A slice of local history hits the auction block

Architect Frederic DeLongchamps’ personal items to be sold from England (in the wee hours Wed.)

Frederic DeLongchamps' pocket watch and card case are among the items that will be auctioned. Image - courtesy Ewbank’s Auctions

A collection of personal items and documents from Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps will be auctioned by Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey, England on Wednesday.

According to a University of Nevada, Reno Special Collection Guide, DeLongchamps was born in Reno in 1882, attended Washoe County schools, and graduated from the University of Nevada in 1904 with a degree in mining engineering. He worked as a mining engineer and draftsman in California before becoming an architect, a career for which he had no extensive formal training. DeLongchamps was appointed Nevada State Architect in 1919 and was the only person to hold the position, which was abolished in 1926. His firm was active through the 1960s, and he died in Reno in 1969. 

Among the prolific architect’s many buildings in Reno is the Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad Depot from 1910, now the The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery. Photo – Kris Vagner

DeLongchamps designed hundreds of buildings. (UNR’s archive contains drawings for 550 projects.) Among them are the Douglas, Humboldt, Pershing, Lyon, and Washoe County courthouses and many of Northern Nevada’s most iconic 20th-century structures, many of which are now art and culture destinations, including: 

  • Mackay School of Mines Building, 1908, now home to the W. M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum
  • Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad Depot, Reno, 1910, now the The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery
  • Oats Park Grammar School, 1914, Fallon, now Oats Park Art Center
  • Minden Wool Warehouse, 1915, Minden, now home to Prism Photographics and Art Gallery@Prism
  • Riverside Hotel, 1927, Reno, now home to Riverside Artist Lofts and Sierra Arts Foundation
  • Reno Downtown Post Office, 1931-1934, now home to several retail establishments and Burning Man’s Reno headquarters
DeLongchamps designed the Washoe County Courthouse, which was built in 1910 and became a significant part of Reno’s 20th-century divorce industry. Photo – Kris Vagner

The items to be auctioned were consigned by a direct descendant of DeLongchamps who lives in England. They will be offered as a single lot. They include:

  • DeLongchamps’ Hamilton silver pocket watch
  • His silver and enamel card case
  • A framed Distinguished Nevadan medal presented to DeLongchamps by the University of Nevada in 1966
  • A framed print of the Washoe County Courthouse issued by the University of Nevada Library in 1983
  • DeLongchamps’ 1903 University of Nevada yearbook
  • A mainly handwritten account of his accomplishments by his adopted son Galen
  • A record of his speeches
  • Family photographs 
  • Other pamphlets and newspaper articles
Frederic DeLongchamps’ 1903 University of Nevada yearbook is among the items that will be auctioned. Image – courtesy Ewbank’s Auctions

The auction begins at 9:30 a.m. GMT, which is 2:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The lot is estimated at £150-250 (approximately $210-350). Bidders can view the lot and register to bid here.

Ewbank’s senior partner Chris Ewbank said in a prepared statement, “We hope to attract bidders from interested parties in the State as it would be a fitting conclusion to see these fascinating pieces end up back where they came from and, hopefully either on public display or accessible through a public archive.”