Virginia Street Bridge

The Virginia Street Bridge is a work of art itself, but it also has great historical significance for the City of Reno. Charles Fuller first developed this river crossing site in 1860. It was later purchased and expanded by Myron Lake who served as the inspiration for one of the city’s early names, Lake’s Crossing. The toll bridge here created a key connection between California and the Virginia City Comstock Lode, bringing Lake great wealth from the heavily trafficked tolls. After long legal battles, Washoe County acquired the bridge from Lake and then commissioned the construction of an iron bridge to replace the wooden one. The “iron bridge” remained on the site until the twentieth century when the age of the automobile dictated the need for a wider bridge. The classic double-arched bridge located at the site from 1905 to 2016 was designed in a Beaux Arts style by San Francisco architect John B. Leonard and was built by Oakland contractors, Cotton Brothers and Company. The bridge gained fame during Reno’s era as the “divorce capital of the world”. As legend has it, recent divorcees would throw their wedding rings into the Truckee River from this bridge after their divorce was finalized at the nearby Washoe County Courthouse. Historical accuracy aside, many Hollywood films capitalized on the iconic scene, including the 1939 film “Reno” and the 1961 film “The Misfits” starring Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. Eventually time and flooding took a toll on the bridge and damaged the foundation. It was determined that it would be too costly to repair the bridge and that a new design with a single span over the river would help alleviate downtown flooding. The current bridge was dedicated in 2016 and incorporates arches, reminiscent of the previous bridge as well as historic light posts.




Street parking

Walk along the Truckee River

Learn more about the Virginia Street Bridge and its history.