In the 1870s, Reno was a bustling railroad town, thanks to the Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in 1869. The Western Addition was one of the city's first residential neighborhoods, built to accommodate its growing population.
As the twentieth century progressed, railroads became less important to the local economy. Gambling and the easy availability of divorce changed Reno. The Western Addition was no longer a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood, and many of the old nineteenth-century homes were demolished. The Borland-Clifford home is one of the remaining homes from the nineteenth century.