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Stories by author "Alicia Barber": 59

Far more than just a restauranteur, Miguel Ribera was a beloved community leader with a passion for helping local Hispanic youth. Born in New Mexico in 1918, Ribera bought the restaurant at 1415 South Virginia Street from its previous owner, Maria…

What is now a driveway and parking lot at a busy urban intersection was once the site of Reno’s most charming fire station. First known as the Southside Station, it was designed by prominent Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps to resemble a…

As South Virginia gradually converted into a business corridor, many of its longtime residents began to develop their properties for commercial purposes. Some had their houses demolished and constructed new buildings where they had stood. Others…

Now combined as a single business, this was originally two separate buildings, 1055 and 1065 South Virginia Street. The southern half was built first, opening in 1927 as the Auto Painting & Trimming Company. The company offered complete overhauls of…

“Enjoy the helpful, wholesome habit of 3-a-day at 10, 2 & 4 o’clock!” So urged an advertisement for Dr. Pepper upon the soft drink’s official arrival in Reno in 1939. The promotional blitz (with its somewhat questionable nutritional advice)…

In the late 1920s, South Virginia Street was heeding the siren call of the automobile age. Service stations, dealers, and repair shops were popping up all along the thoroughfare, gradually adding a different character to the formerly quiet stretch of…

James A. Barnes was a true Reno radio pioneer. His lifelong passion began as a hobby during World War I, as he learned to assemble kit radios he had ordered from magazines. By the early 1920s, he was selling a few radio sets out of his garage and his…

Abner W. Sewell opened his first general merchandise store in the northeastern Nevada town of Tuscarora in 1897. A native of Ohio, Abner had ventured west with his brother in the 1880s, working as a cowboy on various Nevada ranches before entering…

There’s something soapy at the intersection of St. Lawrence Avenue and Forest Street. Two businesses, separated in time but linked by a passion for keeping things clean, have perched on this little hilltop since 1906, when it was still the…

Rex Arlo Crider was an established chiropractor when he had this two-story combination commercial and apartment building constructed in 1936. An Iowa native, Crider had moved to Reno in 1915 to establish his practice after receiving his degree at the…

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 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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

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