Caughlin Ranch House ca. 1900. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
The corner of McCarran and Mayberry Drive in West Reno is home to an iconic, historic ranch house that stands as a charming reminder of Nevada's ranching and agricultural past. Once situated on a vast turn-of-the-century working ranch comprising some 6,000 acres, the 30-acre Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park was donated to Washoe County for preservation as open space in 1990 by Betsy Caughlin Donnelly. Betsy was the daughter of Crissie Andrews Caughlin, who with her husband, raised three children on the ranch. The property produced vegetable crops and livestock until Crissie's death in 1955.
Betsy Caughlin Donnelly pictured with her husband, Roger Donnelly (1937). Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
Caughlin Ranch House as it appears today. Image courtesy of
Washoe County Assessor
Reno Food Systems has partnered with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space to operate a 5 acre vegetable farm at the northeast corner of the park along Mayberry Drive, just east of the historic ranch house property. This teaching campus will offer our farm interns hands-on experience growing high-density, organic crops in Northern Nevada's arid climate. We call this project a "park farm" because we envision many more urban micro-farms popping up in under-utilized public spaces in Reno and Sparks.
We are honored to be a part of preserving Nevada's rich heritage by continuing agricultural and public uses of our open spaces.
This site will be used to train the next generation of conscientious farmers, innovative educators, and sensible leaders that will collectively push the pendulum in a new direction. Through intensive training and mentorship programs, farmer interns will experience the inter-connectedness of food systems and develop contemporary methods to deploy effective change in their communities.