Tour Locations | Downtown Reno: From the Reno Arch to the Truckee River
LOCATION 20 | Downtown Reno: From the Reno Arch to the Truckee River
The fenced off lot to your right has a sad history. Much of Reno’s foundation was built by Chinese workers. Many of the Chinese railroad workers settled in Reno once the railroad was complete.
The first China town was just across the river, and is believed to have been burnt down in 1878 by The Reno Working Man’s party - a group of white laborers who were livid that a Chinese construction company was awarded a contract to build a canal. Though the Workingman’s Party denied the arson allegations, they had held an anti-chinese meeting that night, and called for the forced removal of all Chinese residents from the city.
After that fire, the Chinese community moved to this spot, and it became a thriving china town, with casinos, shops, restaurants, brothels, laundromats and bars. But as America plunged into recession, anti-chinese sentiments grew. For immigrants who lived here, waves of racist policies and attacks scarred the community.
In 1908 the city government claimed that the Chinese population were responsible for outbreaks of disease. They also claimed that the community was a quote “moral threat”, and ordered the complete leveling of Chinatown, displacing them.
After these racist events, Reno’s Chinese population dropped dramatically, and the few remaining structures have been demolished.