Ghosts of Carson: Children’s Home Cottages

Other Buildings

There are other buildings around the property as well, other remnants from the Children’s Home. There is a long building clad in dark wood that I believe was the cafeteria. A low stone building that I was told was the cafeteria originally, but which looks like it had a more industrial use. And a Quonset hut that apparently was used as a maintenance shed. Next to the Quonset hut was the site of the old bowling alley, which was demolished some years ago. There is also a large grassy area here, which is still used for people to come play catch with their dogs.

My sisters, brother and I lived at the home in 1976-1977. I remember we all did get separated from each other based on age. We didn’t see my little brother for months. I have a vivid picture in my head of what it was like there. I remember eating alot of apple jacks for breakfast:) -Candy Guenther

Its amazing to see all the different stuff that had happened to my fellow residents. I was fortunate enough to have mom and dad Head as cottage parents. In the seventies as we all know child abuse was just getting attention. And the methods used to correct children was also in the midst of change. To those who suffered needlessly and had been further abused by the people the state gave you to I am truly sorry, and that should have never taken place. But also remember the fellow residents who would break into houses, be disrespectful, out of control and would challenge any kind of authority no matter who they were. I never was beaten, molested, and in fact i had more trouble with “some” of the children trying to tell me to break the law and, a couple of times I did. the only difference was We didn’t get caught. But I don’t think I would’ve been a better person if I had not gone to the childrens home. Because there I knew I was loved by Mom and Dad Head. –Steven Doherty

Mom Barbara was our weekend parent. She was old enough to be my grandmother but “cooler” than most of the people I knew my own age. She was the first “grandmotherly” aged woman I had ever seen wear t-shirts, jeans and Nikes. Being in the system as long as I had been, I was used to seeing women in skirts and pantyhose and if there was ever a pair of pants to be seen among them, they were polyester slacks. Yuck!! Mom Barbara was a great friend and I will never forget her. She made the best potato soup ever. She and I would make it together every other Saturday. We would peel potatoes together and we would talk about what she had done all week. She’d ask questions about me and my life and she often asked me to think about the future and how I would like things to be. She told me I was a smart kid and had the potential for great things. No one had ever said things like that to me before. But we’d talk and laugh and she did this one arm hug thing that I loved. And the soup was always so good. All my cottage sisters were about sick of it. But I loved it, and if I thought I could have convinced Mom Barbara to have it every weekend, I would have tried. She was the first person I truly respected. I remember thinking after doing something stupid that she was going to be disappointed in me, and I remember it hurting. Realizing that I cared about an adult who in return cared about me changed my life forever. I learned from her that not all adults were like my mother. She showed me that there were adults that really did love me. And she taught me how to make the best potato soup ever. Maybe it was not so much the soup as it was the time I spent with Mom Barbara that I loved so much. And the one arm hugs. Either way, they are great memories. -Misty VanHavel

14 comments

  1. I think it is a horrible idea to demolish part of Carson City’s history. So many buildings have been lost to demolition and fire. I can’t believe something can’t be done to renovate these buildings back to some sort of useful purpose for our community. How about asking your readers what they would suggest if we could save them?

  2. Have you seen the book..”my life as a home kid: Nevada State Orphan/Children”s Home” ?The author Bonnie Boice Nichkawa lived there from the age of 3 till she was 18.

  3. This is a much needed home again for children can’t we keep it for children in need again. No matter how but it should be kept for kids. The foster care system in this city needs to be expanded there is so much need how can we use this property to help somebody.

  4. I grew up in Carson City, I had a lot of friends from the home. I Loved them all. we all need a little love and friendship from time to time. I wish I could find some of them Like Kenny Medeiros he was a great friend, who taught me how to walk again after falling off a horse, he got me through a really hard time and I would love to say thank you after all this time. Great People came from this place. I think is should still be open for the children.

