Capitol Motel Then and Now

Many of Carson City’s old motels are still around, converted to long-term low-income housing. And most of them were right on Carson Street, the main thoroughfare through town. But today we’ll take a look at one that bucks both of those trends. It was a block off the beaten path, away from the traffic, and it’s also been gone for over 20 years. Today we’ll look at the Capitol Motel.

The Capitol Motel was located at the corner of Fifth and Curry streets. Right behind Jack’s Bar and across from the Ormsby House. Its location one block off of the main street did allow it to be closer to downtown than most other motels. It was only a few blocks from the Capitol, though it was further from the casinos, which were all north of Musser Street. But it still seems like it was a nice shady place to rest, especially in the mid century before the Ormsby House and the new Legislature Building were built.

I don’t know exactly when the motel was built, but the 1940s or 50s is a good guess. It has that mid-century look, and that’s when motels were a growth business after the war. It sat here for decades, and by the 21st century it was suffering from a lack of maintenance.

I don’t know when it was built, but I do know when it was torn down. In October of 2003 the motel was dismantled and hauled away, and the site was left empty. It remained empty for many years, until the reconstruction of Jack’s Bar next door began around 2018. The site was used as a staging area during construction. And then after the bar reopened, under the new name Bank Saloon, the site of the Capitol Motel was paved as parking for the new bar.

There’s no trace anymore of what used to be here, but I guess this is a better use of the land than just sitting as an empty lot. And an active parking lot at least means that the Bank Saloon is doing well. Even if the Capitol Motel couldn’t get a second life, the building that was its neighbor for decades has been able to.

I had the foresight to walk around the Capitol Motel in 2003 and get a bunch of pictures just before it was torn down. Let’s take a look around, and inside, the motel.

In October of 2003 the siding was removed in preparation for demolition.

By the first week of November 2003 it was gone.

In 2009 the site sat empty. The large cottonwoods on the corner were removed soon after due to their age.

In 2018 the site was still empty, but the remodel of Jack’s Bar was about to begin.

This plastic wall art advertises the Capitol Motel, calling it Pressley’s Capitol Motel.


  1. Scott – Very cool photos ! Good update! Twenty one years. Wow. Tempus Fugit..
    Us Carson City old schoolers remember the bright yellow Capitol Motel well.
    When The Ormsby House was open, the Capitol Motel was their across the street, almost next door neighbor..
    Be very interesting if someone who lived at the Capitol Motel would leave a comment..

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