Filed Under Healthcare

Q.S. Wong, Chinese Herb Specialist

A health practitioner who overcame decades of racial prejudice

Chinese herbalist and chiropractor Q.S. Wong opened his practice at 138 West Street, a building whose construction he likely financed himself, in 1924. A Reno resident since at least 1913, Wong was a well-respected local businessman who occasionally found himself in the crosshairs of a community not entirely free of prejudice toward his ethnicity and traditional approach to medicine. At least twice, charges were levied against him: first in 1917 for cohabitating with a white woman, and again in 1941 for involuntary manslaughter after one of his patients died of epilepsy.

The manslaughter charge came from Myron R. Adams, Washoe County assistant district attorney, who claimed that Wong had been practicing medicine without a license, leading to the death of patient Velma Valentine Webb. A search of Wong’s offices had revealed surgical instruments which Adams claimed Wong was not licensed to use. Just one week later, notices were served to five Chinese herbalists to close their businesses immediately. The herbalists refused, arguing that the abatement notices were illegal and that they were not public nuisances but respectable service providers.

In court, Wong successfully argued that the instruments in his office were gifts and had never been used, and that his treatment of Webb had consisted solely of a standard regimen of Chinese herbs. Charges were dropped, and he went on to practice until just a few weeks before his death in August of 1945.

In addition to his private practice, Wong also served as the longtime Nevada head of the Chinese Nationalist Party, which used his building as their headquarters. The Nationalist Party was connected to the Republican government in China and was its spokesperson in the United States.

In the 1950s, 138 West Street became the home of the Reno Cancer Center, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society which offered medical examinations and information about symptoms and treatment. An insurance company and realtor also occupied offices there through the 1960s and beyond. The property was folded into the new West Street Market in 2008.


Officers visiting the office of Q.S. Wong, 1941 Reno officers visit the 138 West Street office of herbalist Q.S. Wong, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in July of 1941. He was later cleared of all charges. The front of the building has been modified considerably in the intervening years. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: July 31, 1941
Q.S. Wong newspaper ad, 1940 Q.S. Wong opened his office at 138 West Street in 1924 and operated there through the 1940s. Source: Nevada State Journal Date: January 25, 1940
Reno Cancer Center, 1950 The Reno Cancer Center opened at 138 West Street in 1950, offering examinations, consultations, and information to the local community. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: February 16, 1950
The G Spot In the early 2000s, 138 West Street was painted gray and housed a playful shop called the G Spot. Source: Washoe County Assessor Date: ca. 2005
Painted red Upon its incorporation into West Street Market in 2008, the brick building was painted red and awnings were added to its entrance. Source: Washoe County Assessor Date: 2008
West Street Market, 2010 In creating the West Street Market, the former parking lot between buildings was transformed into a courtyard and the small brick building at its rear became an art gallery. Creator: Max Chapman Date: 2010
Courtyard view, 2017 Viewed from the West Street Market courtyard, 138 West Street contains a number of separate spaces, which have been occupied by a variety of businesses and residents through the years. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2017
West Street Market, 2017 138 West Street anchors the southern end of the West Street Market complex. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2017
Sabrina's West Street Kitchen, 2017 Sabrina's West Street Kitchen opened at 138 West Street in spring of 2017. The original window openings, two on each side of the door, can be discerned from the inlaid brick arches still visible above the current windows, beneath the red paint. Creator: Sabrina's West Street Kitchen Date: 2017


138 West Street, Reno, NV


Alicia Barber, “Q.S. Wong, Chinese Herb Specialist,” Reno Historical, accessed September 30, 2023,