Jack Harpster, author of The Genesis of Reno, presents a history of the Virginia Street Bridge and the Riverside Hotel. Over 157 years ago— before there was a Reno, Nevada; before there was a state of Nevada; and even before there was a Nevada Territory— there was a bridge over the Truckee River at a narrow, deeply rutted cattle and wagon trail that would one day become Virginia Street. There was also a small rustic inn and tavern occupying a plot of ground at the southern end of the log-and-timber bridge, catering to thirsty cowboys, drovers, and miners. The inn and the bridge were the first two structures in what would one day be a bustling metropolitan area, and to this day they still form the nucleus of the city they gave rise to. Today, descendants of these two structures are known as the Virginia Street Bridge and the Riverside Artist Lofts. The 111-year-old concrete bridge that was replaced in 2015/16 by a magnificent new structure, was honored for its longevity and unique character by placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980; and the Riverside Hotel, the forerunner of the Riverside Artist Lofts, was similarly honored in 1986. This is the remarkable story of these two iconic landmarks around which a major western city has grown, and of the people, the events, and the community that played an important part in shaping their long history.
For 120 years, a row of lovely, dignified Victorian homes has graced the neighborhood at the foot of the University of Nevada, Reno grounds just below Ninth Street. These homes, as well as other beautiful and significant ones on neighboring streets, are now threatened due to plans for a massive business building and a “gateway” consisting of other new structures which will irrevocably change the character of the district. Debbie will present the history of the area, from its early ownership by pioneers John Newton and Alvaro Evans to the interesting and important residents who created this vibrant neighborhood. The hope is that you will gain an understanding of why the neighborhood is worth saving.
Did you know we have started a blog on this site? It features topics authored by some of our outstanding FootPrints writers. The posts will be all things historic and preservation about Reno. We welcome your comments and questions. Take a look by clicking on the "HRPS Blog" link in the menu above.