Filed Under Businesses

Nevada Auto Service

One of the first commercial properties on South Virginia Street serviced cars in 1929.

In the late 1920s, South Virginia Street was heeding the siren call of the automobile age. Service stations, dealers, and repair shops were popping up all along the thoroughfare, gradually adding a different character to the formerly quiet stretch of road.

Constructed in 1929, the beautifully patterned brick building at 761 South Virginia started out as Nevada Auto Service, Reno’s authorized Buick service provider. Bob Nelson managed the shop, which he ran until the late 1940s. In later years, he and his wife, Yula, lived in the apartment upstairs. From 1950 through the late 1960s, the ground floor was the home of Ayres Auto Parts and, later, to a number of other auto supply stores.

In 1963 or 1964, the 777 Motel was constructed next door, replacing a used car lot of the same name. That history accounts for the partially covered “777” and downward arrow painted on the south-facing wall this building shares with the newer motel.

A wood frame duplex long occupied the lot just north of the building, and burned down in 1950. It was never rebuilt, and in later years the site was dedicated to used car sales.

In May 2016, after a major renovation, the building opened as The Saint, a bar, music hall, and barrel house. In 2022 it became a music venue and bar called Cypress.


Tree-lined thoroughfare
Tree-lined thoroughfare A photo taken from across the street reveals the neighborhood's residential past. Note the single-family home and tall trees where the 777 Motel would be built in the sixties. Source: Barry O'Sullivan
Nevada Auto Service ad, 1932
Nevada Auto Service ad, 1932 Bob Nelson advertised his company's many services in a 1932 newspaper ad. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: March 17, 1932
Frame shop
Frame shop By the 2000s, the building was no longer dedicated to auto parts and service. Source: Washoe County Assessor
Writing on the wall
Writing on the wall The mystery of the partially-covered "777" on the building's south wall is explained by the 777 Used Car lot that occupied the site prior to the construction of the 777 Motel in the early sixties. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2015
The Saint, 2016
The Saint, 2016 After a major renovation, the building opened as The Saint, a bar, music hall, and barrel house, in May 2016. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2016


761 South Virginia Street, Reno, NV


Alicia Barber, “Nevada Auto Service,” Reno Historical, accessed July 19, 2024,