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Ghost Towns

The Verdi Inn – Gothic Western Architecture

Gothic Western architecture

In the center of Verdi stands a mysterious and fabulous structure that looks as if it escaped from Burning Man one hundred miles north-by-northeast as the three-eyed raven flies. In 1986, Vincent and Michael DeDomenico, brothers from San Francisco, bought the building. They remodeled it in a style that Michael called Gothic Western architecture with the intent of reopening it as a bar and restaurant.

The Verdi Inn was built in 1926 in an unassuming, vernacular style by Alibrando Panelli. Ali designed and worked beside the builders. It was a 22 room hotel with a restaurant and bar. Ali was the chef and his wife, Stella, was the bartender. It was the centerpiece of the town for many years and also served as a bus stop for both the school bus and the Greyhound.

Gothic Western architecture
The Verdi Inn circa 1970

The bar was built by the Brunswick Billiard Table Co. in New Jersey of Philippine Mahogany. The back bar was made of rosewood from the Black Forest in Germany. The bar was shipped to San Francisco where it was damaged in the San Francisco fire. It was then shipped to Reno by wagon train. The bar was used at the Grotto Bar in Reno on 3rd and Sierra Street where it was again damaged in a fire. As a result of that fire, 8 feet was taken out of the middle and that is what Ali installed in the Verdi Inn.

Ali and Stella rented the east end of the building to Emmett and Louise Leonard in the 1940’s. The Leonard’s opened a lunch stand with several booths and served soup and sandwiches.

The Inn was sold to Ed and Gert Engel in 1961. On September 15, 1985, the Verdi Inn was damaged by fire. The outside of the building was intact, but there was smoke and fire damage throughout. The historic bar was charred. Then in 1986 it was remodeled into its current Gothic Western architecture with the intent of reopening, but as of today it remains closed.

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