Eleven Buildings Added To Historical Register

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Ten buildings in the historic mining town of Austin, including the Stokes Castle and three churches, have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Reno's 100-plus-year-old Pearl Upson House, known for its late Victorian architectural style, also made the list.

The 11 are among more than 300 Nevada buildings listed in the national register and 200 in a similar state register.

Members of the Austin Historical Society hailed the designation, saying it would help lure tourists to the town along U.S. Highway 50 about 170 miles east of Reno.

Like other rural Nevada towns, Austin is turning to heritage tourism to help cushion the blow of struggling mining and ranching industries.

"The listing of these sites in the national register will increase the number of stopover days that travelers spend in Austin and attract new visitors to the area," said society spokesman Ray Williams.

All but one of the buildings dates back to Austin's heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. At one time, it was Nevada's second largest city with 10,000 people.

The exception was the three-story Stokes Castle, a replica of a tower outside Rome. Built of granite in 1897 for eastern financier Anson Phelps Stokes, its roof was an outdoor living room surrounded by curtains.

Two of the churches that made the list - the Methodist Church and St. Augustine's Catholic Church - were built in 1866. The third, St. George's Episcopal Church, dates back to 1878.

Also making the register were the Gridley Store, old city hall, county courthouse, Masonic and Odd Fellows Hall, Nevada Central Railroad turntable and Austin Cemetery.

Meanwhile, northwest Reno's Pearl Upson House was built about 1902 in the Queen Anne style, said Mella Harmon of the State Historic Preservation Office.

It's located on Jones Street in the city's Powning Addition, which dates back to the 1880s.

"The remaining Queen Anne homes in the addition, as represented by the Pearl Upson House, are especially significant as reflecting the initial settlement phase of the subdivision," Harmon said.