Wungnema House

The Foundation for Carson City Parks and Recreation maintains the Wungnema House under a lease agreement with the city. The building is under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Department.

 

The building is open to the general public 10 to 12 times a year for other events. Occupancy is limited to about twenty people. For inquiries about visiting or using the building for meetings and gatherings email:  carsonparksfoundation@gmail.com.

The 1000 square-foot Wungnema House was built just on the outskirts of Carson City in 1948. Burton Wungnewma, with the help of his father Earnest Wungnema and then pregnant wife Pearl, used the stone from his father’s fourteen quarries in Brunswick Canyon to build this home for his family. Pearl raised eight children in the home.

The house was built during the war when Burton and his family could not get lumber, nails, or glass because of the shortage. That is why only half the upstairs was built. The windows, now removed, were from the Catholic churches in Brockway, Lake Tahoe, and Truckee, California. Earnest and Burton, while building the churches, purchased the windows because they were not made with frosted glass and the church was going to return them.

The fireplace was made from stone in Arizona. The boards on the ceiling were milled using the same dies used to build the original ceiling. Wungnema is a Hopi name for grow, as in growing corn.

Burton and Pearl came from Arizona as teens, met in Carson City, and married in 1947. They are both Hopi Indians. Pearl is in the Sun clan and Burton is in the Water clan. Burton passed at 29 years old on May 30, 1956, and Pearl at 75 years old, October 4, 2001.

This home is representative of the wonderful mason work done in the churches and homes built by Burton and his father around Lake Tahoe from 1925 to 1955.


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The Foundation for the Betterment of Carson City Parks and Recreation, Inc. (predecessor of the FCCPR) worked with the Parks and Recreation Department to restore the Wungnema House and to create a beautiful monument with a memorial wall near the train depot in Mills Park. It opened to the public in its restored state in 2000. The old foundation for a time operated as part of the Carson City Historical Society until it ceased operations in 2015. The Wungnema House is located by the Saliman Street entrance to Mills Park, opposite Carson High School.

the Foundation for Carson City Parks & Recreation
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