It's only mine because it holds my suitcase.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The sad story of the Kings Inn

This blighted property just off Reno's main drag has been boarded up for a while. It's not prime real estate - about as close as you can get though. It's right across from the old Masonic lodge, right off Virginia where it used to cross the railroad, and it's a stark reminder of just how long Reno has been in decay. This seven story hotel and casino - hardly a marvel of architectural invention - was probably doomed from the beginning, though. Constructed in 1973, the place opened in 1974 - the hotel did, at least. The gaming license took another year [1].

Only five years later, the place filed for bankruptcy, with the casino closing in 1982 and the hotel in '86. That was 23 years ago. It's looked pretty much just like this ever since. The building is condemned, of course. There were plans to renovate the place a few years ago, but nothing came of it. I almost feel sorry for the poor building. Not that it's especially attractive or worthy of my pity, but to spend two thirds of your existence as nothing more than a cautionary tale to those who wish to follow in your footsteps is not an enviable fate.

What's odd to me is that a place like this, in the middle of a largish city, can just sit there for decades, completely ignored, while land is so expensive these days that a person earning an average wage can't even afford a modest home. The law of supply and demand just doesn't apply here, apparently.

As an aside, if you have anecdotes, pictures or memorabilia from the Kings Inn, I'd really like to hear from you. For reasons I can't adequately explain, I'm fascinated by the place and would like to know what it was like.

[1]: The Rise of the Biggest Little City. Kling & Melton, 1999

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