Cafe Del Rio makes way for park

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The former Cafe Del Rio is no more.

Workers for Mill Station Enterprises of Washoe Valley tore down the fire-damaged building along Carson Street on Friday.

Sandy Weise, owner of the construction company, said rocks from the former Hunters Lodge will be turned over to the city.

Workers went after the building from the south side, gutted it and then knocked the walls in from the street side.

"The city will be using the rocks we found for parks," Weise said. "A few people stopped by and asked if they could buy bricks, but it is going off to the dump."

Weiss said the the construction of the building did not appear to be as old as people thought.

"This building isn't truly historic," he said. "It looks like it was remodeled about 50 years ago."

Once the rubble is removed, a temporary park will be built until property owner Don Bernard finishes plans for an office-retail building that would fill most of the block. Bernard says it could take a couple years before a new building is in place.

The building was damaged in a fire that burned down a garage and damaged two other stores on April 19,1998.

The Cafe Del Rio, Encore Consignments and the Assembly Room were shut down as a result of the blaze.

An investigation later revealed two teens were inside the building and that one of them started the fire.

The boy who unintentionally began the blaze pleaded no contest in October 1998 to failing to guard or extinguish a fire. His friend admitted to trespassing.

Carson resident Noreen Humphreys, who has spent a lot of time researching Carson's history, said the buildings south of Cafe del Rio were built in 1863, but that the 400 S. Carson St. address was built a few years later because a fire on Aug. 18, 1865, is reported to have destroyed the building, thought to have been a bowling alley and owned by the Squires family.

In the 20th century, the building lost its top story because of a fire.

Fifty years ago, the building was the site of the Hunters Lodge, a favorite hangout and eatery of Carsonites. The barnwood siding out front is a remnant of its days as the lodge. Before that it was Marjorie May, another restaurant.

The site was also home to the city's redevelopment staff at one time.

The Cafe Del Rio moved to the Rinckel Mansion and then to the St. Charles Hotel in downtown Carson. Encore Consignments is now located at 208 N. Carson St.

The Assembly Room has not been resurrected.


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