By 1905, the old Masonic Hall on Commercial Row was no longer adequate for the growing membership and responsibilities of Reno Masonic Lodge No. 13. The new building commanded a prominent position at the northwest corner of the new Virginia Street Bridge, formerly the site of a livery stable. It was yet another expression of Reno’s growing maturity. The officers of the Grand Lodge of the State of Nevada placed the cornerstone on the building on September 16, 1905. The Temple was an elaborate two-tone, three-story Romanesque structure. The members must have swelled with price when they attended their first meeting on December 8, 1906. In addition to serving as the Masonic Temple, the building housed retail stores on the ground floor. A four-story expansion wing facing West First Street, designed by architect Russell Mills, was completed in 1955.
On August 15, 1965, a fire broke out in the Nevada Bank of Commerce, which was housed in the Masonic Temple. Smoke and water affected other shops in the building, and ultimately, the Masons decided the damage was too severe to be repaired. The old building was razed in 1966 and a new building constructed on the site. The style of the new building conformed to the spare, modern design of the 1950s addition. The $850,000 rebuild project included commercial units on the ground floor, offices on the second floor, and the Masonic lodge facilities on the third floor. The Masonic Temple building was back in service by April 1967.
The Reno Masonic Center spans both buildings with an address of 40 W. First Street. Freemasonry has played an important role in Nevada’s history. Lodge No. 13 was Reno’s first. Today, there are six lodges in Reno and one in Sparks.