Patty Cafferata's


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Patricia D. "Patty" Cafferata


   Patricia (Patty) Cafferata has had a diverse career in politics, law and as an author.  She is an attorney and former Nevada State Treasurer (1983-1987), State Assemblywoman (1981-1983) and district attorney of Lincoln, Lander and Esmeralda counties in Nevada.

Cafferata was the first woman elected to constitutional office in Nevada when she was elected state treasurer in 1982.  When she was appointed district attorney of Esmeralda County to fill a vacancy, she became the only woman and one of only three people to serve as district attorney of three Nevada counties. 

    Cafferata has authored numerous books including Christmas in Nevada; Lake Mansion: Home to Reno's Founding Families; The Goldfield Hotel: Gem of the Desert; Mapes Hotel and Casino: The History of Reno’s Landmark Hotel; More than a Song and a Dance: The Heyday of Piper's Opera House; Tales of the Biggest Little City in the World: A Collection of Patty Cafferata's Columns on Reno, Nevada; Tales of the Biggest LIttle City in the World: A Collection of Patty Cafferata's Columns on Reno, Nevada, Volume II; and Tales of the Biggest Little City in the World: A Collection of Patty Cafferata's Columns on Reno, Nevada, Volume III. She also coauthored her Mother’s memoirs, Barbara F. Vucanovich: From Nevada to Congress, and Back Again, and edited A Walk through Time: the Historic Powning's Addition in Reno, Nevada.



Patty Cafferata

St. Thomas Cathedral

St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, Nevada.

Photo from the collection of Jerry Fenwick (

      Cafferata writes a bi-monthly column for the Reno Gazette-Journal on local history. She also wrote articles on recall elections and minority office holders for the Nevada Secretary of State’s Political History of Nevada: 2006.  She and Dale Erquiaga coauthored an article titled Special Interests Run Amuck: State Treasurer Eben Rhoades for the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly published in the Winter 2005 issue.

  As an attorney Cafferata represented the National Trust for Historic Preservation to oppose the demolition of the Art Deco Mapes Hotel. This hotel was central in the lives of the people of Reno, Nevada from the 1940s until the 1980s.

  Currently, she serves on the editorial board of The Nevada Lawyer. Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Cafferata as the history and legacy member of the Sesquicentennial Commission to celebrate Nevada's 150th birthday.

Cafferata is a past president of the Historic Reno Preservation Society and the Washoe County Medical Auxiliary and a past secretary of the Docent Council of the Nevada Historical Society.

   Cafferata is a lifelong resident of Reno. Patty and her late husband, Dr. Treat Cafferata, are parents of two daughters, Elisa Cafferata and Farrell Cafferata, and one son, Reynolds Cafferata.  Patty is a graduate of Bishop Manogue High School in Reno, Nevada; Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon; and Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles, California.


  Other web sites of interest to Cafferata's readers include:

Barnes & Noble

Central Nevada Museum, Tonopah, Nevada


Historic Reno Preservation Society

Lake Mansion, Reno Nevada

Nevada Historical Society

Nevada Humanities Committee

Piper's Opera House, Virginia City, Nevada

Reno Gazette-Journal

Sundance Bookstore, Reno, Nevada

University of Nevada Press

VSA arts of Nevada


Bishop Whitaker's School for Girls

Bishop Whitaker's School for Girls..

Photo from the collection of Jerry Fenwick (


Eastern Slope Publisher, Reno, NV