Hello Dear Reader(s)

Yesterday I enjoyed a little of Reno’s history and tales of ghosts during a guided tour downtown. Since today is Halloween I wanted to share some stories that were not covered in that tour I took.

The Levy Mansion, built in 1906 is now home to Sundance Books is very haunted. I myself have felt unease going upstairs especially by that balcony window. Before it was the bookstore, it was the home to Metro Day Spa. The owners experienced paranormal activity to the extent that they brought a investigators in to check things out. They chose mediums, Debby and her husband Mark. Her findings are below.

But first let’s talk about the builder:

William Levy was one of Reno’s many successful entrepreneurs, who made his fortune through his mining interests in The Unionville Mining Company. He build this 3 story house facing S. Sierra St (then called Granite Street). After he died, his two surviving daughters, Mildred and Fritzi, reoriented the building 90 degrees to leave the east end available for commercial development.

Mildred and her family continued to live in the mansion, while Fritzi, the unsentimental one, built a gas station on her side, and lived in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Fritzi’s gas station was plowed under, and the land taken by the city so that S. Sierra St. could be widened. The Levy House is listed on the National List of Historic Places, giving it protection from any more city projects.

Now back to the findings of the mediums hired by the Metro Day Spa owners.
Debby came in contact with 3 children. A young boy died of a disease sometime in the house’s history. She thinks that he finally went to the other side. Two 9 or 10 year old girls: One of these entities is a ball of fire, energy-wise, and is the one who runs all over the second and third floor, and outside as well.

A female entity, the victim of a fire, which had started in the basement. A male entity, who is closely connected to one of the young female entities, as he is described as being an over protective father/uncle type. Perhaps this male entity felt responsible for the active girl’s death, and is trying to make up for his perceived inattention which may have led to the girl’s unfortunate demise.

 The Riverside Hotel, the downtown post office and the Washoe County Courthouse

All of these buildings were designed by Frederic DeLongchamps. Let’s start with the first building he built.

In 1909 the Reno Courthouse was Fredric’s first solo commission of his long career. This 2 story building featured some notable art. Right inside at the main entrance of the Washoe County Courthouse, There is an American Indian mural by Robert Capies. Under the stained glass dome on the second floor, there are two Hans Meyer-Kassel oil paintings.

Reno is known as the divorce capitol of the world (or was). in 1927 Reno relaxed its divorce laws by shortening the residency period requirement, from 1 year, to 3 months. During 1931, when the Nevada began to feel the effects of the Great Depression, the Legislature gave a boost to their growing divorce industry by cutting the residency period to 6 weeks. Between 1929 and 1939, there were 30,000 divorces granted by the court.

Divorce not only freed people from difficult marriages, but also broke some hearts, which never got over the trauma and loss of someone who was supposed to be a beloved spouse until “death do you part.” Many people have reported seeing apparitions, feeling cold spots and the overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness. (Not an uncommon thought if your court case does not go your way).

1927 Fredrick build the Riverside Hotel.

George Wingfield (who bought the property of the Riverside hotel after it has burned) lobbied for a shorter residency period to prepare for his hotel’s grand opening in 1927. Wingfield knew a reduction of the residency requirement from six months to three months would bring security to his massive hotel. With the legislation in place, his hotel was filled with an influx of divorcees. Just after residency was reduced, greater draw to Nevada came in 1931 with the state’s legalization of gambling. The Riverside met that legal opportunity by opening a casino in 1935. So Reno can partially thank George Wingfield for the city being known as the Divorce Capitol of the World.
On the tour I took yesterday they claimed that this building was haunted by victims in one of the two previous fires and that artists who rent the lofts say they can hear footsteps and a woman screaming. I have found no research on such hauntings written down.

Fredrick built The Reno Post Office between 1931 and 1934 as a combined post office and federal building to house offices for federal agencies.

The exterior is pale green terra cotta incised to resemble quarried stone. The aluminum panels over the entrances salute transportation and are integrated with patriotic and American Indian motifs in the interior.

The first-floor lobby has spectacular highly ornamented, dark marble walls highlighted with cast aluminum. A fourth floor was planned but never built. Until the area was enclosed to house the HVAC units, the central portion of the ceiling was a large skylight that was open to the first floor. The hallways on the second and third floors opened onto the area the architect called the “light court.”The building functioned as Reno’s Main Post Office until 1975, when it was replaced by a new, larger facility near the airport. The downtown building retained a postal function, but as a station, providing post office box and window counter service. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. In August 2012, ownership of the Reno Downtown Post Office was transferred from the Postal Service to a local development group, 50 South Virginia LLC, which carefully restored the building’s original skylit central atrium. In 2015, The Basement opened with a mix of retail and dining below ground.

Some claim to feel a presence in the building. Could it be Roy Frisch trying to communicate what happened to him?

Roy Frisch grew up in Reno and was a veteran of World War I. He served as a Reno city councilman and as the Washoe County assessor before taking a job as the head cashier at George Wingfield’s Riverside Bank, the job he held at the time of his disappearance in March of 1934. At the time of his disappearance, he was 45 years old and lived in the family home at 247 Court St. with his mother and sisters, Alice and Louisa. On March 23, 1934 (the day after his disappearance) Frisch was scheduled to testify to a grand jury that was investigating a confidence scheme involving Reno “sportsmen” William J. Graham and James C. McKay. In 1933, they were indicted in a mail-fraud scheme that bilked investors out of thousands of dollars. The transactions took place at the Riverside Bank, and Frisch was to be the government’s key witness in their trial. His testimony already had resulted in the conviction of several New York residents involved in the scheme. At the time, Reno was also a hotbed of activity for some of the country’s most notorious gangsters, including bank robber Lester Gillis, better known as “Baby Face” Nelson. Nelson was a known associate of Graham and McKay, having been involved in their bootlegging operation during prohibition. Nelson and his criminal associate, John Paul Chase, were in Reno on the night that Roy Frisch disappeared, and many, including Frisch’s assistant cashier Joseph Fuetsch, were convinced that Nelson had abducted and killed Roy Frisch. In 1935, John Paul Chase (arrested and facing a long prison sentence) told FBI agents that Nelson had killed Frisch and they dumped his body in a mine shaft east of Reno, but he later recanted that testimony.

Mapes Hotel Site 

Reno’s town square is where the Mapes Hotel used to be. It was demolished on Sunday, January 30, 2000 to the dismay of many long time Reno residents. The Mapes had been closed since December 17, 1982. During it’s hayday it played hosts to many of the rich and famous such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, etc.
The Mapes was said to be haunted even when it was open. (Let alone left abandoned for 18 years. John Richard Tinnes was one of those ghosts. On Feb. 7th, 1947 John, who was going through a divorce, lept from the roof of the Mapes.
Security guard of the Mapes had reported seeing a blonde women who resembled Marilyn Monroe and sometimes referred to as “The woman in white” walking throughout the building hallways. She has been reported being seen still on the site.

There are so many other haunted sites in Reno that Will have to be explored in more Story time posts. A quick listing of the ones I know are: Libby Booth Elementary School, Harras Casino, The United Methodist Church in Downtown Reno, Wooster High School, Nye Hall, Robb Canyon, Cleanwater Demon House, The Reno Sparks Convention Center, Walden’s Coffee Shop downtown, Reno High School, Lake Mansion, El Cortez, Vaughn Middle School, Bartley Ranch Regional Park, and Huffaker Middle school.