Sierra View Library, 4001 South Virginia Street, Reno
Edan Strekal Project Archivist, Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno, presents “Reno Chinatown.” Reno, Nevada, like other mining and railroad towns in the American West, had a Chinatown that originated with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Sacramento-to-Reno section of the Central Pacific Railroad was completed in May 1868 and the first train traveled the route on June 18, 1868. Once the work was completed, displaced Chinese laborers were paid off and left along the tracks. Almost immediately, the Chinese in the Truckee Meadows built a bare-wood shantytown along the Truckee River out of any available materials. Thus, on First Street between Virginia and Center streets, Chinatown was born. Reno’s Chinese population existed along the periphery of the larger white community for nearly 40 years. Chinatown burned down and was relocated several times. The last remnants of Reno’s Chinatown on Lake Street disappeared with the demolition of Bill Fong’s New China Club to make way for Harrah’s parking structure expansion. The only indication of Northern Nevada’s Chinese past is Nevada Historical Marker No. 29 located in Sparks. The plaque, dedicated in 1964, celebrates Nevada’s centennial and salutes the contributions of “Chinese pioneers” in the state.