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[graphic] Three Historic Nevada Cities Carson City, Reno, Virginia City A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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[photo] Vachina Apartments--California Apartments
Photo by Charles Miller, Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
The Vachina Apartments building was designed by Nevada architect Frederic DeLongchamps and erected in 1922 in the Classical Revival style, characteristic of the influence of the Ecole de Beaux Arts on DeLongchamps earlier work. The building was one of the earliest major apartment buildings constructed in Reno, and exhibits the same formal symmetry of the architect's larger Classical Revival works in the area, such as the Washoe County Courthouse. The exterior walls of the two-story building are constructed with small concrete blocks, while large concrete block quions enrich the corners. DeLongchamps's careful attention to detail can be seen in the small Classical portico and cornice. The original owner of the apartment building was Aldo Vachina, who also represented the Italian Consul in Reno. Reno had a significant Italian population, and Vachina was one of many Italians who made significant contributions to the city's development. They were agriculturalists, stonemasons, dairy farmers and business owners.

Later renamed the California Apartments, this building also played a significant role in Reno's divorce industry from the early 1920s through the mid-1960s, by housing temporary "Nevada residents" prior to their divorce court appearances. Until 1927, divorce-seekers had to call Nevada home for six months before a divorce could be granted. In 1927, the residency period was reduced to three months, which boosted the divorce trade. By 1931, when the residency period was lowered to six weeks, the number of temporary residences increased even further. Apartment vacancies were rare, which helped keep Reno afloat during the Great Depression.

The Vachina Apartments--California Apartments are located at 45 California Ave. in Reno. It is still a private apartment building and not open to the public.

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