|Reno Nevada Overview
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Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 180,480, making it the second largest city in Nevada, after Las Vegas. Current estimates place the population of the city proper at 207,000, which would make Reno the third most populous city, after Henderson. Reno lies 26 miles (42 km) north of the Nevada state capital, Carson City, and 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Lake Tahoe in the high desert. Reno shares its eastern border with the city of Sparks. Reno, known as The Biggest Little City in the World, is famous for its casinos, and is the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah's
Reno is the corporate headquarters for International Game Technology, which manufactures most of the world's slot machines.
As early as the 1850s a few pioneers settled in the Truckee Meadows, a relatively fertile valley through which the Truckee River made its way from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. In addition to subsistence farming, these early residents could pick up a bit of business from travellers along the California Trail, which followed the Truckee westward, before branching off towards Donner Lake, where the formidable obstacle of the Sierras began.
Gold had been discovered in the vicinity of Virginia City in 1850 and a modest mining community developed, but the discovery of silver in 1859 led to one of the greatest mining bonanzas of all time as the Comstock Lode spewed forth treasure. The Comstock's closest connection to the outside world lay in the Truckee Meadows.
To provide the necessary connection between Virginia City and the California Trail, Charles Fuller built a log toll bridge across the Truckee River in 1859. A small community to service travellers soon grew up near the bridge. After two years, Fuller sold the bridge to Myron Lake, who continued to develop the community with the addition of a grist mill, kiln, and livery stable to the hotel and eating house. The tiny community acquired the name Lake's Crossing.
In 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad, building tracks across the west to connect with the Union Pacific, built from the east to form the first transcontinental railroad. Myron Lake, realizing what a rail connection would mean for business, deeded land to the Central Pacific in exchange for its promise to build a depot at Lake's Crossing. Once the railroad station was established, the town of Reno officially came into being on May 13, 1868. The new town was named in honor of Major General Jesse L. Reno, a Union officer killed in the American Civil War.
The extension of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad to Reno in 1872 provided another big boost to the new city's economy. In the following decades, Reno continued to grow and prosper as a business and agricultural center and became the principal settlement on the transcontinental railroad between Sacramento and Salt Lake City. However, political power in Nevada remained with the mining communities, first Virginia City and later Tonopah and Goldfield. As the mining boom waned early in the twentieth century, Nevada's centers of political and business activity shifted to the non-mining communities, especially Reno and Las Vegas, and today the former
mining metropolises stand as little more than ghost towns. Despite this, Nevada still accounts for over 11 percent of world gold production.
It was in Reno in 1871 that Jacob Davis, a tailor, started reinforcing his canvas pants with copper rivets. Davis later patented his idea with Levi Strauss, his canvas supplier to create the product now known as Levi's.
Nevada's legalization of casino gambling in 1931 and the passage of liberal divorce laws created another boom for Reno. The divorce business eventually died as the other states fell in line by passing their own laws easing the requirements for divorce, but gambling continued as a major Reno industry.
In more recent years, Reno has experienced rapid growth as a strong economy and a cost of living less than most of California has resulted in a housing boom. New construction is widespread emanating from all sides of the city and into the surrounding valleys. A direct result of such rapid growth has been a dramatic increase in housing prices in the area, with Reno-Sparks being named one of the most overvalued housing markets in the nation in 2006. On March 15, 2006, a new upscale shopping center, The Summit Sierra, opened in the southern suburbs of Reno.
Reno is situated in a high desert valley of approximately 4,400 feet (1300 m) above sea level. There are four distinct seasons, all of moderate intensity. Winters see some snowfall; however typically it is light. Most precipitation occurs in winter and spring, with summer and fall being extremely dry, much like neighboring California. Mid-summer highs are typically in the low to mid 90s (degrees Fahrenheit, 30s in degrees Celsius), but temperatures of 100F (38C) and above do occur regularly. The low humidity and high elevation generally make even the hottest and coldest days quite bearable. July high and low temperatures average 92F (33C) and 51F (11C),
respectively; in January they are 45F (7C) and 22F (-6C).
Before the 1960s, Reno was the gambling capital of the world, but Las Vegas' rapid rise, American Airlines' buyout of Reno Air and the growth of Indian gaming in California have seriously reduced its business, though not that of Las Vegas. Older casinos were either torn down (Mapes, Nevada Club, Harold's Club, Palace Club) and smaller casinos like the Comstock, Sundowner, Golden Phoenix, Kings Inn, Money Tree, Virginian, and Showboat closed. Reno Casinos experience slow days during the week, epecially during winter, when mountain passes are closed to through traffic from California. Only during weekends, holidays and special events does Reno see
an increase in business.
Two local casinos have shown significant growth, and have moved downtown gaming further south on Virginia Street. These include the Atlantis (formerly the Clarion), and The Peppermill. The Peppermill is viewed as the outstanding Reno gaming/hotel property by Casino Player, and Nevada Magazines.
In an effort to bring more tourism to the area, Reno holds several events throughout the year, all of which have been extremely successful. They include Hot August Nights (a classic car convention and rally), Street Vibrations (a motorcycle fan gathering and rally), The Great Reno Balloon Race, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off (held in Sparks), a Cinco de Mayo celebration, bowling tournaments and the Reno Air Races.
Reno has recently opened many businesses that contribute to socializing and afterwork activities. Many bars and nightclubs have moved into the area of Virginia and First Streets. This area is beginning to to resemble bar rows in many metropolitan cities. Though this growth has only been a recent trend, it has the potential of inviting new, young, urban professionals to Reno and retaining them. Since one of the major problems of Reno is sustaining the 24 to 35 demographic population, this new trend in nightlife may prove to be best for Reno's future development.