I.O.O.F. Lodge/Reno Savings Bank

Washoe County Bank

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 fraternal order on the second floor, and the Reno Savings Bank and Sanders & Co. furniture store on the ground floor. The Odd Fellows celebrated the laying of the cornerstone on August 30, 1876 and the bank opened for business in January 1877.

Reno Savings Bank was organized in April 1876. Its officers and board of directors read like a Who’s Who of Reno’s movers and shakers, including Myron Lake (Reno's unofficial founder), James Kinkead, George Huffaker, and J. S. Shoemaker. However, by 1880, rumors of “something fishy” began to spread. The bank was closed and the manager, Colonel Kinkead, was tried for embezzlement, although the case was ultimately dismissed.

In 1887, the First National Bank of Nevada, looking to expand, purchased the Odd Fellows Hall for $20,000. Said to be “as solid as Mount Rose,” First National Bank opened on May 2, 1887 with officers C. T. and D. A. Bender, and G. W. Mapes. Two years later, the bank engaged prolific Nevada builder George Holesworth to construct an annex and a two-story cast-iron façade, which was the current fashion for commercial buildings. The façade, the first to be manufactured in Reno, was cast by John Michels of Reno Iron Works. The columns were a copy of those on the Powning Building down the block.

In 1896, the bank dropped its national charter and changed its name to Washoe County Bank. Within six years, the bank had outgrown its quarters and undertook a major remodeling of the façade and the interior. The elaborate Italianate exterior was replaced by a more formal Renaissance-Revival-inspired surface. The tower was removed and replaced with a flagpole.

During the Great Depression, the bank fell on hard times. George Wingfield, who at the time owned more than a third of Nevada’s banks, took it over in 1932 only to see his empire crumble at the close of that year.

Over the years, the building was occupied by other tenants including Ramos Drug Store and Edises Jewelers. In 1982, a major remodel completely changed the appearance of the building, adding modern aluminum-framed store-front windows, and a large clock tower capped with a French-style mansard roof.

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195 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV