Following last Sunday’s column about Wells Avenue in the 1970s, I received some pretty well-written and comprehensive letters. They came from Martin Schuster, whose posts we’ve included before, from by buddy barrister Fred Atcheson, from local engineer John Harding, from John Gascue (former principal of Reno High School) and Eric Nummela, my childhood friend since 1950. I have permission to post them all, and am doing so starting with Martin’s. The others will probably come up in the next day or two or over the weekend. I hope you’ll come back and enjoy them all!
SATURDAY, FEB. 13, LET’S ADD A LETTER FROM JOHN HARDING, AND ON SUNDAY YOU’LL READ ONE FROM JOHN GASCUE. SCROLL DOWN FOR MY FRIEND ERIC NUMMELA’S
FROM JOHN HARDING:
Really liked your South Wells Ave piece and I have to admit it brought back so many memories. I was 9 when our family moved from Nevada City to Reno in 1968. We lived in a small brick house on Kirman Ave just north of the Veterans Hospital (when Kirman and Locust Streets were one-way streets in the opposite directions as they are today). As kids we spent a lot of time on Wells. I do not recall Posey’s or Wayne’s Drive-in but definitely Deluxe Laundry. [I think I screwed up Wayne’s Drive-in; it was across the street from the present Peppermill, now Clary’s – ed.]. We did not go to Deluxe; my mom went to a small dry cleaner on the southeast corner of Wells and Thoma which is now St. Ives Florist. Froggy’s was a great place but I do not remember it as a Gulf station and I did not know that the Vassar St, church had been relocated, I also do not recall it being a restaurant. Obviously as a kid the Dairy Queen was a favorite and I have had my fair share of Peanut Busters and Dilly Bars there.
I remember both Humphrey’s and Baker’s furniture stores and that mom preferred Humphrey’s but I only recall Eagle Thrifty on the east side of Wells. That was a great place and that basement was nothing short of awesome and of course Earl’s, Sierra Custom Sound and Lear-Higdon are very familiar but I seem to recall a vacuum cleaner store in there also. [yes; later – ed.] I remember many of the other little stores you mention but I had totally forgotten about Murdock’s, man was he grumpy. I really got a chuckle about Art Remple TV shop. I totally recall the RCA Victor terrier’s on the side of the building [Nipper!] but as kids we used to sneak up the alley alongside his shop and steal the large empty boxes from the old console TV’s they set outside to make forts out of. Once he caught us and chased us up the alley but we got away. We used to go the Ryland post office all the time and the store across the street, I can’t remember the name and I keep thinking it was another Eagle Thrifty but that does not seem right.
It is amazing how South Wells keeps coming back into my life. When I was in the 8th grade we moved to Washoe Valley but when I got to high school we were bused to Wooster High and the McDonald’s was the hang-out of choice and I cannot tell you how many times I was there and how sad it was when it closed. The other hang-out was the Woolworth’s at Park Lane, they had fantastic burritos. As life progressed I lived in Carson and then back to Washoe Valley but the office I currently work at is at Holcomb and E. Pueblo, just half a block from Wells.
John S. Harding
AINSWORTH ASSOCIATES MECHANICAL ENGINEERS
I worked part-time for the US Post Office from summer 1962 to summer 1964. After one week at the main post office downtown, I was sent to the Peavine Station – the one at Ryland and Wells – which handled all the parcel post. I started at 4:30 PM and drove a truck around to all the substations (University campus, Washington St, Valley Hardware (is that right?) in the shopping center at California and Booth, and one on S Virginia. I collected all their mail, dropped everything except the parcel post at the main office, and took the parcel post to the Peavine Station. By 10:30 (end of my shift) all the outgoing parcel post had been sorted and dispatched.
After about a year or so, a new parcel post station was built at 2nd and Kietzke Lane [later to become a fabric store, on the east end of Kuenzli Street – ed.]
The California parcel post had to be sorted into sectional centers. I can’t remember exact numbers anymore, but there were hundreds of California post offices and about 32 sectional centers – and I was the only parcel post employee who was able to memorize what went where. The five or six busiest days before Christmas would get really hairy. We all, even the part-timers, would work extra hours. Whatever time I came in, there would be a mountain of CA parcels waiting to be sorted. If necessary, someone else would be assigned to do the substation collection and I would go to work on the CA parcels. We always made the dispatch time of 7:30 PM!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>….Martin Schuster’s letter follows:
Some more for South Wells, in the early 1970’s.
MODERN DRUG and SPORTING–320 S Wells. In the 1960’s, when you went
in, they had a tube tester on the right side. I bet you remember taking the tubes
out of a radio or TV and testing them? They were there in 1971, but not sure
if the tube tester was still there.
In that same building, there was OAKMAN’S at 310-320 S Wells, and they had
blueprint service as well as other services. I still remember the big machines
for doing the blueprint service and the smell.
At the southern end of the building, was a Bell of Nevada building and where
some station and PBX crews and trucks were housed. Bell of Nevada didn’t
mark some buildings, so maybe many people didn’t know it was there. You came in
to the back of the building from Ryland Street and drove into the building
and only went out on the Wells Avenue side. The exit was in front of the sidewalk
and you had to stop and beep, in case some pedestrians were going across.
They might have had a mirror and as I recall, sometimes a foreman would direct
traffic going out in the morning. It was double story for offices and upstairs, you
could look south and see Bevilacqua’s storage lot with big timbers on the grounds.
After the remodel years ago, the end was demolished and I think a parking lot was
Our family lived on Roberts Street in 1961 and I think I remember them building
the offices on the southwest side of Roberts and Wells. It seems to me Wells
Avenue was still two lanes at that time. On the north east side of Wells and
Roberts were the Yparraguirre Apartments and the old guy really kept them
in great shape.
Down the block going south was Vogue Cleaners. And next to them was a Chevron
Station in the 1960’s and a Shell Station on the same side, but on Taylor and Wells.
Taco Johns and a 7/11 now occupy the spots. Not sure when the filling stations
In the 1960’s, Craig’s Cafe was south of the Shell Station, but was probably gone
by the 70’s. There was a swimming supply store at that location later on.
Seymour’s, a small convenience grocery store, was on the south east side of Wells
and Moran. It was there in the 60’s, Lou. [Roy Powers did a painting of it.]
I still remember going down to the old Post Office at Wells and Ryland. They had
the nicest lady ever, behind the counter. A real sweetheart. She must have enjoyed
her job! Later on, it was a NAPA store and they had a machine shop for brake turning,
etc. Maybe Fess Motor Supply?
Thanks for the article today.