NoeHill Travels in the American West: Nevada

National Register of Historic Places in Washoe County

Sands Regency Casino Hotel in Reno 15 March 2016
(Click Photos to Zoom)
National Register #83001114
Clifford House
339 Ralston Street
Built c1885

Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 gave birth to Reno.

This Gothic Revival cottage was one of the first houses in The Western Addition, Reno's oldest neighborhood.

The 20th century was not kind to the Western Addition.

Reno is no longer a bustling 19th century railroad town. The Western Addition's picturesque gardens and chestnut trees are all gone. In the entire 160 acres that originally made up the Western Addition, only a few 19th century homes remain intact. Even fewer have remained private residences. Urban growth, the divorce trade, and gaming have changed the formerly elite neighborhood.

In 1931, the Nevada Legislature reduced the residency period for divorce to six weeks. The Western Addition became a perfect waiting location for temporary residents. It was still a quaint neighborhood, conveniently located near restaurants, theaters, the library, gaming establishments, and most importantly the Washoe County Courthouse.

In 1965, the Sands Motel on Arlington Street began an expansion. By 1969, it was large enough to qualify for an unlimited gambling license. In May 1978, a thirteen-story tower was built directly across the street from the Clifford home. Today the casino and hotel occupy an entire block that was once home to a dozen 19th century houses.

Other casinos, including the Sundowner Hotel-Casino and the Gold Dust West Casino, razed entire blocks to complete the destruction of the Western Addition neighborhood.

Source: Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form submitted in 1983.

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