Washoe Courthouse

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Divorce proceedings broke some hearts, causing lasting trauma and loss.

Family and Civil Court decisions made here caused some unhappy outcomes.



washoe-paranormalA National Historic Places building in Reno is the 1909 Washoe County Courthouse, a beautiful, solid building designed by Frederic Delongchamps, who won the design competition for this new courthouse. This was his first solo commission of his long career. In Reno, fabulous buildings that he also designed are the Art Deco post office, and The Riverside Hotel.

The two story, granite based Washoe County Courthouse is a lovely example of Classical Revival with Beaux Arts features. Its pinkish colored cement and windows are trimmed with terra cotta decorative elements. The cherry on top architecturally speaking, is the copper dome with ribs ending in fanciful brackets.

Right inside at the main entrance of the Washoe County Courthouse, one sees an American Indian mural by Robert Capies. Under the stained glass dome on the second floor, there are two Hans Meyer-Kassel oil paintings.

This beautiful building became the place of human drama and big decisions made by judges in Courtroom 1. The Washoe County Courthouse has long been the place of civil and family cases. When the city of Reno, relaxed its divorce laws, making it easier by shortening the residency period requirement, from 1 year, to 3 months in 1927. During 1931, when the Nevada began to feel the effects of the Great Depression, the Legislature gave a boost to their growing divorce industry by cutting the residency period to 6 weeks. Between 1929 and 1939, there were 30,000 divorces granted by the court, giving the city of Reno the dubious honor of being the divorce capitol of the world.



Divorce not only freed people from difficult marriages, but also broke some hearts, which never got over the trauma and loss of someone who was supposed to be a beloved spouse until “death do you part.”

Family and Civil Court decisions made here probably also caused some unhappy outcomes for the losing party.



General Activity

Defeated entities still mope around the building and grounds, devastated by the court action.

Apparitions have been seen by the living.

Cold spots are probably felt, as well as the feeling of sadness, hopelessness.


117 South Virginia Street
Reno, Nevada 89501
(775) 328-3110

The Washoe County Courthouse can be found on the corner of South Virginia Street and Mill St. Turn left on N. Virginia Street off of Interstate 80.



  • Haunted Nevada by Janice Oberding, page 70, Universal Publishers, 2001.
  • nps.gov
  • onlinenevada.org
  • query.nytimes.com
  • hauntedhunters.com
  • ghosthunterstours.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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