Masonic Lodge No. 13/Reno Mercantile

The Reno Mercantile/Masonic Lodge No. 13 building, at 98 W. Commercial Row, is the oldest standing commercial structure in Reno. The lodge was chartered by Nevada’s Grand Lodge in Virginia City in 1869, and for the first few years the members met in variety of locales. In keeping with Masonic practice, the group placed the cornerstone of their own building on October 15, 1872. S. F. Hoole supervised construction of the building that housed a grocery and dry goods store on the ground floor and the Masonic Lodge on the top floor. The windows on the second story were filled in to protect the secrecy of the Masons' rituals.

Built at a cost of $11,500, the 34-by-75-foot building was expanded by an additional 25 feet in 1881 by the local builders George Troy and Peter Burke. The commercial business on the first floor provided income for the lodge. The first tenants were James Hagerman and former State Treasurer Jerry Schooling, who marketed groceries, hardware, and crockery. The produce and groceries firm of Gallatin and Folsom took over in 1883. In 1895, Reno Mercantile occupied the space, remaining in business at that location for the next seventy-five years.

As Reno grew in size and importance, Masonic Lodge No. 13 played a greater role in Nevada Masonry. Looking to expand their facilities, the Lodge constructed a new building in 1905 on the northwest corner of Virginia Street next to the newly completed Virginia Street Bridge. In 1906, the Masons vacated the old lodge building. Reno Mercantile continued in business until 1970, after which the place was occupied by a succession of commercial businesses including a pawn shop. Most recently, the building served as storage for Fitzgerald’s Casino (the building that has now been renovated into the Whitney Peak Hotel).

The Reno Mercantile/Masonic Lodge No. 13 building has survived two devastating fires in the 1870s, the growth and expansion of downtown, and the recent ReTRAC project that lowered the railroad tracks through town. Currently vacant, Reno’s first Masonic Lodge is waiting to learn what role it will play in the city’s future.

Images

Masonic Lodge, ca. 1872

Masonic Lodge, ca. 1872

The Masonic Lodge, pictured shortly after its completion. Note the Washoe Brewery next door and the filled-in windows all along the second floor. Image courtesy of Neal Cobb View File Details Page

Early Commercial Row

Early Commercial Row

This early view of the Reno Mercantile and Masonic Lodge No. 13 shows Commercial Row looking eastward. Image courtesy of the Nevada Historical Society View File Details Page

Hagerman's ad, 1874

Hagerman's ad, 1874

James C. Hagerman moved his business into the first floor of the Masonic Building in January 1873, soon after the building's completion. Selling a variety of goods from groceries to gunpowder, the store had a wagon on hand, prepared to make deliveries at a moment's notice to any part of the city, free of charge. Image courtesy of Nevada State Journal View File Details Page

Reno Mercantile ad, 1907

Reno Mercantile ad, 1907

This advertisement in the Reno Evening Gazette announced the relocation of the Reno Mercantile Company to the Masonic Building in 1907, just after the Masons relocated to their elegant new building on Virginia Street. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Prime location

Prime location

The building stood in a prime location on the southern side of the railroad tracks, firmly in the heart of Reno's early commercial district. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Upstairs interior of the building

Upstairs interior of the building

An interior shot of the upstairs of the Reno Mercantile building for a 360 degree photographic panorama by Howard Goldbaum. Photograph by Scott Gayer. Courtesy of Howard Goldbaum. View File Details Page

Venerable building, 2002

Venerable building, 2002

The old Masonic Lodge/Reno Mercantile building still stands, vacant and in disrepair, at the southeast corner of Sierra Street and Commercial Row. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Street Address:

98 West Commercial Row, Reno NV [map]

Cite this Page:

“Masonic Lodge No. 13/Reno Mercantile,” Reno Historical, accessed June 28, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/85.

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