Look Up, Reno! A Walking Tour of Reno, Nevada
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Reno, Nevada is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
From its very beginning as a toll crossing of the Truckee River in 1859, Reno was a place to stop on the way to somewhere else. The Pony Express rode through here, the Donner Party lingered a fatal few hours too long in Truckee Meadows, cattle drives crossed the river here and the railroads laid track through here. It was Charles Crocker who was one of the Big Four guiding the Central Pacific Railroad to link up with the Union Pacific Railroad in creating the Transcontinental Railroad who named the town in honor of General Jesse Lee Reno of West Virginia who was killed a few years earlier in the Civil War at the Battle of South Mountain. And the town was officially incorporated on May 9, 1868 when the railroad auctioned off some of its land for building lots.
Nothing symbolized the migratory nature of Reno more than its days as the Divorce Capital of the World. In the early 1900s an escape from an unhappy marriage only required six months of residency in Nevada and as the state’s largest city, Reno gained notoriety as the place to drop anchor for an unhappy spouse. The first “celebrity divorce” came in 1906 when Laura Corey, wife of the head of U.S. Steel, William Corey, came west from Pennsylvania to get “Reno-Vated.” And while most states would only grant a divorce for infidelity, Nevada issued divorce decrees for the asking. When other states attempted to muscle in on this source of cash infusion, Nevada dropped the residency requirement to three months and, in 1927, to only six weeks. In the decade that followed more than 30,000 marriages were dissolved in Reno.
If the divorce industry wasn’t unsavory enough to give Reno the tag of “Sin City,” there was its abundance of brothels (banned during World War II at the request of the United States Army) and the legalization of gambling in 1931. The modern casino, with its mix of entertainment and dining and hospitality, was birthed in Reno. So even though the town’s economy was historically grounded in transportation and mining, today Reno is a city of government and casino workers.
Our walking tour of the Biggest Little City in the World will visit Reno’s landmark casinos, past and present, but first we will begin where the town began with a half dug-out, half log shelter on the south bank of the Truckee River...