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Senator George S. Nixon House

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1906–1911, Marshall and Fox; 2002 restoration, Gail Ritchie. 637 California Ave. Visible from the Truckee River and Riverside Dr.
  • (Photograph by Julie Nicoletta)

The home of one of Nevada's most powerful men, this imposing Spanish Colonial Revival mansion of 21,000 square feet is among the neighborhood's largest. Nixon, a wealthy banker who increased his fortune in the Tonopah and Goldfield booms, became a U.S. senator in 1905, when senators were still elected by the state legislature, and he remained in office until 1912. Gates and trees obscure the view from the street, but the house commands a prominent position on the bluff overlooking the Truckee. The Nixon house originally had thirty-three rooms, including eight bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, and fine half bathrooms. Chicago firm Marshall and Fox, which specialized in luxury hotels and apartments, designed the mansion. A large porte-cochere adorns the main facade, and a one-story colonnaded portico extends along the river side. The red-tiled hipped roof offers a pleasing contrast to the creamy-colored stuccoed walls. A devastating interior fire in 1979 left the structure eerily empty, but in 2002 the mansion was meticulously restored by architect Gail Richie and builder Robert Gurnea.


Erickson, Donna and Paul. "George S. Nixon Mansion." Reno Historical. Accessed January 12, 2020.

Paz, Katrina. "The Historic Nixon Mansion." Sierra Living, October 6, 2017. 

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta
Updated By: 
Ann Gilkerson (2020)



  • 1906

  • 1979

    Interior fire
  • 2002


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Senator George S. Nixon House", [Reno, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 77-78.

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