The Wilbur May Museum

Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Reno NV

October 1st, 1998

Map name When we think about Reno NV, the images of casinos, dancing girls, games, large crowds and food come to mine. But there must be more to such a city then the glitter of the gambling nights. We set out to find such places in the light of the day. Reno, with its choice location at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, near the recreational drawing card of Tahoe, is an ideal place. Much smaller, then Las Vegas this town seems to project a warmer, friendlier atmosphere. Reno-107 Even the heart of the downtown area with its famous sign presents a closer feeling. The roads are only 2 lanes in most places and many of the casinos are smaller, without the massive hotel complexes that are traditional in Las Vegas. Don't get us wrong. The hotels and the complexes are there, just not in the abundance and concentration as appears in her sister city. Even those shows that are world famous can be found among the attractions offered for fun and excitement. Still we wondered, Reno-104 "Is that all there is?" What could be done after the money ran out and the taste of buffets began to wane. We found ourselves wondering north to the Rancho San Rafael Park, and the Wilber D. May Center, Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Wilbur D. May lived a life that most people only dream about. Born in 1898, the son of David May, founder of the highly successful May Department Stores Company, Wilbur became a pilot early in his life and went on to become a world traveler and adventurer. A talented, successful man, Wilbur was also recognized as a collector, businessman, rancher, composer, artist , pilot, big Wilbur D. Maygame hunter and philanthropist. Handicapped by a lame leg at birth, Wilbur believed that with support and encouragement the most severe handicaps could be overcome and that children in particular merited such support. He was a long time supporter of a variety of children’s organizations and shared his times and wealth helping educate youngsters. Throughout his life his commitment to the welfare and education of children never wavered. Wilber D. May settled in Reno in 1936 and it remained his home until his death in 1982. The Wilber D. May Foundation built and maintains the Wilbur May Center to perpetuate Wilbur’s commitment toward family, children and education.

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