Under-the-radar local artwork


Here’s a few little treasures that have been around since the early 1950s, when the Lincoln Highway, Highway 40 and West Fourth Street – same street – rolled through our town. There’s a sign evocative of the ol’ west, all different, on every unit door in the motel like the two seen here.

These iron signs have been on the doors of the motel since then, crafted back in the days well-before they could be done by a water-jet steered by a computer, or plasma welding as it would be done today.

They’re neat. I’m always surprised as I drive by the motel at 411 West Fourth, north side of the street, that they’ve survived the ravages of time and aren’t in somebody’s back yard now. Maybe I shouldn’t even post this – I might endanger them. But our readers are pretty upstanding folks, and will just drive by and enjoy seeing them.

Who did them, and when? God only knows. I’ve tried to find out to no avail. But, I’m all ears if a reader knows…

The Dania Hall/Reno Little Theater


On August 24th of 1894 the Afdeling Waldemar Lodge #12 of the Dania Society held their summer ball at Laughton’s Resort west of Reno, all 120 or so of the members and their attendant brides, and the gala was considered by most accounts as a success, save for Hans Block and Peter Rasmussen winding up with a broken wrist and an amputated thumb, respectively, during a vigorous old-country Danish dance. But notwithstanding those inconveniences, according to the Reno Evening Gazette a day later, all were looking forward to next year’s party.

This has little to do with today’s column. Continue reading

Cal Pettengill in Venice


Possibly inspired by an earlier post about Greco’s Reno Accordion Band, we see here a 1958 photograph of Cal taken in Italy when he spent a summer away from the University of Nevada and Sigma Nu fraternity, to labor as an accordionist for one of the larger gondola operators in Venice, performing, and occasionally singing, in weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals held on the canals, many all on the same afternoon and in same venue, a characteristic of Italian celebrations.

Cal was the musical director for the old Blue Plate Special and may again take up those duties if I can figure out how to put music on WordPress. He remains available for private parties on a limited basis



Not exactly from Tony Pecetti’s Ballroom on Commercial Row, but you might have seen these squeezebox players on KZTV – now KOLO-TV – when it first went on the air. The accordion students of Frank Greco; most remember the “Girl with the laughing eyes,” Nilsine Nillson now married for umpteen-plus years to my buddy Skip Hansen

One of these days soon I’ll tell the story of KZTV’s 1953 opening, right here on the Ol’ Reno Guy (NYSE stock code ORGY) And I did, see Mar. 22!<