The 2022 HRPS Watch List

In a rapidly changing city like Reno, one of the most difficult questions facing advocates of historic preservation is where to focus our attention. While the handful of properties listed on the city’s historic register are closely monitored by the Historical Resources Commission, many others only receive widespread attention when facing imminent demolition—which is often too late to save them.

In an effort to help draw attention to some of the buildings we’re keeping a close eye on, HRPS has assembled this “watch list” for 2022. These twelve properties have been selected not necessarily because they face any imminent threat (although some do), but because their future just seems uncertain, for one reason or another. Some of them have been vacant (or partially vacant) for years, while some have recently fallen into disrepair. Some are in use, but appear to stand in the pathway of new development. Some you may know well, some you may not.

With dates of construction ranging from Reno’s first decade to the early 1940s, these properties collectively help tell the stories of Reno’s status as a bustling transportation center, the “Divorce Capital of the World,” a thriving residential and business community, and more.

HRPS presents this list of historic properties not to point fingers or to raise alarms, but to generate awareness and appreciation. We want their owners, whether public or private, to know that we care about these places and that we consider them highly significant to Reno’s history and worthy of preservation. Lastly, we want to offer our support to help ensure that they can remain safe and protected for years to come.

Benham-Belz House

The Benham-Belz House at 347 West Street sits on Lot 8 of Block E on the original Reno townsite. There is persuasive evidence that it was constructed in Reno’s founding year of 1868 or early 1869, making it the oldest known house constructed in Reno…

Nystrom Guest House

The stately Gothic-style house that originally stood at 333 Ralston Street would be historic enough as the home Washoe County Clerk John Shoemaker built in 1875. However, the Nystrom Guest House also played an important role in Reno’s…

I.O.O.F. Lodge/Reno Savings Bank

The IOOF Lodge/Reno Savings Bank, on the southwest corner of Virginia and Second Streets, is one of the oldest commercial buildings in the downtown area. The two-story Italianate-style building was designed by the local architect John S. Sturgeon to…

Reno National Bank

The 1915 Reno National Bank building was designed for George Wingfield by Reno’s pre-eminent architect, Frederic DeLongchamps, to house one of Wingfield's banks, the Reno National Bank. Designed early in DeLongchamps' career, the building…

Howell House

At the corner of Hill Street and California Avenue sits a lovely Colonial Revival house that was home to five generations of the Howell family and later, as often happened with large close-in properties, adaptively reused as office space for…

Piazzo Building

The Piazzo Building at 354 N. Virginia Street, also known as the St. Francis Hotel, embodies the story of Reno in a way that few others could. Contained in one three-story brick structure are the stories of a hardworking immigrant family, the…

Reno Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

The Reno Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was completed in 1926. It was the fifth Reno depot since 1868, the first four having burned down. Constructed of brick with a stucco finish, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2012 in…

Southern Pacific Railroad Freight House

The Southern Pacific Railroad Freight House was built in 1931, replacing a smaller wood-frame structure that had outgrown its usefulness and blocked a major thoroughfare. Despite the economic problems of the Great Depression, freight traffic through…

El Reno Apartments (original site)

In 1936, the architect Paul Revere Williams, who had completed at least two commissions in Reno by that time, designed two houses for the illustrious California House and Garden Exhibition. One was a French cottage, and the other was a three-room…

Solari Building

From 1948 to 1974, the two-story brick building at 1052 South Virginia Street was known across Reno as the home of the Hansel & Gretel clothing store, offering “quality clothes for children.” Upstairs were the Solari Apartments, named for Camill…

First Church of Christ, Scientist

In a town traditionally known for “sinful” institutions, it should not go unnoticed that between 1870 and 1950, downtown Reno had a total of 24 churches. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, which began with a congregation of just four members, was…

Regina Apartments

The Regina Apartments at 260 Island Avenue is a collection of units encased in a lovely brick building designed by Joseph Tognoni. The building's owner, Jean Sigg, was a successful Swiss-born chef who ran the kitchen at a number of downtown…