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Free Programs from the Historic Reno Preservation Society

Learn About History and Historic Places in Reno and the Truckee Meadows


Hotel El Cortez, divorce trade, Reno, Nevada, NV

The Hotel El Cortez was one of Reno's finest during the height of the divorce trade era.

Photo © Stan White

Reno's history is colorful and a bit on the wild side. It's always fun to learn about where you live and how it got to be the way it is, and these free programs from the Historic Reno Preservation Society (HRPS) will help you do just that.

Unless otherwise noted, all HRPS programs are on the fourth Wednesday of the month and start at 7 p.m. Programs are held at the Laxalt Auditorium in the Warren Nelson Building, 401 W. Second Street in Reno.

Historic Reno Preservation Society Programs for Winter / Spring, 2014

Harolds Club or Bust! - Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Steve Ellison, Dwayne Kling, and Neal Cobb are the filmmakers creating the forthcoming documentary, "Harolds Club." They will present a program detailing the history of this groundbreaking and pioneering club, and why we should appreciate its significance. In its heyday, Harolds Club was the largest, richest, most famous and successful casino in the world, and it occupies a special place in the histories of Nevada and casino gaming. Many historic images will be presented, including several that have never been seen in public.

Reno's Dark Underbelly of Prostitution and Drugs from 1900 through the 1950s - Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Michael Fischer's presentation will follow the prostitution and narcotics traffic in Reno during the first half of the twentieth century, including historic pictures of a Reno madam and some of her girls. See photos of the madam's boudoir rooming set that is still in the family's possession. Drugs were also more common than most of us suspected. Find out about the 1951 international drug ring that had direct ties to Reno and individuals in the gaming industry.

More on the Lincoln Highway - Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The Lincoln Highway was 100 years old as of October 31, 2013, and in celebration, historian Jim Bonar will look at the inspiration behind the creation of the first transcontinental highway and address the issues around why highway organizers chose the overland stage route through central Nevada as opposed to the more obvious Humboldt corridor roadway. The controversy behind the chosen highway route through Utah will also be explored. This is a must for those interested in Nevada road history.

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad: An 80-Year Reno Institution - Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Stepen Drew presents an illustrated look at this longtime Nevada fixture, its people, operations, facilities, and legacy in Reno. Mr. Drew has been researching the V&T Railroad for more than 45 years. He has been a railroad consultant to the State of Nevada since 1974 and recently retired after 35 years as Chief Curator of the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. He is the author of the new 128-page book entitled "Nevada's Virginia & Truckee Railroad," to be released in March, 2014 by Arcadia Publishing.

About the Historic Reno Preservation Society

The Historic Reno Preservation Society is, by the organization's own statement, "dedicated to preserving and promoting historic resources in the Truckee Meadows through education, advocacy, and leadership." HRPS is operated by a board of directors and volunteers. The organization helps educate both local residents and visitors through walking tours, bus tours, and bike rides through Reno's historic districts and other areas of historic interest around the Truckee Meadows and northern Nevada.

Membership in the Historic Reno Preservation Society

HRPS membership includes free admission to tours and the quarterly FootPrints newsletter. If you are interested in joining HRPS, you can join online or download and print the membership form. Here are the annual dues...

  • Student: $15.00
  • Individual: $25.00
  • Family: $40.00
  • Business Contribution: $100.00
  • Supporting: $100.00
  • HRPS Angel: $250.00
  • Lifetime: $500.00

Source: Historic Reno Preservation Society.

Books About Reno History

Early Reno - A book of historic Reno photographs compiled by the Nevada Historical Society Docent Council.

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Historic Photos of Reno - A coffee table-sized book on Reno with pictures and commentary covering Reno from around 1868 to the end of the 1970s. Author Donnelyn Curtis is a librarian at the University of Nevada, Reno, Director of Research Collections & Services, and head of Special Collections.

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Nevada Ghost Towns & Mining Camps: Illustrated Atlas - Author Stanley W. Paher brings us an excellent book about exploring northern Nevada ghost towns (there is a companion book covering southern Nevada). Together with a little history of the sites, the book has maps and photos to help you find these historic sites.

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