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Ormsby House Hits 10 Years of Dormancy


Today is a momentous anniversary. It was 10 years ago today, September 21, 2000, that the owners of the Ormsby House announced that they would be closing the hotel for a major remodel. They had been trying to keep the place open while they remodeled it, they even publicly said it would not be closing as late as August 2000. But at every turn in the construction they ran into setbacks. leaking pipes, crumbling walls, outdated electrical systems. They finally decided it would be best to just shut the doors and let the place be overrun with construction workers. Nine months, tops, and they would be ready for a grand re-opening. The actual closure came on October 29, 2000. That night at midnight they locked the doors for the last time.
In theory this remodel plan would have been a great idea. But in practice–well, everyone in Carson City now knows how their great plans turned out. Ten years later and the exterior has been remodeled into a beautiful showcase for downtown Carson. But the interior is still gutted, and the pace of work is probably on record as the slowest construction job in the history of Nevada. I’ve documented, in painful detail, the growing pains of this project over the last eight years, and it’s a bittersweet mix of frustration that they won’t work faster and joy at what they create when they finally do gets their butts in gear.


This was not the first time the Ormsby House had closed. Us old timers remember when the owner, Truett Loftin at the time, declared bankruptcy and closed the doors early in 1993. The place stayed boarded up and shut down for two whole years before reopening under new owners in 1995. But that was not the end of the troubles, as a string of bankruptcies, foreclosures and auctions haunted the property all through the late 90s. Bob Cashell was brought in as general manager, and actually did a decent job of trying to turn the place around, doing the best he could with what he was given. He left after the closure and went on to be mayor of Reno. The new owners finally came in on September 15, 1999, Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr.

One thing that you can certainly say about the owners is that they are dedicated. Nobody else would have stuck with the project for this long; the stress of it probably would have killed lesser men. But at the same time, the energy in any organization comes from the top, and the Ormsby House has no energy. If they had dedicated everything that was necessary to the project, they might have hit their 9 month deadline. Add in a few unforeseen snags and we could give them a year. But for the project to drag on for 10 years, and for work to be dribbled out as such a slow pace, the blame for that can only be placed on the owners. As I speak there are people working at the Ormsby House; I saw their trucks parked outside this morning. But it’s probably a crew of five or six guys, doing one specialized little job, while the rest of the place sits empty. You can’t tackle a project that big by nibbling at it a little at a time, or else you get what we have now, a ten-year project with no end in sight.

So I have no doubt the Ormsby House project will drag on for even more years. Eventually one of the owners will die, or both, and what happens to the project then is unknowable. If they really wanted to get the hotel opened they would throw every construction worker in Carson City at the place, and turn it into a 24-hour construction zone until it was finished. But they won’t do that. They’ve had 10 years to do that and it’s never been done. So I don’t see it starting now. The Ormsby House will remain a gleaming white albatross at the heart of town, maybe one day in the distant future finally re-opening. If we’re all still alive to see it.

The Nevada Appeal has been online long enough to have built up a decent archive of news stories, and most of the original stories about the Ormsby House can still be found. In my digging I found these articles about the closure, history documents now.

Also my Ormsby House Renovation Gallery contains a full documentation of the exterior work on the building, so you can see that they really did do a fantastic job of fixing the place up.


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Day R. Williams scored top of his law school class in Evidence and Constitutional Law, and he wrote for the Law Review. He is known as a fine legal writer. Day has practiced solo for more than 20 years in Carson City. He has handled contract disputes, personal injuries, bad faith by insurance companies, probate, estates and trusts, appeals, and a murder case. Day has tried cases and appeared in court in Carson City, Reno, Minden, Yerington, Ely, Fallon, Pahrump, and Las Vegas, and he has argued before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was a driving force in the first citizen-initiated grand jury in Nevada’s history.

http://carsontrialattorney.com/

Carson’s full-service casino featuring:

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  • Poker Room
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On your “Must Not Miss” list, is the popular Downtown Wine Walk – held the First Saturday of every month from 1- 5pm. For just $10 (which supports the Downtown Business Association you’ll receive a commemorative wine glass and endless reasons to sip, stroll, and shop, the afternoon away, through Historic Downtown Carson City. Bring your wine walk glass with the Carson City Logo on it and pay only $8. Don't forget the after Wine Walk raffle prize party, 5:00pm, at the Cabaret Lounge, Carson Nugget Casino!

Tickets can be purchased at Bella Fiora Wines, Cactus Jack’s, Carson Jewelry & Loan, Carson Nugget, and Horseshoe Club, where you will receive hand stamps, glasses, and maps.

Sponsored by the Carson City Downtown Business Association, our goal is to carry on a local tradition, hosting an event which showcases a monthly Downtown celebration. It’s a Saturday stroll with a glass of wine through historic downtown Carson City where boutiques, local shops, galleries, restaurants and casinos, pull out all the stops to awaken your taste buds and tantalize your senses... experience a Downtown taste sensation!.

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Traffic was diverted around the accident scene. She was flown to the trauma ward at Renown Medical Center in Reno.

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I recently went to a special seminar on Social Security. The speaker was a retired manager with 35 years of experience working at the Social Security Administration. He went through the details of how the various benefits are computed, etc. but his observations were interesting.
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The League of Women Voters of Northern Nevada, in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Forums and American Association of University Women, has announced a series of election forums to be held Sept. 22 through Sept. 30 in Carson City.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada voter rolls have about 6,000 more registered nonpartisan voters compared with a month earlier, although both Republican and Democratic parties lost voters.

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Youth Theatre Carson City will hold an audition for Annie Jr., the classic musical this Saturday, Sept. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. in the gym at the Carson City Community Center located at 851 E. William Street.

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Join, Inc., northern Nevada’s non-profit career training agency has received the Department of Labor’s Emergency Grant Funding to provide immediate assistance to individuals who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more and have qualified for unemployment insurance.

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The Nevada Highway Patrol has identified a Dayton woman as the passenger killed in a single vehicle accident Saturday morning in Carson City in the area of Highway 50 and East Nye Lane.

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A 21-year-old Carson City man was arrested on misdemeanor DUI and hit and run charges early Monday after allegedly hitting at least three parked vehicles on Sonoma Street and leaving the scene without reporting it, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said.

Carson City Visitors Bureau and the Brewery Arts Center are partnering to promote the acclaimed film, "Find Your Way: A Busker's Documentary" Sept. 19. Leading up to the showing, performers will be taking to the streets of Carson City to showcase their talent and promote the film.

Take a Super Full Moon lit hike next Monday and learn some of the backlit history of the Washoe Valley. This is an easy one mile round-trip hike north of Carson City to the gazebo on the Deadman’s Creek trail at the start of the third "Super Moon" of the year.

Time to lace up the jogging shoes and strut with the pooches Saturday, Sept. 20 in Carson City. It's the third annual Carson Animal Services Initiative's 5K9 fun run/walk at Riverview Park on East Fifth Street in Carson City.

The fundraising event is a great way for families to show off their pets while giving them some exercise too. Awards will be given to the 1st place male and female K9 finishers. Every participant receives a free gift.

Check-in time is between 8:15 - 8:45 a.m. with the run beginning at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is encouraged and discounted fees are offered.

Here is the Carson City area road report for the week of Sept. 2-7, 2014. Crews will be striping roadways throughout the city weekdays between the hours of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Minor delays are expected on roadways that are being striped while the work occurs.

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