In the late 1920s, South Virginia Street was heeding the siren call of the automobile age. Service stations, dealers, and repair shops were popping up all along the thoroughfare, gradually adding a different character to the formerly quiet stretch of road.
Constructed in 1929, the beautifully patterned brick building at 761 South Virginia started out as Nevada Auto Service, Reno’s authorized Buick service provider. Bob Nelson managed the shop, which he ran until the late 1940s. In later years, he and his wife, Yula, lived in the apartment upstairs. From 1950 through the late 1960s, the ground floor was the home of Ayres Auto Parts and, later, to a number of other auto supply stores.
In 1963 or 1964, the 777 Motel was constructed next door, replacing a used car lot of the same name. That history accounts for the partially covered “777” and downward arrow painted on the south-facing wall this building shares with the newer motel.
A wood frame duplex long occupied the lot just north of the building, and burned down in 1950. It was never rebuilt, and in later years the site was dedicated to used car sales.
In May 2016, after a major renovation, the building opened as The Saint, a bar, music hall, and barrel house.