Ormsby House Renovation Photos – November, 2002

Before we begin, a side note about the picture below. This was the primary substance that the Ormsby House was composed of. I call it Fake Rock™, and I believe it was meant to echo the quarried stone look of the Capitol Building and the US Mint, two historic buildings elsewhere in town. The difference is that those two structures were built during the 1800’s and used actual stone blocks. The Ormsby House was constructed in 1971 and used Fake Rock™, which is only about 3 or 4 inches thick, glued to some kind of nasty cinder block wall. This, along with a sandstone stucco, was the 70’s-era face the Ormsby House put out to the world. Don’t worry, though, the Fake Rock™ will soon get what it deserves. Read on.

This is what the Ormsby House looked like at the start of November. The neon had been taken down, but everything else was left to rot. It’s basically been the same for the last few years: sad, abandoned, forlorn, decrepit. There’s a good percentage of the population here that has never known an open Ormsby House. Talk about bad publicity.

But storm clouds are gathering, because destruction is about to begin.

One of the first things they did in November was yank down a good deal of the Fake Rock™. This was the first exterior work they had done in two years, and it was quite exciting.

Some menacing equipment looms over the parking lot, looking like it wants to reach out and knock down a wall. Twisted heaps of metal lay at its feet, acting as a warning for anyone who dares come near. The parking lot itself looks like downtown Beirut after a few bombs went off.


Here’s some general rubble that they dumped in the street. It’s nice, but it’s still not as impressive as the pile they would have gotten if they just imploded the whole building. Now the Mapes in Reno — that left a nice pile of rubble behind.

The faraway view. The hotel tries to hide behind the tree, like it’s embarrassed of what it’s become. But look — what’s that stacked up along the side of the parking lot?

Why, it’s the Fake Rock™ graveyard! They moved it as far away from the worksite as they could. But what’s really scary is that it’s been stacked and sorted so nicely, almost as though they’re planning on reusing it.

One of the most visible things they’ve done so far is remove the portecochere that used to be over the front doors. Back in the 70’s when it was built, the valet parking was out in the front, under the portecochere. Eventually, because of the rise in traffic, it outgrew the little tiny driveway in the front and the valet parking was moved around to the side. And now, their plan is to build a new, 21st century portecochere on the side of the building. So this one has to come down.

They brought in a big dog crane to lift it out of there. Space was so tight that they had to close a couple of lanes of the highway to move it in there.

They strapped in the portecochere and unbolted it from its columns.

They left it sitting like this for a couple of days, maybe to make sure everything was unbolted, unwelded, and ready to go.

In the middle of the night, they yanked it out of there, leaving a big gaping hole in the side of the building.

Just removing this canopy made such a huge difference in the look of the casino.

The right half looks like it’s open, the left half looks like a war zone.

It didn’t take them long to patch up the hole, giving it a slightly less war-zone look.

No question that it’s begin worked on now.

They dropped the portecochere off along the side of the building for a little demolition work. The Guns N’ Roses logo unceremoniously bites the dust.

Around back, the columns were just tossed aside like discared toys.

It didn’t take them long to dig into the structure, rip it apart, and haul it off, piece by piece, to the dump.

Skeletonized, just about completely torn apart. By the next day it was all gone.

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