Ghosts of Carson: Children’s Home Cottages

Cottage #4

Cottage #4 was the only one that faced Stewart Street rather than being aligned along Fifth. It was the last of the four with a central courtyard. Later this was used as the Administration building for the DCFS.

I was among the first group of senior girls to move into the cottage on Stewart St. with our housemother, Martha Whitely. It was brand new and had state of the art kitchen appliances and a patio where we could barbecue in warm weather. We were able to do our own wash instead of helping in the laundry as we had done upon arrival, and each girl took a turn preparing dinner. Grace Giffen, the relief housemother, took all of us girls who were high school seniors (dressed in nice dresses with hats and white gloves), to the mother-daughter tea sponsored by the DAR of which she was a member. –Madelyn Colautti-Leonard

I also received the worst beating of my life there… perhaps deservedly, as I had punched a nun at the Catholic school on the hill, and beaten another child in the classroom to the point of hospitalization with a heavy book! Unquestionably in today’s society the perpetrator of my corporal punishment would’ve been charged with criminal abuse, as I was beaten with a plastic hose to the point of unconsciousness, however, I think Mrs. Rex carefully weighed the options; the most obvious being that should I do this again I would be sent to the reform school in Elko (a big step closer to a life of crime). Personally, I think she made the right choice – I never needed corporal punishment again, and became a well-mannered student. –Michael Corrieri

I was in the home with my sister from 80-83 in cottage 4 with Judy and Bill Routin (not impressed), my cottage sisters were the sisters Nicky, Brenda and Karen, then Heidi Ruff, my sister is Janyce, there was Grace and a few that came and went. I remember shawn from the far cottage cant remember the number, remember the Moores from cottage 5, brad, and a few others names just arent popping into my head. In our cottage as I have read on many others postings, we too went through some hell from our cottage parents but loved when mom peggy with her weiner dog, mom chris (the baker) would come that was our fun time. Remember hanging out at the playground til dark and running amok around the grounds with all the kids. Although I didnt enjoy exactly my time there looking back on it now it was probably better for me. -Debbie Keck

Mom Moore was an odd one. I think she had as many psychological issues as all of us juveniles did. Though on the surface she always seemed like a sweet woman, inside there was a control freak who could get mean if things were not just so. We had baseboard heaters in the bedrooms. Mom Moore told us that they were made special to draw air from all of our rooms into her room so she could smell it if we smoked anything. It was my first glimpse of the crazy side of her and it took a lot for me not to tell her I knew she was lying. -Misty VanHavel

Next Page: Cottage #5

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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