What may be the last standing vestige of Reno’s role as the host city of the 1960 Winter Olympics is now standing empty.
The Olympic Motel on the northeast corner of West and Second Streets first appeared in the Bell Telephone of Nevada directory in that year. This was its listing: “Olympic Apt Motel 195W2d…..FA 3-0726.” The business kept that phone number to the end of its life as a motel.
The new co-owner, Doug Weed of Napa, says he and his partner won’t tear down the building. They are now refurbishing the structure.
“Well, you know, we’re not positive what we’re going to do with it yet when we finish [remodeling] it. We’re either going to run it as an apartment—studio apartments—place, or we may … turn it into an upper scale boutique overnight hotel.”
Although the building won’t be demolished, it will change. Weed said there are two signs with the motel name.
“We’re probably going to take at least one of those two down. We may even change the name, too.”
He was surprised to learn of the link to Reno’s role as the host city. So were local historians like state archives director Guy Louis Rocha and author Dwayne Kling. Both thought all remnants of Olympic history in Reno had been removed. So did Harry Spencer, a publicist for the Mapes Hotel in 1960 who was very involved in promotion of Reno’s role. He said he had never noticed the Olympic logo on the sign and expressed surprise that it was there.
“We had trouble getting the rights to the Olympic rings for a lapel pin we put out,” Spencer said.
The A-frame building at the corner of Pine and Virginia that served as the Reno headquarters for the Olympics was torn down six years ago.
Weed said he would be willing to donate one of the signs to a historical group.
“Hadn’t thought of it, but we need to get rid of it. If they’re interested, that would be fine,” he said.