill Office Supply. Several of them knew the Fants or knew of them.

The mystery of the stick with W. J. Machabee's name on it was solved by one of the attendees. It is used for a process called scaling in which a scaler will estimate how much lumber, measured in board feet, a log will produce. William Machabee worked in the lumber industry and would have used the stick while scaling a log. If not for the tour, we may never have learned its true use.

The preliminary results from the tour are great! There were over 350 attendees and 75 people acting as either home hosts, volunteers or working on committees. While preliminary, the president of the Historic Reno Preservation Society, Sharon Honig-Bear, reported today there should be between $7000 to $8000 to start the preservation fund.

We'll be posting more about the other houses on the tour over the next few days.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who Was Moran Street Named For?

On July 24th, 1960, the article titled “They Gave Their Names To the Streets of Reno” by Ethel Zimmer ran in the Reno Gazette. The article was part of a series covering past residents of Reno and the streets named for them. The street in this article was Moran Street and the article covered the life of Judge Thomas (Barney) Moran.

An Irish immigrant, Judge Moran came to America in 1878, when he was ten years old. He lived in Cleveland, Ohio and came to Reno by way of Chicago, Winslow, Arizona and Carson City, Nevada. Along the way he studied Law and worked as a telegraph operator and train dispatcher, while he built his law practice. He was, undisputely, a memorable figure in Reno history. There are many references to him in the local papers of his time. He is certainly someone a street could be named after. However, Moran street may not have been named for him.

I first began to suspect Moran street may not have been named for Judge Moran when I bought my house on Moran and began to research it's history and past residents. There are records referring to my house as far back as 1909. Past residents have told me it was built in 1906 and it is clearly visible in an aerial photo taken from a captive airship in 1908. My research puts the year our home was built in as 1907.

This would make sense as my house is in the Wells Addition to Reno, which was approved in 1905. It's Queen Anne style dates it to the turn of the century. The original application for the Wells addition shows Moran street is an extension of an existing street. This indicates that Moran street was in existence prior to 1905. Further research shows Moran Street in existence on a map drawn by H. E. Stewart in 1900.

Barney Moran lived in Nevada prior to 1900. Up until 1892 he was a telegraph dispatcher in Wadsworth at which time he left to take a job as a dispatcher in Fresno, California. He returned sometime in 1894, but to Wadsworth, not Reno. In 1906 he became District Attorney for Washoe County. However, the colorful part of his career didn't really take off until he was elected to the post of Washoe County District Judge in 1911. Since this is well after the date that Moran Street first shows up on a map, it is doubtful Moran Street was named for him.

So if Moran Street was not named for Judge Moran, who was it named for? My research has found a few possibilities. There are two which stand out.

The first is Jacob Moran who opened a saloon on Virginia Street in 1876. He was also known as Jake Moran or Uncle Jake. In addition his last name sometimes appears in local papers as Muren.

Besides being a saloon operator, he may have built and opened a hotel in Reno on the corner of Lake and Commercial row in 1879. I have found evidence that he may have bought a third establishment, the Ocean Spray Saloon in or around 1884.

In 1882 there is a reference to Mrs. Jacob Moran dying suddenly at home. The article states “she lived on the south side of the river near the V&T track.” Moran Street is located south of the Truckee river and crosses Holcomb Street, which parallels the old V&T line. There is also a reference in 1882 to a Josie Moran (possibly his daughter) as a student at the South Side School. The old South Side School is clearly visible in the above mentioned aerial photo and sits just two blocks from where present day Moran Street is located.

After 1884, direct references to Jacob Moran are hard to find. This is in part, I believe to the great number of references to the Moran Brothers and other Morans that appear in the local papers during this period. There is a reference to the Washoe County Board of Commissioners granting Jacob Moran seven dollars of (tax?) relief in August 1894 and again in July of 1895.

The second possibility is Moran Street was named for the Moran Brothers, who ran the Moran Bank in New York city and were early investors in America's railroads. They took over the Nevada and California railroad in 1884 after the original owners failed to pay the interest on their bonds. They changed the name to the Nevada and Oregon railroad (later the Nevada, California and Oregon), as they intended to extend the line to Oregon. It ran north from the Reno area into California. There is an article that lists “Messers. Moore, Woods, Wheeler and Moran” as traveling to Beckworth on the NC&O in 1881. Samuel Wheeler developed the Wells addition and it would be likely that, if he was associated with the Moran brothers, he might have named a street after them.

Even though they never achieved their dreams of a railroad line to Oregon, they did extend the line further into California. There was a stop in California at a town called Moran. It is possible that Moran, California may have been named for the Moran Brothers. If a town in California, may have been named for it's benefactors, why not a street in Reno? Reno certainly benefitted from the NC & O which transported lumber and supplies from Northern California to Reno for decades.

