Every town has its quirky little secret spots. There are always the famous attractions that everyone knows about and visits; in Carson that would be the Capitol and the Museum and everything downtown. Then there are the little out of the way places that mostly only locals know about, that bring a smile every time you pass by. In Carson City that was definitely Fort Carson. This house, at the corner of Arrowhead and Emerson Streets in the north part of town, has always had an eclectic variety of decorations in the yard. It’s perhaps most famous for the Lady Godiva statue, watching over traffic at the corner, but over the years more and more decorations have been added. A moon rover, a rowboat, a UFO. And the house itself was remodeled, looking less and less like an ordinary suburban house, and more like an Old West town. A sign advertising the Bates Motel went up some time ago, followed by another one proclaiming the place as Fort Carson. The back half of an airplane protruded from the side of the house. Every inch of the place was covered with something, and there was always more being added. It didn’t go unnoticed. The house with Lady Godiva was known by many people around town, and if you were giving out of towners a driving tour of Carson City, you’d probably end up cruising by. It also had a page on RoadsideAmerica.com, which celebrates weird and unique places like this all over the country.
The house was the home and brainchild of Rudy Romo, owner of R&S Heating & Appliance. He did work at Incline Village, and that’s where many of the items came from. Lady Godiva was formerly on display at the King’s Castle casino in Incline Village, and was disposed of when that hotel rebranded as the Hyatt Regency. Rudy got a bunch of leftover fire hydrants from the city when they redid their water lines. He also got decorations from the Ponderosa Ranch up there when they closed. The Nevada Appeal did a feature on him and his house at least twice, once in 2001 and once in 2007. This house has always been a joy to drive by and look at all the stuff. Sometimes I’d deliberately detour onto Arrowhead if I wasn’t in a hurry, just to see it. All these photos are from 2014 when I decided to focus on getting some pictures of the place. And below are a couple from 2006, before the bulk of the renovations. I feel like I’ve probably taken more over the years. If I come across more I’ll add them to this post.
Sadly, Rudy Romo died in August 2022 in a motorcycle accident. The house has passed on to his family. And without his creative spirit to guide things, they didn’t continue with the yard display. They have been having estate sales, selling off the artwork, and I believe the house itself will be sold too. I went down last week to see what it looks like now, and the place looks so barren. The Old West additions to the house are almost all that’s left.
With Rudy’s passing comes the end of an era. In years to come we can reminisce about the house on the corner and tell newcomers what they missed out on. But the legacy of Rudy and his art will live on. The pieces of yard art that were sold might turn up where you least expect them, decorating yards around town. I know that the Lady Godiva statue was acquired by the Downtown Vintage Market, and will be on display at the market at the corner of Stewart and Spear (seen below). If I can find any other pieces, I’ll let you know.