If these Mapes Hotel champagne glasses could talk

Posted: November 22, 2019 in Reno Divorce Era
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Mapes Hotel vintage champagne glasses

Vintage champagne coupes from Mapes Hotel estate 

Our dear friends, Deb Wiger Geraghty and James Stavena, surprised Bill and me with these vintage champagne coupes (saucers) from the Mapes Hotel estate. Deb and James are Reno divorce era history buffs and always on the lookout for vintage items from Reno and Carson Valley antique shops.

It was easy to imagine the elegant Sky Room at the Mapes, where Reno society and the divorce seeker colony went for dinner, drinks, dancing and a show. 

As Bill and I toasted each other with these beautiful glasses, we wondered whose lips — famous and infamous — had sipped from these glasses back when.

Bill was at the Mapes on opening night, December 17, 1947

 

MapesHotel

“I was in my second month of working as the head dude wrangler on the Flying M.E. dude ranch, twenty miles south of Reno. 

The newly-completed Mapes hotel, overlooking the Truckee River, was twelve stories high, the tallest building in Nevada at the time. Until then, the El Cortez Hotel was the tallest at seven stories. The Mapes Hotel changed the Reno skyline. 

On opening night, December 17, 1947, Reno society and Hollywood celebrities turned out en masse. Emmy Wood, the Flying M.E. proprietor, Allie Okie, the ranch hostess, and I escorted two carloads of ranch guests to opening night.

Allie and I stayed in the cocktail lounge and casino with the guests who wanted to gamble. Emmy took the others up to the Sky Room on the top floor. Reservations were not taken for opening night, but Emmy, who was already a legend in the Reno divorce ranch business, had pull. She and her guests were immediately seated at a window table. Joe Reichman, billed as “The Pagliacci of the Piano,” and his orchestra were playing and the dance floor was crowded. Emmy said later the views through the large picture windows overlooking the lights of Reno and the surrounding foothills and mountains were magnificent.

In the ground floor casino, Allie and I spotted actors Bruce Cabot and Johnny Weismuller, the boxer Maxie Rosenbloom, and other familiar faces. Weismuller was easy to spot with his long hair, dark glasses and unmistakable physique. He had just begun his six-week residency at the Donner Trail Ranch in nearby Verdi to divorce San Francisco socialite Beryl Scott.  During the next six weeks, he spent so much time at the Mapes gambling, drinking and dining, a newspaper reporter dubbed him “Tarzan of the Mapes.” We all got a kick out of that.”

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Excerpted from The Divorce Seekers — A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler.

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