Nevada Welding Works

The first business to be constructed on this side of the block, Nevada Welding Works literally blazed onto the scene in 1931. Reportedly the first electrically welded building in the state, the original section, considerably set back from Fourth Street, was built in November of that year. Conceiving of the building as a showpiece for the company’s technical skills, owner N.D. Selfridge went so far as to weld the steel girders at night, in order to provide the public with “a brilliant display of ‘industrial fireworks.’”

The company welded everything from steel tanks and other vessels to broken and cracked cylinder blocks. In 1939, the property was bought by Dick Wagner, owner of Wagner Tank and Manufacturing Company on nearby Alameda (Wells) Avenue. After remodeling and expanding the building, most likely at that point extending the front out to the sidewalk, he purchased the neighboring property at 555 E. 4th Street, then known as Union Iron Works. Combined, the new plant covered 16,000 square feet and was advertised as “the Most Complete Sheet Steel Fabricating Plant in Nevada.”

Wagner was so successful, particularly in securing wartime defense contracts, that he needed more space, and in 1944 moved his business across the street to the current site of Martin Iron Works. He sold 559 E. 4th Street to Dennison Tractor and Supply, which it remained through 1953. In 1954 it was purchased by Joseph Morrey, who ran his Morrey Distributing Company out of it for the next ten years. Most recently the Earl Scheib Paint & Body Shop, the building became the home of Under the Rose Brewing Company in 2013.

Images

"Industrial Fireworks," 1931

"Industrial Fireworks," 1931

A 1931 article in the Reno Evening Gazette described the owner's desire to make a public spectacle of the building's construction. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Dennison Tractor & Supply, 1944

Dennison Tractor & Supply, 1944

From 1944 to 1953, the building housed the Dennison Tractor and Supply Co., which dealt in vehicular equipment for a variety of industries. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Morrey Distributing Co.

Morrey Distributing Co.

For ten years from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s, the Morrey Distributing Company was located in the building. Image courtesy of the Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Earl Scheib, 2013

Earl Scheib, 2013

For most of its history the building's use has been confined to machinery, metalworking, and vehicle-related trades, with two notable exceptions involving beer. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Under the Rose, 2014

Under the Rose, 2014

Viewed from the front, the building features three distinct rooflines, reflecting at least two significant phases of construction, and a brick facade attached to the building's front, supposedly to match the surrounding structures. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Interior view, 2014

Interior view, 2014

A view of the building's interior reveals the ghost of a door on the west wall, probably dating to the 1940s, when this building and the adjacent one were connected to create a 16,000 square foot steel manufacturing floor. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Advertising the neighbors

Advertising the neighbors

An intriguing feature of the building's east wall is a sign once appearing on the exterior of the neighboring storefront, originally the Triangle Produce Company (see separate entry for Farmers Exchange). Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Historic block

Historic block

Five of the six storefronts on the north side of the 500 block of East 4th Street were constructed in the 1930s and 1940s. The second from the left, currently Reno Bike Project, long remained a vacant space between buildings until it was filled in sometime after 1960. | Creator: Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Street Address:

559 East 4th Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Nevada Welding Works,” Reno Historical, accessed May 1, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/53.

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