Of the possibilities I have researched, I believe Jacob Moran is the best candidate. He lived in Reno for many years during the late 1800's, he was a well known businessman with a least two establishments in town. At sometime, he lived south of the river. Josie Moran may have been his daughter and since she attended the old South Side, that shows the Morans lived somewhere near the present day Moran St. In the “They Gave Their Names To the Streets of Reno” series about Taylor street it states “When the town caught up with the Taylor place the street close by was named for the family.” In my opinion it also stands to reason that when the town caught up to where the Morans lived, the street nearest them was named Moran Street. In addition, many of the streets on the 1900 map were named for well known residents of Reno who lived in there prior to 1900 and Jacob Moran surely counts among them.

Ethel Zimmer, the author of the “They Gave Their Names To The Streets Of Reno” series, grew up in Franktown, Nevada, which is nearly twenty five miles south of Reno. She probably would not have known Jacob Moran, who died when she was eight years old. It would be natural for her to assume the Moran street was named for Judge Moran.

Jacob Moran died on March 13, 1899. There was no obituary telling the story of his life, only a small notice in the local papers reading “MORAN-In Reno. Nev., March 13,1899, Jacob Moran, a native of Germany, aged 80 years...” While the other Morans I have mentioned, and the ones I haven't, all contributed to the history of Reno, I believe the timing of the 1900 map, the evidence of Jacob Moran living south of the river and the fact that Jacob Moran was well known in Reno long before Judge Moran made his mark here, can only lead one to conclude that Moran Street was named for him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Come See Our House

Come see our our house and five other homes on
The Reno Harvest of Homes tour, Saturday, October 2nd, 10:00 to 3:00. Go to www.historicreno.org for more

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Zonnevelds (Part 2)

Jim and Connie Zonneveld (1999 to 2004)

Jim was born at Washoe Medical Center (now called Renown) and lived here until he sold the house to Kevin and Amy Moore. After we moved in, Jim gave us the wood stove that was in his kitchen since his parents bought the house. I’ve been trying to date the stove. I have it narrowed down to somewhere between 1902 and 1920. It is possible that this is the original wood stove for this house. Jim also gave us the keys to the original locks to our house. They still work in most of the doors; the other doors probably just need some refurbishing to make them work.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Zonnevelds (Part 1)

Jack T and Margaret Zonneveld - 1960 to 1999

Jack and Margaret Zonneveld came to the United States from Holland. Mr. Zonneveld worked for John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino in Sparks, NV. When he retired from the Nugget he was the Purchasing Director.

Mrs. Zonneveld never worked. however, Kitty (her daughter) informed me that she was an loving mother of five children and a hard working housewife. Many of our long term neighbors still remember the Zonnevelds and tell many stories about them. One of the most common stories we hear is about Mr. Zonneveld walking his dogs around the neighborhood. Griff, one of our long term neighbors also told us the Zonnevelds loved to sing and would visit nursing homes to entertain the residents.

We invited Kitty Falcone (née Zonneveld) and Jim Zonneveld, two of their children, over to visit. Kitty and Jim were very helpful in helping us learn what our house looked like before it was remodeled. They also gave us a bit of family history. Mr. Zonneveld was an avid gardener. In fact most of our back yard, which is now grass, was a vegetable garden. When the Nugget used to have elephants as part of their attractions, Mr. Zonneveld would bring the elephant dung home for fertilizer. Jim said that, if you got lost at night, you could always smell your way home.

The day before my fiftieth birthday, I was doing some last minute cleaning in the basement and found a roll of paper under the shelves Mrs. Zonneveld used for her preserves. The paper was wrapped around something. As I pulled it out, it ripped and part of what was in there fell out. They were a pair of old strap-on ice skates. Kitty translated the writing on the paper, "Papa Schaatseh" as being Dutch for "Father's Skates." These were probably Mr. Zonneveld's skates that he brought with him from Holland. The skates are now in her possession.

Another interesting find were four cans of evaporated milk that were found between the ceiling of our basement and the floor joists. The dates on three cans were from 1966. The fourth didn't have a date, but since they were all found together it is reasonable to assume they were also put there at the same time. Kitty said they may have been put there by her brother, John, who's bedroom was in the basement at that time.

We also found out that Robert Conrad (from the TV Series Wild, Wild West and Baa-Baa Black Sheep) filmed a made for TV movie in Reno in 1992. It was called "Sworn to Vengeance." A friend of ours gave me a DVD of it for my 50th birthday. There are several scenes filmed in the Wells Addition. Three scenes were filmed in our house.