Historic Riverfront Walking Tour

Assembled on the occasion of Reno's 146th birthday—May 9, 2014—this tour offers a taste of historic Reno, centered along the Truckee River corridor. All sites are within walking distance, and the tour may be started at any location, continuing clockwise or counter-clockwise. Learn about topics ranging from Reno’s origins to its flourishing divorce trade, sacred landmarks, and a wide range of civic institutions and activities.

Reno Downtown Post Office

By the late 1920s, Reno had outgrown its first federal post office, located on the north side of the Truckee River. After much discussion, a site south of the river was chosen, requiring the demolition of the Carnegie Free Public Library that had…

Carnegie Free Public Library (site)

Attempts to establish public libraries in Reno began in the 1880s, but funding them proved to be problematic. In 1901, after numerous attempts to secure taxes for libraries, State Assemblyman Frank Norcross of Reno wrote to the millionaire steel…

Pioneer Theater-Auditorium

When the Pioneer Theater-Auditorium was completed in December 1967, it was going to be named the Apollo Theater. Instead, the golden-domed building came to be called the Pioneer Theater-Auditorium after the statue of a pioneer family that stands in…

Washoe County Courthouse

This courthouse was the third for Washoe County, which was established in 1861 as one of Nevada territory’s original nine counties. In 1871, Myron C. Lake donated an acre of his land for Reno’s first courthouse, as the ambitious young town…

Riverside Hotel

Widely considered Reno’s birthplace, the site now occupied by the Riverside Hotel has offered some form of lodging for more than 150 years. It was vacant land fronting an obscure ford of the Truckee River until late 1859, when a bankrupt California…

Virginia Street Bridge (site)

A bridge has graced this site since 1860, when Charles William Fuller constructed the first recorded span of the Truckee River at what was then known as “Fuller’s Crossing.” In 1861, he sold the whole operation to Myron C. Lake, who had to…

Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity Episcopal Church was built over the course of 25 years bracketing the Great Depression and World War II. The congregation’s history in Reno dates to 1870. The first services were held in a schoolhouse at Sierra and Second streets, but by…

Lake Mansion

As you look at this impressive Italianate-style home, imagine the complication of moving its bulk--not once, but two separate times. The Lake Mansion, now sitting proudly at the corner of Court Street and Arlington Avenue, was built in 1877 by…

Belle Isle/Wingfield Park

Surrounded by the waters of the Truckee River, the small natural island now known as Wingfield Park has long been considered a leisurely oasis, offering visitors an escape from fast-paced city life in the heart of downtown Reno. The island was…

Twentieth Century Club

The Twentieth Century Club building at 335 West First Street was erected in 1925 by Roush and Belz to serve Reno's first women's club. Part of a national movement, the 20th Century Club was organized in Reno in 1894, and was open to all…

First United Methodist Church

Completed in 1926, the First United Methodist Church is one of the oldest remaining churches in Reno. The Methodist Church congregation was established early in Reno's history in 1868, organized by Reverend Thomas McGrath. The third Methodist…

Colonial Apartments

The Colonial Apartments, located at the corner of W. First and West Streets, was built in 1907 by partners Charles E. Clough and George Crosby. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the temporary housing needs of Reno's divorce colony…

Masonic Temple

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…

Mapes Hotel (site)

The 12-story Mapes Hotel became the tallest building in Nevada when it burst onto the Reno scene in 1947. Its prime location on the northeast corner of the Truckee River and Virginia Street had become available in 1934, when the old post office was…

Chinatown (site)

Following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, Reno—like other towns in the West—became a home for displaced Chinese laborers. The Sacramento-to-Reno section of the Central Pacific Railroad was completed in the spring of 1868; Chinese…