March of 1946 marked the greatest building boom in the history of Washoe County. Just six months after the close of the Second World War, forty major construction projects were underway in the Reno-Sparks area, including the Mapes Hotel, the Trinity…

Like many of the brick commercial buildings along South Virginia Street, this one started as a family grocery. There were already several in the neighborhood in 1927, when Frank Greene had this one-story store constructed in front of the older…

What is now the cornerstone of a busy Midtown intersection started out as two modest storefronts facing Virginia Street. The year was 1926, and the Memphis-based Piggly Wiggly grocery chain was eager to open a second Reno store. Constructed here…

The small brick building on the northwest corner of South Virginia and Mount Rose Streets has been a busy neighborhood bar for generations. When constructed in 1937, however, it was a simple market and service station on the southern reaches of…

The Shoshone Coca-Cola Bottling Company was a commercial enterprise doubling as entertainment destination. On any given day, a row of children could be found standing transfixed outside the large windows on the building’s south side. There, Karl…

The spindled Queen Anne residence at 821 N. Center Street housed a series of residents, including Reuben Thompson, before Edna and Elmer Armstrong became the owners in 1922 and raised three children there, Raymond, John and Ruth. In 1923 they added…

The Alpine Glass Company was founded in 1925 by two brothers, Charles and Marin Rosselli. The firm’s first location was a modest brick storefront at 608 East 4th Street. There, the company sold mirrors and glass for homes and businesses, both…

The South Side Addition was platted in 1903 along with the construction of the South Side School located on the block bounded by Center and Sinclair Streets, and Stewart and Liberty. The new residential area south of it formed a wedge shape running…

Merchant Wilhelm Levy immigrated to America from Prussia (Germany). Later, he moved to Nevada and operated dry goods stores in a couple of mining boom towns. In 1887, he moved to Reno and with his partner, Jacob Morris, rented a first-class store.…

The Reno Pet Food Market opened at 745 South Virginia Street in the midst of the Second World War, as grain and meat rationing strained production for many pet food manufacturers. In response, the entrepreneurial Combs family cooked up a special…

By the mid-1920s, commercial ice production had shifted from ice harvesting along the Truckee River and Boca Dam to large mechanical ice production companies. Reno businesses and homes relied on these producers to supply their refrigeration needs; an…

The Ponderosa Meat Company had its start in 1947 as Reno Frozen Food Lockers. Brothers-in-law George L. Siri, Sr. and Willie Carano opened the butchering business and frozen locker plant after partnering for years at downtown’s Silver State…

The transformation of South Virginia Street from a quiet residential neighborhood into a thriving business district was well underway by 1946, when Edward F. Hale financed the construction of a modest brick commercial building next door to the fire…

The Osen Motor Sales Company opened its beautiful new Frederic DeLongchamps-designed building at 600 South Virginia Street in 1923, when the neighborhood was still almost entirely residential. It was a bold move for the company, which had operated a…

The Giraudo Apartments were constructed in 1928 from a design by Nevada’s premier architect at the time, Frederic DeLongchamps. The building featured two storefronts and one apartment on the ground floor, with six apartments upstairs. It was a…

The J. E. Church Fine Arts Building, designed by world-famous modernist architect Richard Neutra, first opened in the fall of 1960. It was constructed to unite the departments of Speech Communications and Theater, Art, and Music under one modern…

Tucked between two commercial buildings on South Virginia Street, the Ho Hum Motel has one of the most charming names in the business. It opened in 1953, when Virginia Street was not only a major business thoroughfare, but the north-south highway…

The Reno Unity Center was built as a private residence in 1895, on the former lands of Alvaro Evans. Evans had sold a portion of his extensive land holdings to Reno financier A. G. Fletcher in 1889. Fletcher subdivided the block just south of the…

The Saturno building, also known as the Senator Hotel, is one of the area's oldest commercial buildings. At the time of its construction in 1907, Reno's business district was just beginning to expand westward from busy Sierra Street. The west side of…

From 1948 to 1974, the two-story brick building at 1052 South Virginia Street was known across Reno as the home of the Hansel & Gretel clothing store, offering “quality clothes for children.” Upstairs were the Solari Apartments, named for Camill…

Sid Leggett was one of Reno’s original ad men. He and his wife, Helen, moved to the Biggest Little City in the mid-1920s from San Luis Obispo, California, where Leggett had worked for years in outdoor advertising. In 1931, he moved his poster and…

Luella Garvey moved to Reno from Pasadena, California in 1929. Mrs. Garvey was the wealthy widow of a Cincinnati steel magnate. She selected a parcel in Reno’s most fashionable neighborhood and in 1934, commissioned the African-American architect…

Francis Newlands built his large home on Elm Court in 1890, two years after moving to Reno from San Francisco with his second wife, Edith McAllister. Newlands’ first wife, Clara, was the daughter of Comstock mining and banking magnate William…

The I.O.O.F Lodge/Reno Savings Bank, on the southwest corner of Virginia and Second Streets, is one of the oldest existing downtown buildings. The two-story Italianate-style building was designed by the local architect John S. Sturgeon to house the…

The 1915 Reno National Bank building was designed for George Wingfield by Reno’s pre-eminent architect, Frederic DeLongchamps, to house one of Wingfield's banks, the Reno National Bank. Designed early in DeLongchamps' career, the building is an…

From its humble roots as a tamale factory in the 1920s, “the Coney” has grown into a community institution. Operated continuously by three generations of the Galletti family, the popular restaurant and bar is a gathering place for people of all…

In 1905, the Seattle-based Rainier Brewing Company announced plans to construct a bottling works and distribution center one block from the established Reno Brewing Company. Located near the railroad tracks at what is now 310 Spokane Street, the…

Gene Hinkel was already an established restaurateur in 1941, when he bought property at the corner of Ridge Street and Granite Street (now South Sierra Street) in order to construct a modern brick restaurant. A native of Germany, Hinkel had…

Reno’s tourism industry shifted into high gear in the years following World War II, as Americans jumped into their cars and hit the highways in search of fun and adventure. Motels popped up along all the major entrances to town, and the downtown…

The historic arch now located on Lake Street at the Truckee River is Reno’s most recognizable symbol. Fashioned after California city gateway structures, the steel arch was erected in 1926 at the intersection of Commercial Row and Virginia Street…