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[graphic] Three Historic Nevada Cities Carson City, Reno, Virginia City A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[photo] Heroes Memorial Building
Photo by Terri McBride, Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
The Carson City Public Buildings is a governmental complex of three building--the Heroes Memorial Building, Ormsby County Courthouse and Nevada Supreme Court--designed by architect Frederic DeLongchamps (1882-1969). DeLongchamps maintained an architectural practice in Reno from 1907 to 1965. During his career, the architect was responsible for the design of more than 500 public, commercial and residential buildings, the majority of which were constructed in his native state of Nevada. The son of French Canadian immigrants, DeLongchamps was born in Reno on June 2, 1882. He received a degree in mining engineering from the University of Nevada-Reno in 1904, and after briefly pursing a mining career and working in the U.S. Surveyor's Office, moved to San Francisco in 1906 and served as an architect's apprentice. One year later, he returned to Reno and established an architectural firm with a colleague from the Surveyor's Office, and together they won commissions for approximately 30 buildings between 1907 and 1909. He began his solo career in 1909 when he won the design competition for the Washoe County Courthouse. Throughout his career he favored stone, brick and terra cotta as building materials, enlivening facades by using contrasting stone colors in a variety of patterns.

[photo] Ormsby County Courthouse
Photo by Terri McBride, courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office

DeLongchamps holds the distinction of being the only person to serve as Nevada's State Architect. He was appointed to the position on April 10, 1919, and served for two years until the post was temporarily abolished, then reappointed in 1923 and served until the position was permanently abolished in 1926. While holding this office, DeLongchamps began the development of the governmental complex in Carson City across the street from the Nevada State Capitol . The three buildings dramatically illustrate the evolution of the architect's public architecture between the 1920s and 1930s. The twin Heroes Memorial Building (1921) and Ormsby County Courthouse (1920-1922) were designed while DeLongchamps was serving as State Architect, and are monumental, Neo-Classical buildings. Both buildings have large pedimented porticos supported by four Doric columns. The Heroes Memorial Building was designed as "a fitting memorial to Nevada Soldiers who gave their lives in the service of the United States in the European War" (World War I).

[photo] Nevada Supreme Court
Photo by Terri McBride, Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
A decade later, when the Supreme Court had outgrown its single-room quarters in the Capitol, DeLongchamps was awarded the commission for a new building, which he designed in a compatible but distinctly Moderne style. Today the Heroes Memorial Building and Supreme Court house the Nevada Attorney General's Office. The Ormsby County Courthouse housed the Carson City (formerly Ormsby County) courts until 1999 when it was acquired by the State, and it is currently being remodeled for use by the Nevada State Attorney General's office as well. Although not listed in the National Register of Historic Places, of interest is the granite fountain in front of the Supreme Court, presented to Carson City in 1909 by the National Humane Alliance to provide fresh water for passing horses and pets. Water pours out of small bronze lions heads with open mouths into a large drinking bowl for horses, mounted four feet off the ground, and small cups are located at the base for dogs and cats.

The Heroes Memorial Building, Ormsby County Courthouse and Nevada Supreme Court are located at 100-198 S. Carson St. in Carson City. The Heroes Memorial Building and the Nevada Supreme Court ( both now part of the Nevada Attorney General's Office) are open to the pubic during regular business hours, 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday. The Ormsby County Courthouse is not currently open to the public.

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