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, sitting on the eastern edge of Mills Park,
is noted for its tranquil setting and is used six or seven days a week, year
round, mostly for the meetings of support groups. 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, contact
David Bugli at 775-883-4154.
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.
was made from stone in Arizona. The face is cut stone of clouds
and lightning and is the emblem of the Water clan of the
The hearth is
wonder stone. 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
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.
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 is ceased operations in 2015. The Wungnema House is located by the Saliman Street entrance to Mills Park,
opposite Carson High School.
Additional photographs of the Wungnema House may be viewed
at the Carson City Government website.
Burton Wungnema is buried at the Wungnema (Stewart Indian School Cemetery). You can find information