Spotlight on Carson City, Nevada
October 25, 2012 1 Comment
Carson City, Nevada has a special place in my heart. My dad grew up there and my grandma still lives there until it starts to snow each year, when she moves down to Phoenix. It was on a trip to visit my grandma that I had a chance to take another look at the city.
The old residential part of Carson City is made up of unusually small blocks, just over 200 feet square. The streets have mature trees that form a canopy over the streets, and older homes, including the governor’s mansion, are well cared for, and at this time of year are already decked out for Halloween.
Carson City’s main street, Carson Street, is home to civic uses, casinos, cafes, and more. A few small plazas with outdoor seating create some neat spaces to eat lunch outside. Many sidewalks on Carson Street are lined with wrought iron fences. While the purpose of these fences is to protect pedestrians from traffic, they would probably be just as safe if the city allowed on-street parking on the street to buffer pedestrians and slow vehicles (although I will say that drivers in Carson City are some of the nicest and most courteous I’ve ever met), while allowing for some flexibility in how people use sidewalks and stores. The Saint Charles Hotel, which hosts the Firkin and Fox Pub, is a particularly unique and interesting building. It features outdoor seating and a covered wooden walkway along its frontage. It is a well-maintained historic gem for the city.
Carson City is, of course, the capital of Nevada, and the Capitol takes up 15 of the small blocks in central Carson. The old Statehouse is so wooded that it is hard to see the dome over the building unless you come at it right from the front. Despite the really great greenery, I noticed a real lack of people on the grounds, and I think that is largely due to a lack of places to sit comfortably. But there are a number of cool features, including a small amphitheater, that could be used for public functions.
Carson City is a small but fast-growing town with a great little core. The recent growth has been much more of a suburban type, and could learn from the existing success at the center of the city.