Keeping Time Again: Reno's Historic Street Clock - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Keeping Time Again: Reno's Historic Street Clock

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It's an old cast iron beauty, bringing some tradition back to Virginia Street downtown. Its design is elaborate in the way most things were back then. 4 clock faces revealing what Reno used to be…its ornate style standing apart from the sleek modern lines behind it. To clock repairman Brian Bullard of Timeless Enterprises, its journey back to downtown Reno was personal. Brian knows what makes it...tick. He got it working again in 2006. The clock's name? Brian told us, "As far as i's just been the Reno street clock."

It never really had a specific name, even close to a hundred years ago when it was originally installed at 133 north Virginia. Today, that address is the home of the former Onslow Hotel Casino, now the Cal-Neva offices. Back around 1930 when the clock was installed, there was a different building there housing a jewelry store.

The clock was very important back then…not too many people used to wear watches in 1930. Brian Bullard can almost picture it: "Think of the people who used to walk down north Virginia street and the appointments they were trying to get to, and they would look at that clock." Historic preservation planner Mella Harmon can picture it too. As she put it, "Without a watch it was important to know...'am i due in divorce court now? I better look at the clock!'"

But chances are, you don't remember that. You know it from its second home, as the centerpiece of Reno's first shopping center: Park Lane Mall beginning in 1967. There, it was the connection spot for friends, before there was texting. As Bullard put it, "That was the place to meet, ‘meet by the clock.' And that's pretty much what I hear all the time." At the Nevada Historical Society, acting director Sheryln Hayes-Zorn hears that a lot too: "That was the meeting place. How could you miss it? I don't think you could, since it was over 15 feet in height."

It was such a landmark, Park Lane Mall incorporated the clock in its logo. When the mall closed in 2007, Mella Harmon helped convince its owners to donate it back to the city. After sitting in storage for 5 years, it was finally installed last Friday on Virginia St. by the river, ironically taking the place of another old landmark that did not survive…the Mapes Hotel.

-written by John Potter

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