One of Reno’s oldest buildings is now under structural evaluation and may be demolished.
For 145 years trains have brought passengers past the two-story-tall, thick brick Masonic Hall in downtown Reno. Back in 1873 it was the center of town life: A grocery store downstairs. Upstairs, the fraternal organization kept California and Nevada Journals stacked to the 20-foot high ceiling.
Over the years the building survived two fires, high winds, piles of snow and floods. But now it’s arched windows are boarded up and only pigeons visit. This year’s rain and snow had Reno Code Enforcement looking closely at the weathered brick walls.
"Some fractures that they observed, if the building, the structure itself, looks like its bowing a little bit, you can't that's a sure thing," says Alex Woodley, City Code Enforcement Manager.
Now its barricaded and red “Danger” tape keeps people away. Woodley has asked the building's owner for an engineering report and he says that report could recommend repairs or for the building to be demolished.
Nevada Historical Society Curator Sheryln Hayes-Zorn knows what’s at stake.
"I would say it is priceless," says Hayes-Zorn. "Because it truly is at this point probably the last and the oldest historic structure here in Reno."
That’s a piece of history she says people won’t want demolished.
"Battle cries, saying, you know, ‘Please try to save this because it is an important structure for Reno,’ and if it goes, then what is next?” she says.
The engineering report to repair or demolish is due by the end of February.