Implosion


The first time I saw the Mapes Hotel and Casino had been 21 years earlier as I passed through town on my way home for Christmas leave. The old building was the Greyhound Bus stop and it was there that we were allowed to get off, stretch our legs and get a bite to eat.

Jus’ over 23 years prior to this, Mom and Dad spent their one and only honeymoon night at the then popular hotel. About half a year later their marriage would implode and our family would start on the path to dividing, one side or the other.

By the time I left the Marine Corps and moved to Reno, the old nighttime hotspot had been shuttered for around five-years. I walked by its dirty windows and boarded up doors every day on my way to my first casino job at the Club Cal-Neva as a keno writer.

For years city fathers fought back and forth over what should be done with the place. Some wanted to refurbish it and turn it into apartments, while others wanted to demolish it, making room for a revitalized downtown area.

After nearly twenty-years of neglect, it was decided that the building was too far gone to save. And several groups had done their best to save the Mapes, even going so far as to attempt to have it listed as a historic site, but to no avail.

It was a crisp January morning when Kyle and I got up and drove downtown to the post office that sits between Center and Virginia. Its parking lot faces the Truckee River and at the time offered the best view of the Mapes Hotel and Casino.

We were there only a few minutes, when a siren wailed in the distance and the first explosion erupted. Within the blink of an eye the old brick structure was nothing more than a pile of rubble, its dust, tailing slightly northwest on the early morning breeze.

Like my parents marriage, it was now gone, irreparably damages beyond what it had been at one time. It too was a victim of implosion, destroyed from inside.

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