According to George Steinmiller’s granddaughter Alice Parsons, “He wanted to be a big fish in a little pond. That is why he came to Reno from Sacramento.” George Steinmiller practiced dentistry in Reno for fifty years. He and his wife Alice purchased the parcel at 761 California Avenue from the Newlands Company. It was reported at that time they spent $12,000 to build the structure. “It stood there at the western edge of the ridge,” Alice Parsons said. “My grandmother came from the east coast so the family often spent summers there and rented out the house.” One summer a tenant by the name of Jack Dempsey put up a sparring ring in the side yard.
The Steinmiller’s daughter, Helen, married architect Edward S. Parsons, in the Steinmiller House and eventually they became the occupants. Ed and Helen Parsons were known for hosting large parties for up to 300 at their home.
Edward Parsons was born in Tonopah and went to school in Salt Lake City and in Reno; he also studied architecture at the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania. He designed beautiful residences, state buildings, schools, libraries, courthouses, banks, churches, and many buildings at the University of Nevada, including the Fleischmann Agriculture and Home Economics building, the Orvis School of Nursing, and the Medical School Complex. He also designed Incline High School in addition to a number of restoration projects including the Nevada State Capitol Building, Morrill Hall at UNR, the Bowers and Lake Mansions, and the Virginia City and Genoa courthouses.
This home remained in the same family for a third generation; George Steinmiller’s granddaughter Alice Dray Parsons and her husband Charles McGinley lived in it into 2004.
This large home is of the Georgian/Colonial Revival style, consisting of 3,431 square feet plus a 1,134 square foot finished basement, has four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. The architect was Fred Schadler. Interesting architectural features include the Doric columns, formal Georgian portico door to the widow’s walk, and the fine brick masonry exterior walls. The interior includes a large entry, a glassed-in back porch overlooking the Truckee River, and original oak floors on the first floor. The formal living room features original dentil crown molding. In 2004 John Weatherwax purchased and remodeled the house; he added the east wing family room and the garage, both of which were designed to preserve the architectural integrity of the estate’s original design.