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An Old Friend Gets a “Makeover”
by Harry Spencer
Jan 14, 2013 | 1602 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The recent closure of the former main Post Office in downtown Reno brought an end to an era.

For many years it served as the official meeting place of business and professional men of Reno. Every morning they would eschew their secretaries picking up the daily mail, preferring to do so themselves. The main reason for this was the fact that the Post Office itself was a meeting place for them to interface with others about the daily news. Since I had the keys to Box 1943 in the early ‘50’s, I was one of the daily attendees. Invariably I would run into one Jerry Cobb who at that time owned Modern Photo and was developing the first FM station in Reno. As the years went by and I transitioned from a newspaper man into an Advertising agency owner, Cobb would continually hustle me for advertising on his radio station.

He was but one of the hundreds of individuals I ran into in the Post Office in those early years. Another individual I recall seeing often was lawyer Oliver Custer. His most famous comment to me ran something like this, “Do you know that Reno is a place that harbors three famous individuals?” When I asked him who they might be he said, “We have Childe Harold at Harold’s Club, Bonny Prince Charlie at the Mapes and William the Conqueror Harrah at his club.”

Since the Post Office was kitty corner to the Washoe County Courthouse, many of the early customers were lawyers and peace officers. The most outstanding of these was District Attorney Mills Lane, who usually arrived at a brisk trot sans coat.

In addition to serving as the premier meeting place in town, the old Post Office was directly across the street from the Riverside Hotel. Many of the guests and employees of the hotel scurried back and forth on a daily basis.

As well as serving as the daily repository of mail, the Post Office was a convenient shortcut between Virginia Street and Center Street, especially when it was raining. Its parking lot served as a toll-free place to leave your car if you had other business nearby.

Whatever the future holds for the sturdy old building when it is reconfigured, it probably will never have the ambience and collegiality of the old P.O.


Watching the Western channel on cable TV, it is surprising how many of the programs feature winners of the famous Reno Silver Spurs. The reruns of Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel are headlined by such famous stars as Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, Jim Arness and Richard Boone. All of these gentlemen appeared in person in Reno to accept their awards and proved to be as charismatic as the characters they played on television.

Jim Arness towered above all the others, both in stature and longevity. While the headliners for Bonanza were frequently seen on the streets of Incline Village. Boone appeared in John Wayne’s (another Silver Spurs winner) final film that was shot in nearby Carson City.

Harry spencer is a long-time Truckee Meadows resident.
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