In the late ’80s, my wife, Dori Goldman, and I were looking for a place we could fix up and use for weekend getaways. In 1990, on our way to a campground in northern Nevada, we came across a fixer-upper (read ‘uninhabitable shack’) in the town of Paradise Valley. It was a little far from home in Reno, but the price was right so we closed the deal. We spent our first day digging out years of feral rose bushes and were able to get a path to the front door and around the side of the house.
We kept at it, on weekends and during the summer; we put in a well, indoor plumbing, and electricity. Dori took down the wallpaper, then pulled the million tacks that held the cheesecloth backing in place. I did the carpentry work, repaired windows and doors, replaced the roof, patched the ceiling, and completed many other chores to get the house to the state of arrested decay. The house is far from complete, but it is habitable.
From the records we have and talking to neighbors, we think the house was built in the 1890’s. The materials were likely purchased as a kit and shipped from the west coast to the railhead in Winnemucca. The house is single-wall construction and sits on a foundation of stacked, flat rock.The walls are 1 x 12 rough-cut Douglas fir fastened with square nails; exterior walls have 1 x 4 batten on the outside. Shiplap siding was later added, probably in the late 1920’s, on the exterior.
A few years ago, Dori said that we needed to give the place a name. My immediate thought was back to the hot summer day replacing the roof and using a snow shovel to clean out the years of accumulated bird, bat, and mouse droppings from between the joists and I replied,”Hantavirus Hilton”. The name stuck.
The photos at the left show the house and its construction. The first photo is looking north from Bridge Street. The original wood shingle roof was replaced with a simple tin roof. Replacing the shiplap siding is one of the next scheduled projects.
The shiplap has been removed and the original exterior is exposed in the second photo. Note the sun shadows to the left (north) of the batten indicating that originally, the house had only the 1 x 12’s and inside wallpaper for insulation from the cold.
The exterior wall foundation and the floor joists rest on flat, stacked rock (no motar). The floor boards are 1 x 12 tounge and groove; when removed, the underside of the boards was as clean as the day they came from the sawmill. The floor had sunk about one and a half inches between the front and back rooms.
The attic shows the chimney was built at an angle so that it would vent in middle of the roof; the chimney accommodated 2 wood stoves in different rooms. Insulation and plywood are recent additions. Just to the left of the chimney, the top of the single board, interior wall is evident between the edge of the plywood and the window .