Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The History of the Holdout House

Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Shortlink

It’s sad that it took demolition for somebody to finally do the digging, but the Nevada Appeal has put together a story on the holdout house on Stewart Street. I first wrote about this house four years ago, a lonely place that was all that remained of what was once a quiet, unremarkable neighborhood a couple of blocks away from downtown. All the other houses along Stewart Street had been torn down years ago, the most recent one about 10 years ago or so. I dimly remember a house at Stewart and Proctor that was removed, either demolished or trucked away to somewhere else. This house, though, had stood forever, resisting all offers from the Carson Nugget to buy it and turn it into another few stalls in its sprawling parking lot.

The resistance is no more. Last year the owners of the house finally sold. I noted in February that crews were clearing out the yard, cutting down the trees and taking out the trash. And last week the fire department was using the house for training, filling it with smoke and sending trainees in to find and rescue dummies that were stuck inside. The big finale will come tomorrow, when the house is actually set fire and burned down, then the remains bulldozed.

All of this is in service of the City Center project, which seems to be an unstoppable force that is coming whether we like it or not. This land will soon be home to the new library, or a public square, or a drab office building or some such uninspired thing. It’s the story of the house, though, that hasn’t come to light until now. Apparently there really was a cranky old man who lived in the house and refused to sell it when the Nugget was gobbling up land for their giant parking lot. Joseph Righi lived in the house for decades and turned down every offer to sell. When his wife died in 1990 she gave the house to their friends in Fallon, and they’ve held onto it ever since, renting it out. Recently another old man had taken up residence in the house, a survivalist who hoarded bottled water and anti-government books. He was the one who was living there in 2007 when these pictures were taken, pictures of the house looking lived in, but not necessarily taken care of.

Last year the old man died, and the Nugget got serious about buying the house again because of the City Center project. So this time when they made an offer on the house, the owners accepted. And so the saga of this house comes to an end. It’s good to know a little bit, at least about the recent history of the house. It would be good to find out more about the early history of the house and the neighborhood, and see what this area used to be like back when the train tracks still ran down Stewart Street and before the Nugget had swallowed up eight blocks of parking lot.

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