Nevada Auto Service

Ayres Auto Parts

In the late 1920s, South Virginia Street was heeding the siren call of the automobile age. Service stations, dealers, and repair shops were popping up all along the thoroughfare, gradually adding a different character to the formerly quiet stretch of road.

Constructed in 1929, the beautifully patterned brick building at 761 South Virginia started out as Nevada Auto Service, Reno’s authorized Buick service provider. Bob Nelson managed the shop, which he ran until the late 1940s. In later years, he lived in the apartment upstairs. From 1950 through the late 1960s, the ground floor was the home of Ayres Auto Parts and, later, to a number of other auto supply stores.

In 1963 or 1964, the 777 Motel was constructed next door, replacing a used car lot of the same name. That history accounts for the partially covered “777” and downward arrow painted on the south-facing wall this building shares with the newer motel.

A wood frame duplex long occupied the lot just north of the building, and burned down in 1950. It was never rebuilt, and in later years the site was dedicated to used car sales.

Images

Tree-lined thoroughfare

Tree-lined thoroughfare

A photo taken from across the street reveals the neighborhood's residential past. Note the single-family home and tall trees where the 777 Motel would be built in the sixties. Image courtesy of Barry O'Sullivan View File Details Page

Nevada Auto Service ad, 1932

Nevada Auto Service ad, 1932

Bob Nelson advertised his company's many services in a 1932 newspaper ad. Image courtesy of the Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Frame shop

Frame shop

By the 2000s, the building was no longer dedicated to auto parts and service. Image courtesy of Washoe County Assessor View File Details Page

Writing on the wall

Writing on the wall

The mystery of the partially-covered "777" on the building's south wall is explained by the 777 Used Car lot that occupied the site prior to the construction of the 777 Motel in the early sixties. | Creator: Alicia Barber View File Details Page

The Saint, 2016

The Saint, 2016

After a major renovation, the building opened as The Saint, a bar, music hall, and barrel house, in May 2016. | Creator: Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Street Address:

761 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Nevada Auto Service,” Reno Historical, accessed March 29, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/152.

Related Tour

Tour navigation:  Previous | Tour Info | Next

Share this Story