Bowers Mansion - Washoe Valley
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member CharlyBaltimore
N 39° 17.082 W 119° 50.438
11S E 254993 N 4352218
Nevada Historical Marker 166 located 11 miles north of Carson City on Old U. S. Highway 395
Waymark Code: WMBJ97
Location: Nevada, United States
Date Posted: 05/25/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Charter Member Marky
Views: 13

From Wikipedia:

The Bowers Mansion, located between Reno and Carson City, Nevada, was built in 1863 by Lemuel "Sandy" Bowers and his wife, Eilley, and is a prime example of the homes built in Nevada by the new millionaires of the Comstock Lode mining boom.

The land originally was purchased in 1856 by Eilley and her second husband Alex Cowan, who returned to Utah a year later with other Mormon settlers. Eilley secured a divorce and moved to Gold Hill where she ran a boarding house and later acquired the mining claim which, together with that belonging to her third husband Sandy, became the source of their fortune.

The mansion was the fulfillment of Eilley's dreams of prestige and respectability. The mansion, designed by J. Neely Johnson, a builder and ex-governor of California, combined Georgian Revival and Italianate architectural styles. It was modeled after a design conceived by Eilley based on her recollection of elegant buildings in her native Scotland. Indeed, the Bowers employed stonecutters from Scotland for the construction of their new home, which eventually cost $300,000 to build, an exorbitant sum in the 1860s. Eilley and Sandy toured Europe from 1861 to 1863, purchasing furniture, statuary, paintings and other adornments for their home.

Following the death of Sandy Bowers in 1868, Eilley fell on hard financial times. She generated income by renting out rooms in the mansion and hosting parties and picnics on the grounds. The mansion hosted a ball for the women's suffrage movement and was the location of the annual Miner's Ball. The period of 1873–75 was the height of the mansion's popularity.

However, this was not enough to overcome Eilley's debts and she finally lost her home to foreclosure in 1876. The mansion was abandoned by the time Henry Riter acquired it and operated it as a resort until 1946. The building is currently owned and operated by the Washoe County Parks Department. Some 500 Nevada families have donated period furniture housed in the mansion. The park blends the historical site with recreational facilities such as a spring-fed swimming pool, picnic areas, and a playground. Tours of the mansion are given in summer and autumn.
Marker Title (required): Bowers Mansion

Marker Number (If official State Marker from NV SHPO website above, otherwise leave blank): 166

Marker Text (required):
*HM 166* -- Bowers Mansion -- (Built 1864—Restored 1967) Location: Southern Washoe County, Washoe Valley Directions: Along Old US 395 (SR 429), 11 miles N of Carson City Location: 2 Visibility: 1 Accessibility: 1 Marker type: St (M) Date Conquered: 6/16/07 Nearest Intersection: Franktown Rd (SR 877) Quick Description: A unique marker honoring the Bowers', one of the first people ever to benefit from the Comstock Lode's rich output. Signed: No -- Historically, this marker was signed along Old 395 (SR 429). (No signs exist today.) Full Description: Bowers Mansion is another reminder of the Comstock bonanza. Lemuel S. "Sandy" and Eilley Orrum Bowers were probably the first millionaires produced by the fabulous find in Gold Canyon. As strangers, they had adjoining claims. After a rich vein was struck, they were soon married and had the mansion built. Misfortune followed fortune and soon all was lost. The richness of their vein gave out; a new mill was destroyed; financiers balked. Then Sandy died in 1868. Maneuvering to make the property self-sustaining, Eilley struggled on, finally, in 1878, losing the mansion by foreclosure to Myron C. Lake. Thereupon, the property had a succession of owners including Henry Riter, who managed it as a popular resort from 1903 to 1946. Eilley Orrum Bowers had died in 1903, in poverty and unwittingly, she and Sandy left a legacy to Nevada.

County (required): Washoe (Reno)

Marker Type (required): Full Size (with blue painted mesh)

Is Marker Damaged? (required): No

Other Damage Type (optional): none

URL - Website (optional): [Web Link]

Other Marker Type (optional): Not listed

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