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Bowers Mansion getting a facelift

By Carla O'Day

The 156-year-old Bowers Mansion, one of Washoe County’s top tourist attractions, will soon undergo a series of repairs.

Scheduled work includes repairing and replacing the mansion’s railing system, waterproofing deck surfaces, fixing plaster, restoring brick chimneys, a new roof system on the billiard room, painting the exterior, and replacing columns.

County commissioners on Tuesday awarded a $511,000 contract to Reno-based Sullivan Structures LLC. Work is expected to take 120 days. Money is coming from the county’s Parks Capital Fund.

Located in Bowers Mansion Regional Park, 4005 Bowers Mansion Road in Washoe Valley, the mansion offers a glimpse into 1860s Nevada life. L.S. “Sandy” Bowers and his wife earned their fortune from their silver mine near Gold Hill, becoming one of Nevada’s first Comstock Lode millionaires. They built the mansion in 1864 and traveled the world to furnish it.

The park has an outdoor pool, playground, pavilions, walking paths, and picnic areas, among other amenities. It hosts several events during the year, including Civil War reenactments and a summer concert series.

County officials stressed the importance of maintaining Bowers Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Nevada Register of Historic Places.

“In an effort to continue needed preservation of this valuable historic resource, the Community Services Department retained expert structural consultants specializing in historic buildings to provide the best course of action to preserve the Bowers Mansion,” Brett Steinhardt, a Washoe County project manager, wrote in a report to commissioners. “With the Mansion being over 150 years old and constructed with materials of stone and wood framing, the structure needs continual repair and maintenance for preservation.”

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