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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Washoe County Library
Reference Number 13000011
State Nevada
County Washoe
Town Reno
Street Address 301 South Center Street, Reno, NV
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 02/13/2013
Areas of Significance Architecture, Social History
Link to full file
When the Washoe County Library, known as the Downtown Library, officially opened in 1966, it was home to Reno's only library. The first public library building in Reno had been a Carnegie library that opened in 1904. The current Downtown Library, the third home of Washoe County's first public library, provided three times the space of the library before it and included an auditorium, not to mention a lot of room for readers as well as books. The location of the Downtown Library is within three blocks of both its predecessors and is in the center of Reno. Its location has been functional; for over a decade the Downtown Library operated successfully as Reno's only library.8 The Downtown Library is emblematic of a significant change in the community's social history: it was built during the rise of Reno as an arts community, tying it to the movement of the city from a gambling and divorce town to the thriving cultural community it is, today. The formative decade of the 1960s saw the construction of the Library as well as the Pioneer Theater-Auditorium (NRHP listed 2004) and the Fleischmann Atmospherium Planetarium (NRHP listed 1994). All three buildings are notable examples of Modern architecture. The Downtown Library, like its sister buildings the concert hall and the planetarium, not only represents Reno's growing interest in arts by its use, but also by its own construction. The Downtown Library's significant association with this local movement makes the library eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A at the local level.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria