Filed Under Industry

IXL Laundry

Massive skylights flooded the commercial laundry building with light upon its construction in 1934.

A sudden increase in construction activity hit Reno in the early 1930s, following the legalization of gambling and the reduction to six weeks of the residency requirement for securing a “Reno divorce.” In 1934, one of the largest projects announced was the construction of a large brick laundry building at 601 E. 4th Street.

The building was new, but the business was not. Burt A. and Nellie M. Reed had opened the IXL Laundry and Reno Towel and Linen Service at 505 E. 5th Street in 1927. Their new building, just a few blocks away, cost $12,000 and featured a steel truss roof with skylights that naturally illuminated the work space. A boiler room was tucked in back, and a spur track from the Southern Pacific Railroad ran directly behind the building for convenient deliveries.

The IXL Laundry had a range of clients, from hotels to the Reno municipal pool. The Reeds retired in 1945, selling the building to Reno contractor Paul Manuel. The following year, Manuel organized the Washoe County Laundry Owners Association, and was immediately enmeshed in a citywide laundry strike that led him to sell the business in 1947 to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rosenau. They sold the business in 1960, and it closed just four years later.

In the 1970s, after some minor remodeling, the building was repurposed into a commodity foods warehouse. In that capacity, it housed storage space, a waiting room, sanitation facilities, and a cooking demonstration room. Ed and Susan Scalzo began to lease the building around 1982, using it first for storage for their furniture and antiques business and then renovating its façade to install two large showroom windows.

In the late nineties, the Scalzos purchased the nearby historic Flanigan Warehouse to house their business, Forever Yours Fine Furniture, and the old laundry building became the home of Anchor Auctions.

Images

Anchor Auctions
Anchor Auctions Anchor Auctions moved into the old laundry building from an earlier site on Gentry Way. Creator: Alicia Barber Date: 2014
Scientific cleaning
Scientific cleaning An undated advertising card for the IXL Laundry promotes the company's advanced cleaning and pressing techniques. Source: Alicia Barber
New, Modern Laundry Equipment
New, Modern Laundry Equipment In 1937, the IXL Laundry celebrated the installation of thirteen new Western Laundry presses. Source: Reno Evening Gazette Date: December 16, 1937
IXL Hangers
IXL Hangers Artifacts retained by Anchor Auction owners Jeff and Connie Pilliod included some of the laundry's original stamped wooden hangers. Creator: Alicia Barber
A mirrored souvenir
A mirrored souvenir A combination mirror/thermometer, possibly manufactured for promotional purposes, is among the treasured IXL Laundry objects retained by Anchor Auctions owners Jeff and Connie Pilliod. Creator: Alicia Barber
Natural Light
Natural Light As it has since 1934, the steel truss-supported skylights allow natural light to stream into the building, long filled with items readied for auction rather than laundering. Creator: Alicia Barber

Location

601 East 4th Street, Reno, NV

Metadata

Catherine Magee and Alicia Barber, “IXL Laundry,” Reno Historical, accessed July 19, 2024, https://www.renohistorical.org/items/show/92.