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Reno, Nevada: The Biggest Little City In The World

Home of Hot August Nights since 1987

Reno, Nevada was officially established May 9, 1868, and named in honor of the Civil War General Jesse Reno. It was not uncommon for towns to be established along rivers since they were a main source of transportation before the railroads. Reno was established on the Truckee River for just that reason. In 1859 Charles Fuller built a log bridge across the Truckee River and charged a fee to cross it. It served as a route to Virginia City for the gold miners. Reno later became a resting place and a place to get meals and exchange information with others. The miners brought money to the area and Reno became known as “Sin City” because it hosted several legal brothels, was the scene of illegal underground gambling and offered quick and easy marriages and divorces.

The Riverside Hotel was built in 1927 specifically for divorce-seekers and boasted an international reputation. It still stands as a landmark today along side the old Court House on South Virginia Street. The original Reno arch also stands as a tribute to the city just outside the National Automobile Museum.

In 1987 Reno hosted the first Hot August Nights event. I was in Quincy doing business with the Oldsmobile dealer there. He was a car guy and had several classic cars and was getting one ready to go to Reno for this new car show and encouraged me to go to Reno. I was actually headed the other way, but being a car guy myself I decided to go to Reno. I still remember staying at the then Continental Motel and there were three hot rods in the parking lot and another across the street at the Motel 6 and I thought it was great. Headquarters was in a tent in the parking lot at the college. There was also a show & shine area there and a cruise lane. The favorite place to cruise was the old A&W on South Kietzke Lane. It was an old style drive-in with car hops and offered the ability to cruise through. I was hooked!

I’ve been back to Hot August Nights all but three years since that first year and still enjoy the event and making memories for others to enjoy as much as I enjoyed that first time.

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