Filed Under Businesses

Alpine Glass Company

The Rosselli brothers founded their glass company down the street in 1925, moving it here in 1929.

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, which opened in 1929, 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. In May of 2020, it opened as Record Street Brewing Co. and The Alpine music and event space.

Images

Falling into Disrepair
Falling into Disrepair In 2015, the vacant Alpine Glass Company building retained its distinctive orange metal cladding and neon sign, while portions of the front facade had gone missing. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2015
Original Location, 1925
Original Location, 1925 The Alpine Glass Company was first established in 1925 at 608 East 4th Street, in a small brick building that still stands today. Source: Neal Cobb Date: ca. 1925
New Location ad
New Location ad On August 24, 1929, Byron Morris announced the new location for the Alpine Glass Company, at 324 East 4th Street. The new warehouse was designed by prominent Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: August 23, 1929
Site map, 1949
Site map, 1949 On this Sanborn fire insurance map from 1949, the building footprint and internal layout of the original DeLongchamps building appear on the left (west) side, while the outline of the house that was moved to construct the 1954 addition appears on the right. Source: U.S. Library of Congress Creator: Sanborn Fire Insurance Company Date: 1949
Out with the Old
Out with the Old In order to construct a new addition to the Alpine Glass building in 1955, the historic CJ Brookins house, located next door since the 1880s, was purchased by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church and moved to a new site on Montello Street for use as a youth center. Across 4th Street stands the Western Pacific (formerly NCO) Railroad Depot. Source: Nevada Historical Society Date: 1955
Distinctive Appearance
Distinctive Appearance With the completion of the 1955 addition to the structure, the entire front facade gained bright orange metal cladding and bold neon signage. Source: Washoe County Assessor Date: 2009
Reception Area
Reception Area The 1955 addition housed the company's reception area, with a curved front counter in turquoise. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2015
Renovation
Renovation The original 1929 portion of the building undergoes renovation in 2015, amid plans to convert the structure into a brewery, restaurant, and concert venue. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2015
The Alpine and Record Street Brewery
The Alpine and Record Street Brewery A major renovation completed in 2020 removed the orange metal cladding that had covered both ends of the building, again revealing the separate (but connected) 1929 and 1954 sections and repurposed part of the historic Alpine Glass sign. Source: Record Street Brewing Company Date: 2021

Location

324 East 4th Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Alpine Glass Company,” Reno Historical, accessed June 14, 2024, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/131.