If you’ve driven down South Carson Street ever, you’ve seen the distinctive four-story building with the Mansard roof off all by itself near the Spooner Highway intersection. It’s hard to miss because it just jumps out at you, especially without any neighbors to distract from it. Well, you won’t see it anymore because it’s been demolished. That’s right, it was always inevitable that it would be destroyed, but they finally brought out the excavators and knocked it down.
The problem with this building was that it sat in the way of the Carson City Freeway. Phase Three of the freeway is a long way off still, but preparations obviously are being made. The State bought the building many years ago, and they’ve been holding onto it just knowing that it would have to go to make way for the freeway construction. Ironically, they gave the office space to NDOT, who were the ones in charge of designing the freeway that would one day plow through their building. Construction on the third phase of the freeway hasn’t even started yet. By all accounts, it won’t start until next summer at the earliest. According to NDOT, though, there were accessibility problems with the building that would have needed to be brought up to code for them to keep using the building. There was no reason to put off demolition any longer.
Demolition of the building was quite a shock to the public. Nobody knew it was going to happen until they saw the tractors ripping into it. A lot of people were upset about it. Here are some of the comments on Facebook.
NOOOO! I liked that weird building in the middle of nothing. sad
That was an awesome building …
That’s a bummer I always liked that building
🙁 I was hoping it was just a little makeover.
What a shame, they should have just moved it to a better location in the same area.
this makes me sad…i always loved that building for some reason.
Also, to make things worse, I’m not sure that it was completely necessary to tear it down. After all, it’s not like the freeway is going right through the middle of this land. Look at the satellite picture below, with the line drawn in of where the freeway will be. The building was far outside the path of destruction. They could have easily worked around the building. I bet the only reason they need that land is because of NDOT’s love of huge interchanges. They didn’t tear it down for the freeway, in other words, they tore it down for an onramp. An onramp that could have been moved.
The history of the building is harder to piece together. Maybe if we all work together we can figure it out. I remember it was built in the 1980s, but I was just a kid so I have no idea who built it or why. Some people on Facebook have said that it was supposed to be a restaurant named Dug’s Windjammer. It was built by Captain Dug Picking, who also ran Dug’s West Indies at the corner of North Carson St and what is now College Parkway. A photo of Dug’s is below. Dug is also the genius behind this line of brothel-themed decanters. There’s probably a whole post to be written about Dug, if I could collect all the information. Sounds like a real interesting guy. And if he really was behind this building too, it answers a lot of questions about why this building was built in this spot. It doesn’t look anything like a restaurant, though.
Anyway, supposedly Dug built the building but ran out of cash to finish the project. So it probably changed hands a couple of times before being bought by the State, who knew they would need it for the freeway one day. It’s been NDOT offices for a long time, and the sign out front calls it the “NDOT South Annex.” Internal documents call it the “Landmark Building,” but I don’t know where that name came from. Now the sign sits in front of a big empty lot. It may take a long time for the freeway to actually come through here, and there will be a lot of questions about whether it was necessary to demolish the building so soon, or at all. But it’s gone now and nothing is going to bring it back, so let’s all say goodbye.
Sometime in the early 80’s there was a stock offering of sorts. The building was to be a casino in the design of a lighthouse. The location was chosen so the light would beam up Hwy 50 to attract those coming down from Tahoe. Things did not work out too well and the building is (was), a stunted, foreshortened version of what never happened.
You might check on stock offerings in that time period for more information.
Fact: I was approached to buy stock.
Hearsay: The building was a short version.
Reality: The above is as I remember the story; don’t recall Dud’s name mentioned ???
Vacant buildings cost money. Security, maintenance, and insurance must be paid for. People injured on the property can create huge liabilities. The fiscally responsible decision is to tear down an unnecessary building and minimize its cost.