The Anasazi, the Ancient Ones, were the first to live in the area of Reno Nevada. Very little is known about them, but they are likely the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. Reno is located on a trail through the mountains right beside the Truckee River. In 1859, a man named Charles Fuller built a bridge over the Truckee River which flows west to east.
Fuller charged tolls to cross the bridge and built a hotel at the location. Fuller’s crossing was sold after two years and renamed Lake’s Crossing. The new owner, Myron Lake, was influential in politics as well as business. The new train, in 1868, had a route at the bridge crossing, since Lake deeded a land gift to Charles Crocker, who was one of the organizers of the Central Pacific Railroad. A deal was cut between the railroad and Myron Lake. Under terms of the agreement, a town was laid out at the crossing and was jointly owned by the railroad and Lake.
The city was named for General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer, who was killed during the Civil War. In 1868, the town of Reno was established and it flourished. In 1874, the Universality of Nevada was founded and contributed to Reno’s growing reputation as a cultural and transportation center.
The gold rush had started in the 1840s, and it was still under way. Nevada was heavy utilized by the mining industry, but the income from it was sporadic. The state needed a boost of regular income and Reno provided it with its brothels and gambling, which paid exceedingly well.
Reno’s growth was consistent. By the early 1900s, Reno was a water stop for wagon trains heading west. In fact now there are often floods causing water damage requiring mold restoration. Reno became a city in 1905. Then it became known for ease in getting divorces. When gambling was legalized by the state in 1931, Reno filled with gambling establishments.
Reno is still a transportation hub, just as it was when the trails became roads and railroads. In 2004, Reno was rated one of the top ten cities to live. Recreational activities and resorts, as well as gambling, create an economic and cultural diversity. Reno is called the “Biggest Little City in the World” because of its relatively small size and cosmopolitan luxuries.