NoeHill Travels in the American West: Nevada

National Register of Historic Places in Washoe County

National Register #92001700: Immaculate Conception Church in Sparks 14 March 2016
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National Register #92001700
Immaculate Conception Church
590 Pyramid Way
Built 1932

The Roman Catholic Church has a long history in the Great Basin, predating even the creation of the Nevada Territory in 1861. The first Roman Catholic Church in Nevada was in Virginia City where the congregation consisted mainly of Irish and Mexican immigrants. After the collapse of the Comstock mines, the character of the Church was changed by Italians, Basques and other immigrants.

The Immaculate Conception Church was designed by Frederick Joseph DeLongchamps in the Mediterranean Revival style, a style that is rare in northern Nevada. It was one of the first Roman Catholic churches built in the state after Nevada was granted diocesan status by Pope Pius XI on March 27, 1931.

When the church was listed on the National Register in 1992, it was the oldest, extant Roman Catholic church in Sparks.

The original facade is somewhat obscured by the addition of a vestibule and porch made in 1970 to provide handicap access.

Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination form submitted in 1992.

When we photographed the building in March of 2016, it still housed a church but the congregation was no longer Roman Catholic.

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