Bank of Sparks Building Added to National Register of Historic Places

The Bank of Sparks Building on Victorian Avenue in Sparks was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, state historic preservation officer Ron James announced today.

The National Register is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

"The building was recently added to the State Register of Historic Places this July," added James. "However, the National Register listing seals its importance as a historically significant site not just locally, but in American history."

Constructed in 1905, the Bank of Sparks building was listed in the National Register for its role in architecture, community planning and development, and commerce in early Sparks.

When completed the Bank of Sparks was the first one in Sparks and it proudly served railroad workers from the Southern Pacific Railroad.

The Bank of Sparks continued its operation until 1932, then becoming a First National Bank branch until 1950.

At that time First National decided to modernize their services and began searching for a suitable location that would accommodate automobile drive-up teller lanes.

Sparks Bootery business owner Harry Foote bought the Bank of Sparks building and moved the Bootery to the former bank building.

Today the Blue Garter Bridal and Tux boutique occupies the original bank.

The original Bank of Sparks building is a Romanesque Revival commercial property located at 10th Street and Victorian Avenue.

Typical features of Romanesque Revival include varied color tones in the construction material-dark red brick and roughly cut grey stone blocks-and a prominent, wide stone arch around the front window.

Americans are most familiar with the Romanesque Revival style of the original Smithsonian Castle, built in 1855.

"The Romanesque Revival architectural style was popular in the United States in the middle and late nineteenth century, so the Bank of Sparks building is a late appearance of Romanesque Revival," said James.

He added this architectural style is rare in northern Nevada.

Building owner Foote commissioned renowned Nevada architect Edward Parsons to design and build a children's clothing store onto the rear of the Bank of Sparks building.

Once the rear building was completed in 1955, the Carousel Shop was opened. An advertisement in the 1956 Reno-Sparks telephone directory reads, "CAROUSEL SHOP (Margie Foote) Clothing Children and Infants, 'Every Boy Is A Beau, Every Girl Is A Belle After Shopping At the Carousel', 210 10th, Tel Elgin 5-2992."

The original panels on the front façade painted with animals that might appear on a carousel are in a remarkably good state.

Overall, Parson's building is in excellent condition and is now home to The Herb Lady.

The 1955 addition, now itself over fifty years old, contributes to the overall significance of the Bank of Sparks building.

For a current list of properties in the State Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places, visit the State Historic Preservation Office's website at (click on SHPO).

For more information, call Terri McBride at 775-684-3445 or e-mail

The State Historic Preservation Office is an agency of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Department serves Nevada's citizens and visitors through cultural and information management, presentation and promotion of cultural resources, and education.

The Department also includes the Division of Museums and History, Nevada State Library and Archives, Nevada Arts Council, Comstock Historic District Commission, and Commission for Cultural Affairs.

For more information on the Department of Cultural Affairs, please call Teresa Moiola at (775) 687-8323 or visit the department's website at