As its name indicates, West Street originally marked the western edge of Reno city limits. For three decades following the city’s founding in 1868, this side of town was dominated by houses, churches, and schools, far removed from the central business district. That changed in 1907, when the two lodging establishments that still anchor the north and south ends of this block were constructed: the Colonial Apartments on the corner of First Street, and the Senator Hotel, on the corner of Second.
The brick commercial buildings in the block’s center were all constructed in the 1920s, replacing three large wood-frame houses that had stood there since at least 1890. Two additional private homes once stood at the site of the Colonial Apartments and its courtyard.
W. J. Hackett opened the Reno Hudson-Essex dealership at 148 West Street in December 1927. The Essex line was one of the Hudson Motor Car Company’s most affordable, with a 4-door sedan selling for just $795. Hackett ran the sales operations out of the front of the building, with a service department in the back, offering several different makes of cars over the next few years.
Not just an auto dealer, Hackett was also one of Reno’s most prominent musical figures. He directed a number of ensembles including the Shriners’ band, the Reno Municipal Band, and the Silver State Band, which played throughout the region.
In October 1932, after Hackett left the auto business, Tom Joyce moved The Fix-It Shop into the building. Joyce was an all-around handyman who had started out as a piano tuner and stage electrician in his native Montana. Later called Joyce’s Fix-It Shop, his business specialized in the construction and repair of furniture and upholstery, eventually moving into flooring under the name Tom Joyce Floors.
Joyce moved to another location by the late 1940s, and the building briefly housed a sporting goods shop and then a recording studio. Beginning in 1982, it served as the hiring office for the Comstock Hotel and Casino, which opened across West Street in 1978. After the Comstock closed in 2000, 148 West Street was briefly home to a beauty salon and a nightclub before its extensive renovation in 2008 as part of the West Street Market.