Tour Locations | Downtown Reno: From the Reno Arch to the Truckee River
LOCATION 10 | Downtown Reno: From the Reno Arch to the Truckee River
Virginia Street Bridge
Let’s stop here by the Virginia Street Bridge.
This is where it all began.
Before Reno was Reno, it was a ferry crossing. Pioneers and miners would cross the river at this point. In 1860 CW Fuller built a wooden bridge at this very spot, and after it was destroyed by a flood, he built a second and sold it to Myron Lake. The town was then called Lake’s Crossing, which it remained until It was renamed Reno at the arrival of the Transcontinental railroad. In short, this is the very spot Reno began.
In 1905 the city constructed a concrete arch bridge here which became world famous for an interesting tradition. Since divorce was legal and relatively easy in Nevada, divorced women, after being legally freed from the ties of matrimony would stand on the the bridge and throw their wedding ring into the river.
On New Years Day of 1997 the city was hit by a huge flood. The old bridge’s double arch construction turned it into a sort of debris catcher, which forced water over the bridge and into downtown where most of the businesses you see now were flooded. In 2016, the city replaced the old bridge with this new design, which includes a nod to the double arch of the 1905 bridge, but with plenty of room for floodwater and wedding rings beneath it. Though most Renoites miss that old bridge, this is a pretty good substitute.
Let's keep moving.
With your back to the bridge, continue along the right side of Virginia Street, hugging this brick building on your right.