There is only one road that goes through Eureka, Nevada: Highway 50, also known as Main Street. It seems nearly everyone has passed through this little town on their way to somewhere, but few can recall any major details.
As it turns out, people DO live in the small town of Eureka! Two residents in particular, Amanda Pearce and Garney Damele, have dreams of restoring and preserving Eureka’s unique and beautiful downtown.
The project began in October 2015.
The only grocery store in town moved off of Main Street to a location north of town and they took the only bank in town with them! Amanda and Garney felt they could play a part in helping Eureka keep its historic downtown alive. With a vision to promote the beautification and restoration of Main Street, and also to encourage local and regional economies, the two started a non-profit organization, Eureka Restoration Enterprise, and made their dream official.
One of the first projects they took on was the clearing of their home base, 180 North Main Street, a historic building owned by resident Jerry White. The store, a grocery by the name of Meeker's, was last open to the public in the late 1940s and was operated by Mrs. Meeker. The building itself is one of the oldest in Eureka, built in 1877, and even prior to that was the site of the first business establishment in Eureka.
When Amanda and Garney first looked through the store windows, all they could see was potential. The building had great shelves, a huge open room, and they could just tell the floor would someday be a show stopper, but it was filled with old boxes and was in need of quite a bit of repair. Mr. White generously allowed them to clean out the building and sell what was stored there. All proceeds from these early sales went towards the restoration of the building. November is a rough month for Eureka, and with gas or electricity, Amanda and Garney half-froze clearing boxes and sorting items. Finally, the boarded up window was replaced, the floor was cleared, sanded, and a clear coat applied, and the interior shelves, walls, and exterior were painted. The finished store is a testament to the hard work and care put into it, but the home base of Eureka Restoration Enterprise (ERE) isn't Amanda and Garney’s only concern. They want to beautify the rest downtown as well!
ERE sponsored their first annual Art, Wine, and Music Fest in 2016, boasting a variety of Nevada produced wines and beers. Visitors from all over Nevada participated, learning about the history of the buildings on Main Street and the few businesses that inhabit them. The money raised from this flagship event, along with a generous Jackpot grant from the Nevada Arts Council, provided the means to hire two muralists, whose works now adorn two buildings downtown.
Amanda and Garney have also been busy stocking the shelves of theirs nonprofit - one-eighty. One-eighty has organically become a hub for small scale businesses and artists from around the state. It features all Nevada-produced products including pottery and rope bowls from Ely, goat milk soaps and lotions from Tonopah, crochet animals, candles, puppets, wreaths, jewelry, baskets, rugs and furniture from Eureka, salsa and coffee from Gardnerville, ceramics, wool and custom soaps from Reno, loose tea from Tahoe, lavender plants and products from Stagecoach, Basque cards, photography from Baker, honey from Currant and literature from Nevada authors and admirers.
Tourists from the Basque Country, the Netherlands, Germany, New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and, of course, all over Nevada have stopped by since the nonprofit opened its doors in May of 2017. Though many people still drive through the little town of Eureka, those who stop and find the little ERE store at 180 N. Main find a few special people who care about retaining their rural downtown and work hard to keep the spirit and love of the community alive.
PRESERVATION THROUGH INNOVATION