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Thursday, November 10, 2011

RENO: The Biggest Little City in the World

While Houston was the largest city in Texas, Reno is the biggest little city in the whole world (this sign above is right next to my hotel, the Eldorado).  Doesn't matter what this really means, but someone named G.A. Burns won $100 (with an effective value of $1250 today) in 1929 for coming up with this slogan.

Like Houston was named after a general, Reno, too, was named after one:  General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed at the Battle of South Mountain in the Civil War.  Cities in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma were also initially named after this same general and three outposts gained his name from the U.S. Army.  Why?  Beats me.

Legalized gambling in Las Vegas and Reno began in 1931 as a reaction to the Great Depression.  Las Vegas got an early jump because building of the Hoover Dam began that same year.  But in those early days, Reno was where you could get divorces, looked the other way towards prostitution and was actually a larger gambling center until the 1950's.  This is where Harrah's began.  There are now 45 casinos in the Reno-Sparks area, with a population today approaching 350,000.  The crime index is below the national average (which is good).

The average annual rainfall here is 7.5 inches/year (including snow), with 300 days of sun/year.  The city is at an elevation of 4500 feet.  Las Vegas is 450 miles away and San Francisco 221 miles.

My day ended with a traditional steak meal and a cabernet sauvignon:

This is supposed to be 16 ounces, but I could only eat about a fourth, and brought the meal back to my room, for what I don't know.  I like it, though, when you can also walk out with your wine glass.


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