View of the Reno Newspaper Building on North Center Street in the 1950s.
Recent news that the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper would be departing the copper-capped building at 955 Kuenzli Lane in which it had resided since the early 1980s stirred many memories.
In 1982, I went to work for what was then known as Reno
Newspapers, which included the Reno Evening Gazette and the Nevada State
When I interviewed for the position, it was in the old Reno
Newspapers office at 401 W. Second St. But when I arrived a few weeks later to
begin work, I was ushered into the then-new quarters on Kuenzli Lane.
The Kuenzli facility was state-of-the-art. In addition to a
giant brand-new printing press in the back of the building, the newsroom was
situated in a large open area filled with rows of new computer terminals.
To save money, there were two computers for every three
reporters, with the computers on swivels so they could be used by a person on
either side. The thinking was that since all the reporters would rarely work in
the office at the same time, no one needed his or her own dedicated machine.
Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way and on many
days, one had to search for an open computer to use.
Another quirk of the system was that at 5:45 p.m. every
night, the computers were shutdown to purge the classified ads from the previous
day (this was at a time when computers didn’t have the memory capacity they
have today and classified ads were a large part of the newspaper’s content).
If you were trying to finish up a story so you could go
home, you had to scramble to get it done before 5:45 p.m. or risk waiting
around for an additional 15 minutes or so until the computer was back online.
Ah, the good old days.
According to recent news accounts, the Reno
Gazette-Journal’s staff will now be working in space on the second floor of the
Palladio Building in downtown Reno. I’m sure it will be nice and modern—and the
computers will no doubt remain operational all the time—but it won’t be quite
Of course, the Kuenzli location wasn’t the first or only
home of Reno’s two main newspapers. The Nevada State Journal was founded in
1870 as a weekly and became a daily in 1874.
During its first six decades, it had a succession of owners
that included two governors (Emmet D. Boyle and, later, James G. Scrugham)
before it was acquired by Merritt C. Speidel in 1939.
Speidel also acquired Reno’s other main paper, the Reno
Evening Gazette, around the same time and consolidated the operations. The
Gazette had been established in 1876 and from 1915 to its sale in 1939, it was
owned by the Sanford family.
The Gazette’s original offices were in a small office on
Commercial Street near the Depot Hotel while the Journal was originally housed
in a building located on Virginia Street between First and Second.
According to Reno historian Alicia Barber, in 1876 the
Journal moved into a new two-story brick building at 26 W. Second Street. In
1903, the paper again moved, to a location on E. Second Street.
Following the acquisition of the two papers by Speidel, the
two papers were relocated to an office building on North Center Street,
adjacent to the old Reno City Hall (now the site of a parking garage). While
printing, advertising and circulation were combined, the papers retained
separate editorial staffs and often competed against each other for news.
Sometime in the 1950s, the two papers were again relocated,
to new quarters at 401 W. Second St. In 1977, the Speidel company merged with
the Gannett Company, and in 1983, the two papers were combined into the present
With apologies to the Grateful Dead—what a long, strange
trip it’s been.
Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make