The Alpine Glass Company was founded in 1925 by two brothers, Charles and Marin Rosselli. The firm’s first location was a modest brick storefront at 608 East 4th Street. There, the company sold mirrors and glass for homes and businesses, both wholesale and retail, with expertise in fixtures for a growing sector of the glass business: motor cars.
In 1928, the brothers sold out to Byron Morris, who hired Nevada’s most prominent architect, Frederic DeLongchamps, to draw up the plans for a new brick warehouse just a few blocks west, at 324 East 4th Street. The prolific and versatile DeLongchamps had designed the Nevada-Oregon-California (NCO) Railroad Depot just across the street back in 1910, as well as landmarks such as the Riverside Hotel and Washoe County Courthouse. Alpine’s new shop had a high ceiling supported by a steel truss, with large skylights to illuminate work areas for the glazers, bevelers, mirror manufacturers, and other employees.
Advertising as “Nevada’s Modern Glass House,” the business thrived under Morris’s ownership. Its workers installed large windows for many of the new service stations cropping up throughout town in the 1930s. The company also manufactured storefronts made of polished aluminum, vitrolite, and glass block for area businesses, and installed windshield, door, and window glass for automobiles “while-you-wait.”
In the years to come, the company supplied plate glass for a majority of Reno’s construction projects, from the new Reno High School on Booth Street to casinos such as the New China Club, Mapes Hotel, and Lake Tahoe’s Cal-Neva Lodge. Later high-profile projects included the University of Nevada’s Atmospherium-Planetarium.
In 1954, Morris purchased the neighboring lot to the east and constructed an addition, reportedly designed by Reno architect David Vhay. Now doubled in size, the warehouse’s entire front façade gained bright orange metal cladding and striking neon letters spelling out “Alpine Glass Co.” By 1963, the company had branch offices in Elko, Winnemucca, and Las Vegas.
In 1965, Morris sold the company to Kenneth E. Olson, owner of the Olson Glass Company in Torrence, California, and it changed hands several times after that. After sitting vacant for many years, the building was purchased in 2015 with plans to transform it into a brewery, restaurant, and concert venue.