Senator Hotel

Saturno Building

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 this block was filled with wood frame single-family houses, while just to the east stood an Episcopal church later replaced by the Cladianos Building.

Pete Saturno bought the highly desirable lot in January of 1907 from Harry E. Stewart, at that time the City Engineer and its future mayor. Saturno, who also went by Pietro, was a native of Italy who immigrated to the United States in 1879 and bought a ranch two miles west of Reno in 1890. By 1907, he was working for the Nevada (later Reno) Construction Company, a general contracting business that constructed cement blocks, buildings, sewers, sidewalks, culverts, and conduits.

At first, Saturno suggested his new building would house a modern theater, “one of the finest playhouses on the coast.” Plans changed, however, and upon opening, the three-story brick structure featured six commercial storefronts, all facing Second Street, with a decorative arched doorway in the block's center leading to the upstairs rooms. There, tenants shared common bathrooms accessed through the hallways. A row of lovely trees long flanked the building's west side.

From the very start, the ground floor housed a variety of businesses. Through the decades, these included a mix of service-oriented shops like cleaners, plumbers, and grocers as well as saloons, bakeries, and cafes, and small businesses. In the 1920s, the corner space was home to the Reno Ravioli Factory (which also sold tamales) and, later, a popular food shop operated by the Ferrari family.

Like many of Reno's commercial buildings, the second and third floors were divided into apartments which doubled as work spaces for some early residents including a dressmaker, piano teacher, and divorce lawyer.

By 1914, the building was referred to as the Saturno Hotel, and by 1926, the Senator Hotel. The building currently operates as the short-term rental Siegel Suites. The high windows of the street-level storefronts and the brick detail of the arched entrance have been painted over, but the original 1907 structure remains intact.

Images

Saturno Building, ca. 1908

Saturno Building, ca. 1908

A postcard dated 1908 depicts the Saturno Building with its original name incised near the roofline above the building's main entrance on Second Street. Courtesy of Jerry Fenwick View File Details Page

Old Homestead Bakery, 1910

Old Homestead Bakery, 1910

An early tenant, the Old Homestead Bakery served lunch and pastries daily. Through the years, a number of bakeries, cafes, and bars operated in the building. Courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Senator Hotel ca. 1930

Senator Hotel ca. 1930

The building's western corner traditionally housed a grocery or drug store. Large glass windows featured retractable canopies to provide shade from the afternoon sun. Courtesy of Dick Dreiling View File Details Page

Busy street, 1940s

Busy street, 1940s

Looking west along Second Street, the hotel was part of a vibrant commercial corridor. A truck carrying bottles from the Crystal Springs Ice Company is seen in the foreground. Across West Street from the Senator Hotel stands the Saviers Building (home to the Savier paint and electrical businesses), and behind it, the spires of St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral. | Creator: Nevada Department of Transportation View File Details Page

Historic structure, 2004

Historic structure, 2004

Photographed in 2004, the Senator Hotel retained its classic lines, with a block-length canopy obscuring its high ground-floor storefront windows and arched mid-block entrance. | Creator: Max Chapman View File Details Page

Street Address:

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

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Senator Hotel,” Reno Historical, accessed March 27, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/117.

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