South Virginia Street was an increasingly busy thoroughfare in mid-century Reno, with many motels cropping up to serve the traveling public. The 777 Motel was constructed at 777 S. Virginia Street in 1964, one year before the street was widened to accommodate increasing amounts of traffic on what was then the north-south highway through town.
The courtyard-shaped motel has a utilitarian design, highlighted by its bright and whimsical sign evoking a lucky pull at the slot machines, three sevens in a row.
The site had housed a used car lot since the early 1950s. In the early sixties, the lot was called 777 Used Cars, and that is apparently when a sign was painted to advertise the business on the two-story building just to the north. When the motel was constructed in 1965, the painted sign was partially covered by the new building but some of the letters and an arrow pointing down remain visible.
The completion of Reno’s north-south freeway, Interstate 580, from Interstate 80 southward to the vicinity of McCarran Boulevard in 1981 prompted many drivers to bypass South Virginia Street entirely. That, in combination with the opening of large numbers of inexpensive hotel rooms at the downtown hotel-casinos, led to the gradual conversion of many motels like the 777 Motel into longer term housing for area residents.