Old Reno laundries!

Thumbs upHark, hark; arriving in the Lonely Writer’s Garret from the faraway Pacific Northwest, too good not to post (Italics are mine)

Dear Mr. Breckenridge,

I just happened upon your Ol’ Reno Guy site the other evening while reminiscing about how much Reno had changed since I lived there in the 1970’s and visited for the Reno Rodeo last year.  A few “things” never changed but most of the real old Reno seems to be gone or going fast. 

My reason for writing you was about someone looking for a photo of theReno Steam
laundry on Wells Avenue.  While I don’t have a photo to share, I do have some information about the laundry business there in the 1960-1970 timeframe. In 1972 I moved to Reno from San Francisco to work for an old boss who had purchased the United Laundry on Linden Street just off South Virginia and behind Park Lane Mall (and CBS Plywood!). The United  plant was purchased from John Jaureguito (spelling?) (spelling is correct) of JJ Electric and the Herrera family who had a motel just south of town and across from the old “Hangman’s Tree Saloon.” The name was eventually changed to Brennan Lines and was sold to Mission Linen sometime in the 1990’s I believe.  Anyway, the Wells Avenue laundry was the “Deluxe Laundry & Cleaners” run by a woman who all I can recall was “Rosie” and the plant was referred to as “Rosie’s Deluxe.”  In addition there was the old “Reno Laundry & Cleaners” on Lake Street at Plaza.  I have attached the only photo I can find of that plant right now but I do have others someplace!  Brennan’s later assumed all the business of the old Reno plant in about 1972-73 which included accounts in Truckee and around Lake Tahoe that Reno Laundry had assumed from the former “Fontana Truckee Laundry & Ajax Linen” located on River Street in Truckee (the building is still there). The Reno Laundry building was torn down and replaced with a parking lot I think by Harrah’s. The other laundry that closed up around the early 1970’s was Barbash’s “Sunshine Laundry” on Mill Street.  That plant did most of the old Mapes Hotel linen and uniform work. Later in the mid-to-late 1970’s Pete Cladianos built a small laundry across East Fourth Street from his El Rancho Motel practically under the Wells Avenue overpass; this plant did work for both of the El Rancho Motels (north & south) and for the Sands Motel on West Fourth Street.

Well, I really enjoyed your site and will have to follow it in the future. Keep up the good work and know that it is providing “mental stimulation” for us old Renoites who have moved on.

R. Bud Holland
Tacoma, Washington

I read and re-read Bud’s excellent information, and finally wrote him: “This stuff is great, and I’m grateful! But – it’s too good and you’ve put too much work into it to keep it to myself – may I post it for all to enjoy?” He responded:

Hi again, Karl,

First, thanks for your fast reply. Sure you can use the material in your column any way you want. I went back and re-read my letter and I sure made a ton of mistakes in spelling and syntax; (actually, I made very few edits!) but at least you got the point.

Working in a laundry in Reno was always a real “experience” and a three-day weekend was pure mayhem with 20+ hour days to do a quick turnaround for the myriad motels then providing the only rooms in town – (Bud Horsley’s “Ace Motel” on Sierra Street, Bud and Cebe Loomis’ “River House,” the aforementioned Cladianos properties, etc.,etc.)… all before the “room boom” of the mid-1970s.

Most of the motels ran on what we called a “3-Par ” linen system (one on the bed; one at the laundry and one on the shelf for AM housekeeping changes) so speed and timing were critical in keeping customer satisfaction. A few of the sketchier joints out along East Fourth Street tried to get by with a “2-Par” with top down to bottom and bottom to the laundry! This could be countered by the “suggestion” of reporting to the county health department, so the customer would change laundries until the next laundry got wise to what was going on.

Truckee LaundryI started through some of my old packed stuff and found the attached uniform patch from the “Fontana” Truckee plant but still looking for the whole building photo of the old Reno Steam Laundry building (a huge brick structure from I’m guessing the 1890’s or early 1900’s). (We’ll give Bud a hand at the NHS) In addition I have acquired several old photos of that time period that maybe you or your readers can help me find the exact location in Downtown Reno.

Thanks again and look forward to perusing your site more thoroughly.  Oh, as a side note the column on “The Continental Lodge” got me onto the site, as that was where we closed the deal on the United plant, with a small loan from the Security Bank across South Virginia Street by the Holiday Market.

Bud Holland

And we’ll bet that Art Johnson was at Security to help him with the loan! This is a work-in-progress and you can bet that in days to come we’ll help Bud with some of those pictures and some supplemental information about old laundries! Thanks again, Bud – reader comments are definitely open and welcome – Karl