Hughes/Truckee Lane Building

The story of what is now known as the Truckee Lane Building begins with the construction of the Hughes-Porter building in 1941. This part of town had long been a peaceful residential area filled with churches, including the First United Methodist Church directly across the street. A cluster of wood-frame houses fronted the south side of West First Street, backed by an irrigation ditch, a fence, and a rough wagon road that ran alongside the river.

Robert Evans Hughes bought the prime riverfront property from the estate of John A. Fulton, former director of the Mackay School of Mines and son of a founding Reno family that had owned a great deal of downtown real estate. A native of Wales, Hughes was a former Proctor and Gamble executive who had moved to Reno in the late 1930s. His daughter, C. Pauline Hughes, married Howard Porter, who also invested in the project.

The original Hughes-Porter building, located at the foot of West Street, was a two-story structure with six storefronts on the ground level and offices on the second floor. In 1946, Hughes hired Blanchard, Maher and Lockard, an architecture firm with its main offices in San Francisco, to design a two-part addition, which is what remains standing today. Immediately adjoining the Hughes-Porter building, a new three-story section added two storefronts to the ground floor and two floors of office space above. The four-story section west of that featured two more storefronts plus twelve apartments on its top three floors.

The extended building incorporates elements of the International Style of architecture, with its rectilinear form and horizontal bands of window openings. It was a popular commercial address for the next few decades, with tenants including a chiropractor, a hypnotist, attorneys, a florist, a secretarial service, a beauty shop, insurance offices, and the architectural firm of Lockard (one of the addition's designers, who had moved to Reno) and Casazza.

In 1976, the City of Reno acquired the older section of the building, and the following year demolished it as part of a $2 million Truckee River Beautification Program aimed at reversing Reno’s longstanding tendency to turn its back on the river. The site was to be used for parking during the construction of neighboring West Street Plaza (also known as Brick Park), and then sold to construct a line of river-facing shops and boutiques.

Images

A riverfront view, 1950s

A riverfront view, 1950s

Workers move furniture from the rear of the building to Truckee Lane in the 1950s. Across the river can be seen the Riverside Hotel's 1954 addition, which doubled its number of rooms. Image courtesy of Nevada Historical Society View File Details Page

New building, 1941

New building, 1941

Pictured in the Reno Evening Gazette on October 23, 1941, the new Hughes-Porter building transformed a longstanding residential stretch into a commercial block. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

1946 addition

1946 addition

An architect's rendering published in the Reno Evening Gazette on March 15, 1946 depicts the new two-part addition, to be known as the Hughes Building. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

1950 flood

1950 flood

A major flood in 1950 covered downtown Reno with several feet of water. Looking southward toward the original Hughes-Porter building, this view shows the First United Methodist Church on the right and the sign of the Marguerite Shop, a popular gift and furnishings store, on the building's east side. Image courtesy of Neal Cobb View File Details Page

1950 flood from Roff Way

1950 flood from Roff Way

A photo by Roy Curtis taken from Roff Way, just to the north, shows the west end of the Hughes building during the 1950 flood. In the foreground is the Crider Building, constructed in 1936. Image courtesy of Special Collections, UNR Libraries View File Details Page

First Street, ca. 1950

First Street, ca. 1950

Looking eastward on First Street, the Hughes-Porter building can be seen on the right. Tenants at the time included the Durkee Travel Bureau. Straight ahead is the Mapes Hotel. To the left is the Colonial Apartments building. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada Libraries View File Details Page

White Lace and Promises

White Lace and Promises

The popular riverfront wedding chapel was housed on the building's lower level for many years. Image courtesy of Donnelyn Curtis View File Details Page

A modern view, 2014

A modern view, 2014

A photograph of the building's east side shows a line of demarcation at the junction between the second and third floors, indicating where the original Hughes-Porter building was once attached. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Street Address:

252 West 1st Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Hughes/Truckee Lane Building,” Reno Historical, accessed July 26, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/102.

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