Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada
The famous Reno Arch

The first settlers in the Reno area were actually in the Truckee Meadows area, along the route of the Truckee River beween Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake. They were farmers who ran a bit of stock and thought they might also make a few bucks selling goods to emigrants on the California Trail. Gold had been found nearby in the Virginia City area but when the big silver lode was discovered in 1859 is when things started to take off. Truckee Meadows came into prominence as the point where the roads from Virginia City met the big road of the California Trail. To ease travel a bit, Charles Fuller built a bridge across the Truckee in 1859. A small community with a hotel and eating house sparng up next to the bridge. Fuller sold the bridge to Myron Lake in 1861 and Lake added a grist mill, kiln and livery stable to the small community. He also renamed the place Lake's Crossing.

In 1864, Roop County was folded into Washoe County and Lake's Crossing was the largest town in the new county. About the same time, Lake deeded some land and a right-of-way to the Central Pacific Railroad if they would build a railroad depot in his settlement as they built their part of the transcontinental railroad through Nevada. The town of Reno was made official on May 9, 1868 when Charles Crocker (the CP construction superintendent) filed the incorporation paperwork. He'd named the place in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer who was killed in the course of the Civil War. The county seat was located in Washoe City then but was moved to Reno in 1871. In 1872, the Virginia & Truckee Railroad was extended to Reno where it met the Central Pacific tracks. Shortly, Reno became the largest city on the transcontinental route between Salt Lake City and Sacramento.

Nevada's political power in those days was in the big mining towns: Virginia City, Goldfield, Tonopah, etc. Those cities are one step from being ghost towns now, and Reno wields the power with Las Vegas and Henderson now. Reno grew further when Nevada liberalized their divorce laws and legalized "games of chance" in 1931. Up until the late 1950's, Reno was the gaming capital of the United States, but then Las Vegas began its build-up and took that title to a global level (then in 2006 Las Vegas lost the global title to Macau). These days, Reno still bills itself as "the biggest little city in the world" and caters to the blue collar crowd with attractions like the International Bowling Hall of Fame and the National Bowling Stadium. Indian gaming in California has taken away some of the business, too. Many of the older casinos were torn down, although some were converted into condos. So gaming is dropping off a bit (and getting more concentrated in the larger and more successful hot spots) and more traditional business pursuits are picking up in the Reno area. Because of its central location and direct access to major transportation corridors, Reno has become a major materials distribution hub, shipping goods to smaller warehouses in the 11 surrounding western states.

Reno, Nevada
The Reno skyline
Fast Facts about Reno, Nevada
Reno, Washoe County, NV
Zip Codes: 89501-89507, 89509-89513, 89515, 89520, 89523, 89533, 89557, 89564, 89570, 89595, 89599
Incorporated: May 9, 1868
Elevation: 4,505'
Latitude: 39.5271°N
Longitude: 119.8218°W
Resident Racial Breakdown:
White Non-Hispanic: 64.3%
Hispanic: 22.1%
African-American: 2.9%
Native American: 0.9/%
Other: 0.1%
Two or More Races: 2.7%
Asian: 6.5%
Pacific Islander: 0.5%
High School or Higher: 82.4%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 25.0%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 8.4%
2009 Estimates:
Population: 219,636
Males: 112,268
Females: 107,368
Median Resident Age: 34.5 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $47,850
Estimated Median Home Value: $245,000
Population Density: 3,178 People per Square Mile
2011 Cost of Living Index for Reno: 95.3
Major Industries:
Entertainment & Recreation, Construction, Health Care, Lodging & Food Services, Educational Services, Professional Services, Waste Management Services, Finance & Insurance Services, Government

Unemployed: 14.1% logo
Photo of the Reno Arch courtesy of LV Talon
Photo of the Reno Skyline courtesy of Kc0616, CCA 3.0 License
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