Designed by Frederick DeLongchamps in 1932, this post office is one of
the best examples of Art Deco design, specifically Zig-Zag Moderne, in
Nevada. MacDonald Engineering constructed the building, with the assistance
of the Civil Works Administration (CWA), one of President Franklin Roosevelt's
New Deal programs. The post office, which also housed a variety of Federal
agencies, opened for business in 1934. The land for the post office was
acquired in 1931 from Katherine Kincart Coughlin, Riverside Realty Company,
and the Board of Washoe County Commissioners. A portion of the site was
occupied by a Carnegie Library, demolished to make way for the post office.
The Reno post office is one of the
best examples of Art Deco design in Nevada
Photo by Charles Miller,
Courtesy of Nevada State Historic Preservation Office
Although standard building plans had been developed for post offices, commissioned
architects were allowed, where practicable, to give individual treatment
to the exterior details. DeLongchamps achieved this with exceptional skill
and artistry. The exterior is pale green terra cotta incised to resemble
quarried stone. The aluminum panels over the entrances salute transportation
and are integrated with patriotic and American Indian motifs in the interior.
The first-floor lobby has spectacular highly ornamented, dark marble walls
highlighted with cast aluminum. Until the area was enclosed in order to
house the HVAC units, the central portion of the ceiling was a large skylight.
A fourth floor was originally planned but never built. The two upper floors
of offices opened onto the open area created by the skylight. Situated
along the Truckee River, with a large park-like lawn in front, the post
office in downtown Reno is one of the most attractive buildings in Nevada.
The Postal Service still occupies this building.
Postcard of Reno Main U.S. Post Office
Photo Courtesy of Joy Fisher, USGenWeb Penny Postcard Collection
The US Post Office--Reno Main is located at 50 South Virginia St.
in Reno. The post office is open to the public 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday-Friday.