During its first few decades, Reno was justifiably proud of the schools and libraries that served its growing population. The town's schools were often at the vanguard of its architectural accomplishments, incorporating beauty and technological advancements with the latest thinking in how structural design could enhance learning. Over time, some of Reno's most dedicated educational leaders have been honored in the names given to the schools they helped establish, or to subsequent institutions of learning.
Reno’s first public instruction was held in the basement of the Alhambra Hall, on a site later occupied by the Mapes Hotel. The small wood frame Riverside school was then built on Front Street (at the corner of what is now First and Sierra Streets) in 1869. Ten years later, a large brick building, the Central School, was built on West Street between 4th and 5th to serve grades 1-12, and was demolished in 1911 when the first Reno High School was built on the site. The new high school was one of five state-of-the-art buildings funded at the time by civic bonds; the other four, built between 1910 and 1912, were the four elementary schools known cumulatively as the “Spanish Quartet." More public schools were soon to follow.
Early Reno was also proud of its fine private and parochial schools, the Bishop Whitaker School for Girls, Mount St. Mary's Academy, and the Eliza Babcock Memorial Kindergarten. Additionally, a public library has been located in downtown Reno since 1904. The University of Nevada, another educational source of pride, moved to Reno in 1885. See Reno Historical’s University of Nevada tour for more information on its history.