  5. I would love it if they could restore them, but the cost is so high to remove the asbestos. It is hard to see them rot and will be sad if they tear them down. So many of us in the community are connected to these cottages. Mine was cottage #4 and am so thankful for the love and care I received!

  6. I agree that these homes should again go towards troubled youth in Carson City!! I grew up here, and I still live here now and i see homeless people with young children all over! Can’t we maybe use these homes for those families if not for the kids in general?? Why do they insist on destroying everything around here?? We dont need more office spaces…there are buildings with space open for rent all over town we need to fill those first!!

  7. The last stop in my time as a ward of the state was cottage 6, with Mom and Dad Gay. They were really good people, who did right by me. I wish I had given them the thanks they deserve.

  8. I’ve got so many memories from here. Met a lot of friends living at the homes when I lived in Carson City. I wish I could reconnect with everyone.

  9. I was in Cottage 5 from 1965-1978. My first cottage parents were the Lennox’s but not for very long. We then were blessed with Ad & Stew Osborne, what amazing people. My sister, Kay, was in cottage 5 as well and my brothers, Dale, Carl & Jay were in cottage e2with the Rex’s then the Smith’s. We had Hattie Becker loved her, hated that vacuum. I remember the Christmas dinner that the Harold’s Club employees did every year, Jack Kogen & Wilber May’s generosity. Two weeks at the 4-H camp every summer. Vacations in August,going to Europe. But mostly I remember the kids. Katy, Peggy, Diane , Gayle, Sandy, Debbie, Chris, Erin, Sarah & Cheryl, Rusty, Eugene, Jimmy, Zephas, and so many others. And some not so fond, Pat Reddick, but mostly I have great memories. I hope when some start to think only bad thoughts that they remember what their lives were like before they ended up at NSCH. Find the good stuff and let the rest go. ( well, except for Pat Reddick😉).

  10. The long building in section 11was the original commissary. The wood building was the new commissary. The old commissary has a side door where we took all our sheets on Saturday to be sent to the prison for cleaning.

  11. My sister worked there when 1 house was used for an emergency shelter for kids thru Volunteers of America. I agree they should not be destroyed wish they could be used for the homeless or someone in need. I wish they could remodel them and use them for a service for people. Not for office building.

  12. The seetest thing in the world to me at that time lived in cottage 7. My father a very predjudiced man even to this day says horrible things about the Native American indians in particular the Piaute Indian. But i really love one her name “Jennifer Zuniga” she was beautiful and soft spoken. There were a few times I tried to let her know , but this blond haired blue eyed kid well just wasnt her type lol. I have told my father about her in the most possitive way I could , but he is old and set in his ways.

  13. I lived in this cottage for 2 years 1972 -1974 directly accross from cottage 7. We used to store our bikes on the patio, and I also remember the year they put in that stinky tennis court. Used to play every hour imaginable in the basketball courts up near the main office, and remember the commissary, the special suckers on the sticks that we used to be treated to. My trips to my best friend Rico james’s home down the road. jumping kids with our bikes and make shift ramps. I believe jumping 6 was the limit for me. the baseball field, and the little playground is gone. I had my first french kiss on that baseball field lol. I forgot her name she was sweet but myself a little scared of the whole thing. Going to the public pool in the summer where I learned how to swim after almost drowning in the Carson City River with the guys looking on stunned because i didnt come back up after falling into a fish hole lol. The trip to San Diego, the Worlds fair in Spokane Wa. The trip I took with Mom and Dad Head to san francisco with their two grand daughters. I missed my brothers and sisters at home but I didnt miss the abuses. If i had had it my way . I have pictures of me outside of Cottage one back in the day. A blonde haired blue eyed kid with leathery skin from all the time spent outside. I have a good memory and i can recall many things about being there, just as if it happened yesterday. Like the time I got caught by motorists fro throwing snowballs at traffic. I in my big old snow boots just couldnt run fast enough to get away lol. But i never told who was with me when we were diing these kid things lol !!!

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