Ghosts of Carson: Children’s Home Cottages

Cottage #1

Cottages #1-4 are all identical. They wrap around a central courtyard on three sides, with several doors opening into that courtyard. There are also doors around the outside of the building, and architectural features such as a large flower box. #1 is overgrown with vines in some places, and it has a sign identifying it as Diamond Springs Station. Apparently it was also known as Friday Station at one point.

I was at the Carson City children’s home from 1973-1975. I was the vicitm of quite alot of abuse in my home so the juvenile authorities placed me at the children’s home to live. I was a big troublemaker there, always running away and stealing to get money and food. Most of the time in those days I got beat up by the older kids. I have found that most of us that have had troubled childhoods, like most of the kids at the home had, end up being the most effective ministers once God gets ahold of us. -James Hartline

I was in Cottage 1 with Mom and Dad Head starting in November of 75, and ending my “stay” in June of 78 with Dad and Mom Bradford. I found out later that he went to prison for molesting the girls in cottage 5 I think it was. I remember visiting after I had left the Bradford’s at Cottage 5 (or was it 6), and remember noticing then one of the girls sitting on his lap. I thought even then, “this ain’t right.” I had dinner with them, never had a problem with the Bradford’s. The Heads were a little more strict, but as an adult with 4 children myself, I appreciated more what they did, and a lot of the fun times I had there. I remember feeling a lot of shame, and didn’t “feel normal” when I went to the local junior high in Carson, but like I said, overall it was kind of a trip. –Jeff Conway

I worked in the Friday Station from 1997-2001. At the time Friday station was the 2nd cottage from the corner of 5th and Roop. Friday station was the Fiscal cottage for the division of child and family services. My office had one of the bigger bedrooms with a large window. We had nice grass and rose bushes, lilacs, and the large cotton wood trees. Once we found an old year book from Carson high in the closet that happened to be from my senior year 1984. We all wanted it. Not sure who got to keep it. The other cottages had names too at the time. The eligibility workers were in the first cottages and our director and senior staff was on the furthest cottage by the old girls and boys club. We used the old barn for storage. -Cindy Macall

Those months I spent there were some of the best I had in my youth. I ate every day, several times if I wanted to. I went to school every day, and even though I said I hated school, it was nice to almost fit in for once. I also had adults that I had to answer to for the first time that I could remember; Mom and Dad Moore Monday through Friday, and Mom Barbara on the weekends, with semi regular visits from my probation officer Mary Joe Ferrara. It was a structured environment, something I had supposedly been rebelling against through my teen years. But I loved it. It was what “normal” children had in their everyday lives, and it felt good to pretend for a while. -Misty VanHavel

Next Page: Cottage #2

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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