Check out a tour of the renovated Redfield Mansion on Mt. Rose Street!

by Mike Van Houten / Jul 18, 2016

I was invited to tour a recently renovated Redfield Mansion, aka "The Stone House", located on Mt. Rose Street just east of Plumas, nestled between the recently completed Cottage Row at Midtown project, a suite of new homes with a Craftsman-bungalow flair. 

There was a rumor going around the mansion was going to be converted into a clubhouse that the homeowners of Cottage Row would be able to utilize, but it was way too difficult to formulate the HOA fees. So, it's going on the market for $1.2 million. Wanna buy it? 

The house was built with almost identical floor plans for the upper and lower levels, as a duplex, with the upper floor being one unit and the lower floor being a unit. There's a staircase within the property that connects the two units, and the upper unit also has its own separate outside unit. I assume the new owner, if they choose to keep it as a duplex, will close off the interior staircase connecting the two units. If I had the money to buy it, I would turn into one giant bachelor pad. 

The interior of the house is gorgeous, with giant, sprawling open rooms, remodeled kitchens, and beautiful views. Check out the photos below! 

Upstairs kitchen

The view from the upstairs kitchen 

Can't buy this at Ikea! 

The basement! 

A house with a secret passage! 

And below are some photos supplied by Tanamara. 

This house has a lot of history too. Here are some quores from historians and admirers of the house. 

“He was Reno’s eccentric multi-millionaire, ma mystery man who lived as a recluse in his stone castle, a shrewd bargainer, a land owner who jealously guarded his territory…dressed in an inconspicuous and near shabby fashion in worn trousers…his chief diversion was gambling… The Internal Revenue Service got him on income tax evasion…[and] he also figured in a bizarre robbery…with the defendant a French divorcee who was identified as [his] mistress.” – Ty Cobb

“I’m thrifty,” Redfield once said, “but not stingy.” And his thrift was-and still is-legendary in Reno. “If I can save a nickel on an item,” he said, “I buy it by the case saving one or two dollars, if I hadn’t done that all my life, I’d be just like so any people today-one step ahead of the bill collector.” – Redfield and Jack Harpster

From the top of the hill where they would build the house, there was an unobstructed view north to downtown, south to Mount Rose rising majestically in the distance and west to cattle grazing lazily in green pastures.
The floor plan of the home would duplicate a large brownstone the family had once owned in Brooklyn, according to August Hill’s great-grandson Richard Hill a Reno attorney. It would be two identical levels, each one 1,814 square feet, each of the two duplex suites would have four bedrooms and two baths with walk-in showers, as well as identical living rooms, dining rooms, tiled kitchen and fireplaces. August would reside in one level, and William and his wife in the other. There would also be a 1,424-square-foot unfinished basement under the house and two narrow but deep garages burrowed into the side of the hill at street level on Mount Rose Street. A large riser of stone stairs, crowed by a stonework arch at street level, led from the garages up to the house on top of the hill.
It was not the floor plan, however, that would make the home one of the most unique buildings in the state and as fresh and distinctive today as it was more than three-quarters of a century ago when it was completed. It was the building material. The house would be built entirely of native Truckee Meadows river stone. – Jack Harpster

The stone house at 370 Mount rose Street had appealed to La Vere the first time he saw it. “LaVere loved the home and he kept talking about it,” Nell said in a newspaper interview years later after LaVere’s death. “One day he walked in and I could tell by the look in his face that he had bought it. I thought it was too big, and it would be too much work, but LaVere didn’t think so. He admired it.” – Nell Redfield

The house has since become known as the Hill/Redfield mansion. A description of the house is provided in its nomination papers for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, although it has never gained that distinction. – Jack Harpster

“The grand river rock residence is the largest and most prominent of several dozen river rock houses in Reno. This indigenous river rock type culminates in the five level, Period Revival…residence, with its design elements derived from the English Cottage style…[including] a prominent steeply pitched roof; a sharply mounted gable facing front; scant roof overhang; and the use of a “natural” construction material which integrates the house with the surrounding terrain. – National Register of Historical Places Nomination

It was called the nation’s record burglary at the time, and it was important enough the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover even commented publicly when the ringleader was arrested. – Jack Harpster

“If police estimates on the amount in the safe prove correct, the burglary will be one of the largest on record,’” the Nevada State Journal reported. “The largest cash robbery in the history was the $1,219,000 holdup of Brinks Armored Car office in Boston in 1950.” One of the policemen on the scene went a step further: “This makes the Brinks job look like kid stuff.” – Jack Harpster

The total haul was reportedly close to $3 million. However, the final tally provided later by the FBI was $2.5 million, more than $20 million at today’s currency rate. – Jack Harpster

A note attached to the will explained where the coin and currency could be found:
“Find the exact center of the wall at the north end of the basement at 370 Mt. Rose. St., and drive a hole through it large enough to permit you to crawl through. There you will find coin in the amount shown on the three accompanying sheets. [The sheets were never made public.]
PS: I suggest you retain it as is, for the reason that some of it commands a premium at this time and all of it should increase in value over a period of years.” – LaVere’s will

