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Monday, April 3, 2017

LAST DANCE AT THE RENO RANCH


        Few have seen the former home of Janet Reno. It sits amidst one of the rare native forests remaining in the crowded Kendall suburbia, where Kendall drive and SW 112 Avenue intersect.
    
    You certainly can't see the former attorney general's home from the road. Vegetation so thick a wild hog could barely run through it blocks the view. A winding dirt path passes a no trespassing sign and leads to the Reno home. It is a simple structure built mostly by Janet's mother, Jane Wood Reno, in the late forties.

       It has been the scene of thousands of gatherings of the large family festooned with many tall, intelligent, rangy Renos. They either gathered outside (there's a lot of "outside" on its four acres) or on the wide front porch. There were many public gatherings there as well including Janet's memorial, last fall.  
   
    My first visit celebrated one of her election victory's when she ran for State Attorney in 1978. I've been to a few others since and they were always filled with down-home joy, adventurous family stories and cold beer. Poetry recitations and song were almost mandatory. 

       Every story has an ending and the last Reno Ranch family gathering took place last Saturday. The house is passing on to a new owner which, as it turns out, is not a bad thing. 


      Eighty-five people gathered in the yard where the four barefoot Reno kids, Janny, Maggy, Bobby, and Mark, once took turns riding Tony the pony. There was plenty of delicious food, libations, and time to share more stories. It was an opportunity to say goodbye to Janet once more and to seventy of years of festive, family gatherings.
    Maggy Hurchalla, Janet's little sister, besides being a political leader and esteemed environmentalist, proved herself to be an outstanding party planner as well.


 
 The guest house out back

       The historic Reno home will be donated to Miami-Dade College. The school's south campus is located just a half-mile away. The distinctive house that Jane built will be preserved. The Reno Ranch will become an extension of the school's environmental center.


      It is a fitting end and an exciting new beginning. Scores of young students will experience a bit of the wilderness that the Reno family has loved. They'll relax on the historic porch as President Clinton did just a few years ago. Like him, they'll marvel at the spacious yard where peacocks still roam. 
    Most things won't change. We're assured the tall Reno-like fowl will continue to all have the same name, "Horace".




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8 comments:

  1. So nice to know it will remain intact.

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  2. It was great meeting you there. Enjoyed hearing about your time in Hollywood and your brief stint as a Zombie!

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  3. I have attended many parties at the Reno property, having served as an Assistant State Attorney from 1982-1993. There were all sorts of celebrations, all wonderful. Early on, Janet's mother would be on the porch smoking a corn cob pipe and playing solitaire. Those are some wonderful memories. I think it's wonderful that there will be a piece of the wilderness left in the middle of what has now become suburbia. Thanks to the Reno family and to Janet for leaving this generous legacy.

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  4. I used to pick peacock feathers out of the yard when i was a kid...and the horse barn adjacent her property...it was right down the street from my house on 91st Street. I so remember that hut. Thanks for sharing this. That is awesome that the family is donating it to MDCC and it is being preserved.

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  5. I have fond memories of parties at Janet's house. One of my favorite stories was that the bathroom had no door and people convinced her if we were going to have State Attorney Office parties there that she had to get a door! What recall most fondly was the time I sat with Jane - Janet's Mom - on the porch drinking scotch and listening to her stories.

    Barbara Mulvaney -

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  6. Mark was a classmate of mine at Coral Gables High--visited this wonderful place many times--I remember the sounds of the peacocks-- so glad it is being preserved! Clark Wheeler, now St. Augustine --

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