The St. Charles Hotel’s illustrious past
November 30, 2017
The oldest continuous operating hotel in Nevada is the historic St. Charles Hotel, built in 1862. Located at the corner of Third and Carson streets, there were originally two hotels, the three-story St. Charles and the two-story Muller Hotel, just to the south. Both buildings still occupy the location today. In the early years of the 1860s and 1870s, the St. Charles was considered the finest hotel and meeting place in Carson City. It was advertised as "the most desirable and commodious first-class house in Carson." The bar was considered to be the finest in town and the liquor to be of the finest quality.
During those days, the hotel became the stage stop for Carson City. This was where the offices of the Pioneer Stage Company were located. Famous stage coach driver Hank Monk worked for Pioneer and was a resident of the St. Charles at that time. In 1860, the corrals for the Pony Express station were located just across the street from where the hotel was later built.
Nevada Territorial and State legislators patronized the hotel when the Legislature was in session. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and his brother Orion were likely customers at the bar on the ground floor as well as Territorial Gov. James Nye and other early pioneers. Since the upper floors of the hotel are still rented out today, it is possible to stay in a room once occupied by some of these people.
Eventually, as the Comstock boom dwindled, the St. Charles also declined and was bought and sold by a number of new owners. With each new owner, the name of the place was changed as well. The Ormsby House and the Arlington Hotel became the more popular places to stay.
The various owners tried different combinations of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, cafes and eateries. It became the local Greyhound Bus depot and a low-rent flop house for transients.
In 1993, businessman Bob McFadden bought the hotel and spent $250,000 in renovations and changed the name back to the St. Charles Hotel. Once again, a series of restaurants and bars took turns trying to make a successful operation, but most failed.
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Finally, in 2007, the Lopiccolo family bought the hotel and later they partnered with Jim Phalan with a plan to open a Firkin and Fox Pub. Several months of more renovations were made to the restaurant and exterior improvements and the Firkin and Fox opened in 2008 with great success. This created a rebirth on Third Street that was noticed throughout downtown Carson City.
This article is by Dayton author and historian Dennis Cassinelli, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his blog at denniscassinelli.com. All Dennis' books sold through this publication will be at a 50 percent discount to reduce inventory and Dennis will pay the postage. These will no longer be available from Amazon.