It was like Nevada’s famous Comstock Lode silver discovery all over again to the six men in the dank cellar. – Jack Harpster

“A huge pile of canvas bags, all filled with coins. Some were sealed; some were not. One bag that broke as we handled it contained uncirculated silver dollars dated 1879. On a tag it said $1,000…We found fourteen huge silver bars, each worth $3,500, and six smaller bags, worth how much? I don’t know. Some of the bags the men carried and piled near the back door must have weighted as least 100 pounds. Others were smaller, and some still smallest bags we believed must contain gold coins or gold bars, but we did not take time to open them.” – Clel Evan Georgetta

It is worth remembering that in the 407,000 counts reported we have not a collection but a hoard. – Coin expert Paul M. Green writing for Numismatic News

Post your comments
  • July 18, 2016 - 10:33:34 AM

    Check out that great original bathroom tile. Just gorgeous! And the basement with secret rooms where the silver dollars were stored for decades!

  • July 18, 2016 - 11:18:37 AM

    For such an extravagant home and the price you would think that the kitchens would be more modernized.

  • July 18, 2016 - 12:45:18 PM

    Great photos, spectacular property with so much history.

  • July 18, 2016 - 12:50:59 PM

    For that much money one might opt for something in a nicer part of the Old Southwest that doesn't have a subdivision shoved up it's arse.

  • July 18, 2016 - 1:03:51 PM

    Considering the homes in that new sub-division all sold in the mid to upper $400,000's and have virtually no yard, I doubt whoever would buy this would consider the closeness as a factor. If having a bigger yard is that important to a person, they could always go for one of the historic mansions on sale on California Avenue from anywhere between $3.5 million and $16 million. Or you could get a stucco McMansion out in ArrowCreek or the new ones at at Sommersett going for $1 million a piece. It's the history and the architecture that make this house amazing.

  • July 18, 2016 - 2:42:10 PM

    $1.2m seems rather cheap for a place like this actually.

  • July 18, 2016 - 6:41:31 PM

    I grew up a few blocks west of the Redfield house. It's east of Plumas, not Arlington. Children thought it was a haunted house where nobody except maybe ghosts lived. There were never lights on in the house or out. You never saw evidence of life. On Halloween, in large numbers, we would climb the million stairs and ring the bell. Year after year, the door was never opened. Further evidence of ghosts.

  • July 18, 2016 - 11:39:12 PM

    Can somebody tell me what was on the land before the Cottage Row was built? I was surprise that they have such a big plot of land in midtown.

  • July 19, 2016 - 1:57:42 AM

    Reno is rated seismic hazard zone 4 (the highest, same as SF and LA, though our peak shaking hazards are lower.) It's been illegal to build unreinforced masonry structures here for decades because of the danger of collapse during shaking. For 30 years California has had a program to catalog and retrofit all URMs in Zone 4. Nevada has its own seismic safety recommendations and resources: The fault hazards map shows that the lovely hill the house is on top of is actually a fault trace that has moved within the last 130,000 years. Standard URMs built from bricks or cinderblocks are today considered unacceptably dangerous. A multistory building made of rounded river stones has very little chance of standing up to a large earthquake. The house is beautiful, and when it was built people didn't know any better about seismic risk. We do now, and anyone bidding on that house should consider including the time, expense and aesthetic impacts of steel framing and a new (non river rock) foundation before habitation. If the historic listing prevents those modifications, I personally would consider the house not worth the risk to live in.

  • April 22, 2017 - 6:35:54 AM

    God the art deco sconces and the tile in the bathrooms alone are incredible. I HATE the kitchen, they did a remodel in the 80's it looks like, someone should restore it to how it should look but other than that the house is gorgeous and so interesting.

  • June 22, 2017 - 6:50:41 PM

    BAD choice in cabinets ! "CHEAP and TACKY"

  • June 23, 2017 - 1:03:38 AM

    My stepfather, Ed Chapman, lived there in his high school days. His mother, Grace, married Billy Hill (of Hill& Sons) and it was his house. She had stashed my stepfather in a boys orphanage in North Carolina for some years after his father died in an accident. She was a nurse and knew there was work in the Sierras at a TB sanitorium. Her train stopped in Reno and someone came aboard asking for nurses to help assist people who were dropping on the dance floor in those marathon dances of the day. She jumped off to help, met Billy Hill and married him, then sent for her son, Edwin, who had quite an enormous adjustment to make in his young life.

  • June 23, 2017 - 4:57:47 PM

    As really young kids, we lived on Humboldt Street a few blocks up Mt Rose. If we were walking past it, we would cross the street. That imposing rock house scared the devil out of us. Im thrilled to see its' renovation. Once I got over my initial fear of it, I have always liked the craftsmanship involved with it.