Filed Under Businesses

Delucchi Building

Builder Leo Delucchi helped downtown push eastward in 1948.

Standing in front of the Delucchi Building, built in 1948, it’s hard to imagine that Lake Street was once the center of Reno’s rich cultural heritage. You are steps away from the city’s long-gone Chinatown and at the portal to a neighborhood once known for its Italian hotels, Spanish hotels, Basque hotels, Jewish clothing stores and Jewish pawnshops, Chinese laundries, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants of a dozen nationalities.

The first to settle in the area near today’s First (originally called “Front”) and Lake Streets were members of the Chinese community. Early maps locate Chinatown southeast of the current intersection of First and Lake Streets, on the north bank of the Truckee River. In the early years, Lake Street didn’t connect to Front Street, allowing the town’s primary business district to be kept separate from Chinatown. Front Street was only developed commercially in the years after 1904, when the two streets finally linked.

In the decades to come, more structurally sound brick structures moved eastward and southward from the central business district, including the Reno Garage, which took up most of the southern side of East First Street from Center Street to Lake Street.

The DeLucchi Building is one of the few vestiges of Lake Street’s ethnic roots (the Santa Fe Hotel being another), reflecting the strong Italian influence on the neighborhood. Builder Leo Delucchi was from a longtime Huffaker-area ranching family whose name still graces a lane near their original property in south Reno.

The building had four tenant spaces: two each facing Lake Street and First Street. For decades, the corner housed Cerveri and Goodin Drugs (later Cerveri Pharmacy), popular for its soda fountain and wide array of goods. The store, like many in downtown Reno, was severely flooded in 1950 but reopened days later. It finally closed its doors in 2000.

Other tenants through the years included a maternity shop called Stork Date Apparel, a beauty school, and a popular bar called The Phone Booth, whose vivid neon sign is now on display at the Nevada Historical Society.

Images

1950 flood
1950 flood The Delucchi building was forced to close temporarily when a massive flood in 1950 sent torrents of water cascading over the banks of the adjacent Truckee River. The Lake Street bridge can be viewed just to the left of the building. Source: Jerry Fenwick Date: 1950
Cerveri & Goodin's
Cerveri & Goodin's Cerveri & Goodin's pharmacy was one of the Delucchi building's original tenants, occupying the prime position at the corner of Lake and First Streets. Owner Ernie Cerveri closed the pharmacy's doors in 2000 after a gradual decline in business, due largely to the changing nature of Lake Street. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: December 14, 1948
Stork Date Apparel
Stork Date Apparel The maternity shop with the charming name of Stork Date Apparel opened its doors on the Lake Street side of the building in 1949, and moved to the First Street side in 1951. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: August 19, 1949
The Phone Booth Lounge
The Phone Booth Lounge For many years, the Phone Booth Lounge occupied the space at 180 First Street, the former address of the Hi-Ball Bar. Its neon sign is now on display at the Nevada Historical Society. Source: Nevada Historical Society
A modern restaurant space
A modern restaurant space After the closure of Cerveri's Pharmacy, the building's four tenant spaces were converted into a single restaurant space, occupied by a series of tenants including Men Wielding Fire. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013
Etched in stone
Etched in stone The building retains a link to its builder and his Italian heritage with a stone column on the corner bearing the family name and the year of construction. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013

Location

180 East 1st Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Sharon Honig-Bear, “Delucchi Building,” Reno Historical, accessed May 24, 2024, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/104.