Reno may be in the high desert, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in rich history and culture. This northwestern Nevada city is teeming with ghosts of the past, some forgotten and others only known to those who seek. If you love Reno and its history, you’ve got to check out these five landmarks reflecting the people and ideas that have influenced the city throughout the centuries.
Chances are you’ve seen this landmark even if you’ve never set foot in Reno. The famous Reno Arch welcomes visitors at its downtown location. The arch was originally built in 1926 to commemorate the Lincoln and Victory Highways. It has undergone two more iterations since then, but always wears the city’s slogan proudly: The Biggest Little City in the World. Drive to N. Virginia Street to catch sight of this city icon.
Basque Sheepherder Monument
This little-known monument sits in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. The statue, a 22-foot-tall Basque shepherd carrying a lamb under the moon, commemorates the thousands of Basques who left Europe to herd sheep in the Western United States. The monument is the work of Nestor Basterrextxea, a Basque artist.
Virginia Street Bridge
The Virginia Street Bridge has gone through several iterations since its first construction in 1860. It became an endangered site and its later iteration was eventually demolished in 2016 due to safety and flood concerns. It has been replaced, continuing the tradition of supplying Virginia Street with a bridge over the Truckee River. The bridge has influenced local legend, which says that newly divorced women often stand on the bridge and fling their wedding rings into the river.
The McCarran Mansion (sometimes known as the Gibbons/McCarran House) stands tall on the corner of Arlington Avenue and Court Street, near the Truckee River. The stately Colonial Revival home was designed by famous Reno architect Frederic J. DeLongchamps and its construction completed in 1913. Its first owner was Lewis A. Gibbons, a prominent local lawyer; after his death the home was purchased by former Nevada senator Patrick A. McCarran. The mansion has been restored and now serves as commercial space.
Francis G. Newlands Home
The Francis G. Newlands Home is a mansion built in 1890. Its namesake is the former U.S. Senator, who lived in the mansion. It sits on two acres overlooking the Truckee River. The home is located in a neighborhood well-known for its grand, stately properties during the late 19th century. You may catch a glimpse of the home if you’re nearby, but be mindful—it is still privately owned and not open for public viewing or tours.