The Renaissance Village
Renaissance Village Map by Darl Clark
English House
AMPHITHEATRE
THE RAILROAD HOUSES

In 1907 the following excerpt appeared in the
White Pine News:


HOUSES FOR RAILROAD MEN
Six dwellings going up at Eighth Street and
Avenue B in Ely City which will be occupied by
railroad men employed by the Nevada
Northern about the yards, most of whom are
married and anxious to bring their families.
Other houses will be erected as the force of
railroad workers is increased.
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Renaissance Village Beginnings
By Betty Orr

It was first assumed that the five matching
houses here at the Renaissance Village were
section houses, placed along the line for the
Nevada Northern section bosses. But further
research revealed that section houses were of
a different dimension being rectangular in
shape. (The railroad houses here measure 24 x
24 feet.) Bill Geraghty bought the railroad
houses and moved them to their present site
in the early 20’s. Originally there were six
matching houses but one had been sold when
Geraghty bought the remaining five. These
had been built at 8th and B Street in East Ely in
1907 to house railroad yard workers. A sixth
house was substituted and it is slightly larger
and has a different floor plan. This is now used
as an artist studio.  Insurance papers recently
discovered have diagrams of the Railroad
houses and their placement on the property.

Bill Geraghty and his two brothers came to Ely
from Devonshire England in 1906. Soon he
decided to go into business and developed a
freighting and storage business. He married
Jessie Meddaford in 1908 here and they made
their home near where Murry and Mill Streets
converge. A few years later in 1911, the young
family moved up to this property on Ely Street.  

Bill Geraghty purchased Lot seven, in Block
four in December, 1913 and acquired the other
lots and houses in 1925. Here the family lived
for many years. According to a recently
discovered note written by Bill and Jessie
Geraghty’s daughter, Melba, she and her
parents first moved to this property on Ely
Street in 1911. She was two years old at the
time. The first house the family lived in was  
#454. Then, in 1915, Bill bought #448. He added
a kitchen to this two room house, which, with
furniture and kitchen utensils, he purchased
for $125.00.

The Geraghty “White Transfer and Storage
Company” prospered. It was also a distributor
of coal which was purchased in Salt Lake City.
Bill Geraghty picked up freight from the
Nevada Northern Railway and delivered the
supplies and merchandise to the various
businesses in town.

Bill Geraghty bought interest in several Elko
County mines as well. He also provided Ely’s
first service station, located about sixth or
seventh and Aultman. William Geraghty was
killed when his truck rolled north of McGill in
August of 1941. He was 64 years old.

After his death, his daughter, Melba Geraghty,
continued to occupy the property until a few
years ago. She passed away in 2007.  A
younger son, Bill, makes his home in the San
Francisco Bay area.
Brother Tom Geraghty started the McGill
Transfer and Storage Company in 1907. The
third brother owned the Merrycourt Dance
Pavilion located between Aultman and
Campton Streets. Sometimes the pavilion was
flooded and used for ice skating which was a
popular pastime.

In 2005, the Ely Renaissance Society
purchased the entire parcel with the intent of
restoring the buildings and establishing an art
center to preserve a snapshot of our rich
history depicted by our murals.  It has been
named the Renaissance Village. Houses are
being refurnished to reflect the ethnic groups
that came to the Ely area. The restoration is
being done by volunteers who spend many
hours scraping paint, refinishing furniture, and
cleaning up the site. Workers have cleaned
the exteriors but managed to retain the
integrity of the buildings. Much work had been
done by members of  men from the NFS Honor
Camp crews, White Pine High School Honor
Society,  and members of the Renaissance
Society.

The little railroad houses were just three
rooms: a tiny living room, a fair sized kitchen
dominated by a large wood range, and a single
bedroom. It too, was small. Each house had a
bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub plus a
“modern” stool with a ceiling-high tank with a
flushing apparatus. A front porch welcomed
visitors.
By Lorraine Clark

The Ely Renaissance Village is open on
Saturdays June through September.
The kickoff for this season will feature a
Tag Sale on June 2 with collectables
and antiques available for purchase.
The General Store also has new items
for sale. Be sure to stop by.

Events for the Village season include
the Art Wine Walk on July 28 from 5 – 7
p.m. Local artists will have their work
on display and for sale. This is a chance
to get lovely pieces for gifts or
redecorating your home while enjoying
ethnic  appetizers in each of the
houses. A no host dinner will be
available at 7:00 pm.  This event is one
of the major fund raisers held by the Ely
Renaissance Society.

The Farmers Market will begin on
Saturday, August 25 and run through
the Saturdays in September. Local
vendors are welcome to contact the
elyrenaissace.com website for
information on having a booth at the
Market.

A visit to the Renaissance Village is a
chance to see what housing and life
was like in the early 1900’s in Ely. Many
items have been donated to the Village
and are on display. Walking through
each house, decorated to represent
the various ethnic groups that lived
and worked here, is a chance to see
and remember life with wringer
washing machines, wood stoves,
manual typewriters, heavy metal irons,
ice boxes, and all the modern
appliances of the 20th century. Visit
elyrenaissace.com for a virtual tour and
full schedule of events.