Cladianos Building

The Cladianos Building represents a Reno success story, how a young Greek immigrant named Pete Cladianos, Sr. moved to Reno and became a respected businessman and gaming pioneer. Over a period of thirty years, he and his family built a business empire that included bars, motels, hotels, and a mercantile business.

An Episcopal church existed on this site at the corner of Second and Sierra Streets since the mid-1870s. As their wooden structure was so prone to fire, the congregation eventually sought a more permanent structure in a location further away from the expanding business district. In 1923, the church sold the property to Pete Cladianos, Sr. and his brother, Dan, and eventually constructed a new edifice, Trinity Episcopal, on the south bank of the Truckee River.

The Cladianos brothers were originally from Greece, but had moved from Sacramento to Reno to run the Economy Market, a produce stand at Commercial Row across from Reno’s main train station. In 1923, they bought the property on Second Street, borrowing $55,000 from George Wingfield’s bank, and constructed this two-story commercial building.

In his oral history for the University of Nevada Oral History Program, Pete Cladianos, Jr., remembered 26 offices on the second floor, mainly occupied by attorneys, doctors, and dentists. Ground floor tenants included businesses like Harry’s Business Machines and the Paffrath Photo Studio, owned by the McElwain family. A series of drug stores occupied the corner space, and for a time, Pete Cladianos, Sr. used the basement of the building as a shop for his slot machine business.

Pete Cladianos, Jr. once said that the Cladianos building was a “dream come true for my dad and uncle. Those were prosperous times from 1923 to 1928 and the building was full and everybody was paying rent.” Then the Stock Market crashed. But the family’s business sense and fortunes didn’t end here.

The Family opened the El Rancho Motel on South Virginia Street in 1941 and the 80-unit El Rancho Motel No. 2 on East 4th Street in 1954. In 1963 the family founded the Sands Motor Inn which has expanded over the years and has been publicly traded since 1985. The family sold its 45% share in the Sands, now known as the Sands Regency Hotel Casino, in 1999. There are many members of the Cladianos family still in Reno and the family still owns the building that bears its name.


Images

Two brothers

Two brothers

Dan Cladianos (left) and Pete Cladianos, Sr. around 1924, just after they purchased the property at the corner of Second and Sierra Streets. The brothers staged a public contest in 1925 to name their new building. Nine people split the prize for suggesting "Cladianos Building." Image courtesy of University of Nevada Oral History Program View File Details Page

Pete Cladianos, Sr.

Pete Cladianos, Sr.

After immigrating to the United States from Greece in 1912, Pete Cladianos, Sr. got a job pushing a produce cart in Kansas City, where his older brother Dan had moved. He later followed Dan to Sacramento to work on the railroad. Image courtesy of University of Nevada Oral History Program View File Details Page

Cut Rate Drug Company, 1930

Cut Rate Drug Company, 1930

The corner space was long occupied by drug stores--Cut Rate Drug Company, the Economy Drug Company, and after 1933, Hales Drug Store, owned by Clarence Hale. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Secretarial School, 1930

Secretarial School, 1930

One of the building's many upstairs tenants, the Nevada Secretarial School offered training in office skills and a number of foreign languages. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

In the eighties

In the eighties

The Cladianos Building (center) as it looked in the 1980s. The building is half a block long and fifty feet deep, with the first floor dedicated to commercial rentals, and second floor to walk-up office space. Image courtesy of University of Nevada Oral History Program View File Details Page

Historic block

Historic block

In recent years, the corner space has housed a restaurant, most recently Thai Corner. The block is one of the most attractive historic commercial streets in Reno, with several early 20th century structures featuring ornamental brick designs. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Street Address:

100 West 2nd Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Sharon Honig-Bear, “Cladianos Building,” Reno Historical, accessed June 26, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/103.

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