Rancho San Rafael Park research papers

Identifier: 99-17

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the research papers, notes, and oral interviews conducted and compiled by Dr. Rusco as background for this publication. Rusco interviewed most of the people involved in the early effort to obtain financing and purchase the ranch property from the mid-1960s until the late 1970s. He researched the ranch ownership, obtained information on those owners, and provides details about the effort to maintain the park as largely undeveloped open space. Several files contain minutes and correspondence of the RSR Steering Committee.

Included in this collection are transcripts of interviews, biographical sketches of ranch owners and park advocates, copies of legal documents related to ranch ownership, brochures and maps about the park, clippings on topics related to the park and northern Nevada parks in general, correspondence with people connected with the park, files about the proposed Alturas power line (which would have cut across a portion of the park), portions of the original master plan for Rancho San Rafael, draft manuscripts of "The Bench Marks of..,." and photographs of the park.


  • 1921-1998
  • Majority of material found within 1979 - 1997



Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

Dr. Elmer Rusco is professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. One of his long-time interests has been Rancho San Rafael Park (hereafter, RSR), a Washoe County regional park in northwest Reno. In 1998 his history of the acquisition of land for the park was published as "The Bench Marks of...Character and Way of Life:" The Acquisition of Rancho San Rafael Regional Park (Washoe County Parks and Recreation Department). The compilation of this history of land acquisition was seen by Karen Mullen, Director of Washoe County Parks and Recreation Department, as a step forward in the management of this regional, publicly owned parcel of open space.


1.5 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Dr. Elmer Rusco is professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Research notes, interview transcripts, copies of legal documents, master plans, newspaper clippings, and photographs used to produce Rusco's history of Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. People who were the focus of his research included Barbara Bennett, Virginia Kersey, Russell W. McDonald, Clark Santini, Nancy Gomes, Don Mello, early owners of the park property, and the RSR Steering Committee. Clippings focus on RSR, parks in Reno and Sparks, Nevada, and other urban open space preservation issues (1921-1998).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Dr. Rusco in 1999.

Separated Materials

Photographs have been transferred to the Special Collections photographic archives. UNRS-P2003-01

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.


A Guide to the Records of the Elmer Rusco Rancho San Rafael Park Research Papers
Susan Searcy
July 1999
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)