Filed Under Businesses

Journal Building

One of Reno's oldest structures, built to house the operations of the Nevada State Journal in 1876.

Reno’s longest-running newspaper, the Nevada State Journal, began publication in 1870 in a building located on Virginia Street between First and Second. In 1876, the inaugural year of its rival paper, the Reno Evening Gazette, the Journal moved into a new two-story brick building, now designated 26 W. Second Street. In 1983, the two papers would merge to form the Reno-Gazette Journal, which still operates today.

The Journal Building, which includes the one-story storefront on its west side, was widely praised as a credit to the town upon its construction. It housed a number of other tenants along with the publishing operations, which remained on the building’s second floor until 1903, when the Journal moved to East Second Street.

By 1896, the ground floor was occupied by Emile Harris, a machinist who had moved to Reno from Gold Hill to open a shop selling machine parts, firearms, and an increasingly popular commodity, bicycles, which he also repaired. Loder & Spendler’s “Palace of Sweets” beckoned passersby with ice cream, soft drinks, and candy in the years prior to 1900. In 1902, the National Market moved in, offering “fresh and salt meats,” including sausage handcrafted on site. The market remained in place until 1929, followed by a series of cafés including Vincent’s and the Rainbow.

At some point, the building came into the hands of Pat McCarran, U.S. Senator for Nevada from 1933 to 1954. In 1934, he sold it to Charles Meyer, a former Virginia City mining man long connected with Reno’s famous Waldorf Café. Meyer remodeled the building considerably, opening a bar and merchants’ lunch counter called Meyer’s New Deal Bar and Café.

Since then, the building has housed a number of restaurants, lounges, and bars. In 1940, Gene Hinkel turned the space into the West Second Street Café and Bar. Later, it was known as Blondy’s (named for owner Myron Wilson “Blondy” Moore), and after that, the Merry-Go-Round Lounge, featuring an actual carousel in the seating area, possibly at the peril of individuals partaking too deeply of the lounge’s liquid refreshments.

The building has changed considerably since its construction more than 130 years ago, with the addition of a modern façade and repositioned windows. And yet it still evokes its lengthy heritage, with its vintage brick walls, excavated basement, and evidence of what appears to be an old wooden sidewalk or flooring visible on either side of the front entrance.

Images

Bicyclists and publishers
Bicyclists and publishers Men pose with some samples from Emile Harris' bicycle shop around 1900. The two men on the balcony, outside the Journal's rooms, wear the traditional aprons of the printer's trade. Source: Nevada Historical Society Date: ca. 1900
An early drawing
An early drawing An illustration of the newly-constructed Nevada State Journal building shows its modest false front, balcony, and outdoor staircase. Source: Nevada Historical Society Date: ca. 1878
Bicycles for sale
Bicycles for sale An advertisement from the Nevada State Journal in 1896 touts the high quality of Emile Harris' increasingly popular inventory. In 1895 he only sold twelve new bicycles; in 1896, he sold more than fifty. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: February 29, 1896
The streetcar age
The streetcar age A streetcar passes the building around 1905. The Nevada State Journal moved out of the upstairs space in 1903, but the newspaper's name likely remained on the building for some time afterwards. Source: Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries Date: ca. 1905
National Market
National Market The National Market, operating on the ground floor of the building (seen at the right), offered fresh and cured meats and other goods from 1902 to 1929. The National Advertising Company sold signs for a time from the second floor. Source: Jerry Fenwick Date: ca. 1910
Meyer's New Deal Bar & Cafe
Meyer's New Deal Bar & Cafe Charles Meyers brought a long pedigree with him when he remodeled the building and opened his New Deal Bar & Cafe there in 1934. Meyers had opened the popular Waldorf Cafe on North Virginia Street in the early 1920s. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: June 1, 1934
Blondy's Bar
Blondy's Bar Myron Wilson "Blondy" Moore worked at the Stork Club and the New Haymarket Club prior to opening Blondy's at 26 West 2nd Street in the 1940s. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: July 6, 1941
Bustling street
Bustling street During World War II, Blondy's Bar anchored the ground floor of the Journal Building, which shared the busy street with other local favorites like the Wigwam Coffee Shop and Victory Theatre. Source: Neal Cobb Date: 1940s
Merry-Go-Round Lounge
Merry-Go-Round Lounge Looking west along W. Second Street, the sign for the Merry-Go-Round Lounge can be viewed in the background. The Stork Lounge, on the left, was another popular club located just across Fulton Alley from the Merry-Go-Round. Source: Mary Furman Date: 1948
Merry Go Round matchbook
Merry Go Round matchbook A matchbook for the Merry Go Round bar gives an indication of what the bar might have looked like. Source: Alicia Barber
Modern façade
Modern façade In 2013, the building retained its original contours, with repositioned windows and a modernized façade. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2013

Location

26 West 2nd Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Alicia Barber, “Journal Building,” Reno Historical, accessed May 19, 2024, https://renohistorical.org/items/show/101.