Press Association may get new home in Carson City mansion

The 125-year-old Rinckel Mansion in Carson City could become home to the Nevada Press Foundation and the Nevada Press Association.

The foundation has made an offer to purchase the white, two-story building at the corner of Curry and King streets, foundation secretary-treasurer Kent Lauer said Wednesday.

The press foundation, formed a year ago as an educational offshoot of the press association, will apply to another foundation for funding of the purchase, Lauer said.

"We haven't even made that application yet, so to call it a purchase would be premature," he said.

The building would house the foundation offices, journalism students working as interns to cover state government and the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, Lauer said.

"The foundation also would lease space to the Nevada Press Association for its offices," Lauer said. "And we've looked at the possibility of leasing office space to the Capitol bureau reporters for press organizations."

That could include the state news bureaus of the Associated Press, the Nevada Appeal, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun. Currently, the Associated Press and the three newspapers are using office space in the Capitol basement at no charge.

Lauer, also press association executive director, said the foundation will acquire or build a permanent home even if the Rinckel Mansion deal falls through.

The 3,800-square-foot mansion is desirable, he said, because it is only a block from the Capitol and its historic character would provide an appropriate setting for the hall of fame.

"The foundation would be doing the community a service by preserving a historic building in the community," Lauer said. "The building would be spruced up and kept in tip-top shape under foundation ownership."

The two-story example of French Victorian architecture was built from 1874-76 by Mathias Rinckel as a way to placate his wife, Marcella Elizabeth Coffee Rinckel.

She was from Staten Island, N.Y., and hated the raw, dusty frontier territory of Nevada. Rinckel promised to build her "a house befitting a queen." They moved in at Christmas 1876.

Rinckel operated the Eagle Market butcher shop out of a two-story brick building he built at Carson and Proctor streets. He also owned a horse racing track on East Musser Street at the current site of the Carson City Sheriff's Office.

Much of the 1942 film "Remarkable Andrew," starring William Holden, was filmed in and around the Rinckel Mansion. Louise Rinckel Blakeslee, who inherited the mansion in 1933, maintained the home as a time capsule of 1876 and it operated as a museum until about 1970. Its furnishings were sold at an estate auction in 1971.

In the 1990s, the historic building has served as commercial space. A restaurant called The Carlson House was located on the mansion's main floor in the mid-1990s. "Murder mysteries" were conducted in the mansion from time to time and it is a popular stop on historical tours and the annual "Ghost Walk."

Another restaurant, Cafe Del Rio, operated briefly in 1998.

The Rinckel Mansion is listed on the city assessor's roles as owned by Mitchell W. Jordan of Reno. A telephone call to Jordan's home was not returned by press time Wednesday.


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