Posts Tagged ‘Mapes hotel’

Mapes Hotel vintage champagne glasses

Vintage champagne coupes from the Mapes estate 

Deb Geraghty and James Stavena gifted Bill and me with these vintage champagne coupes (saucers) from the hotel Mapes estate. 

The elegant Art Deco hotel was the place to go when Reno society and the divorce seeker colony wanted a night out for cocktails, dinner, dancing and a show. 

As Bill and I toasted each other, we wondered whose lips – famous and infamous – had sipped from these glasses back in the day. 

Bill was at the Mapes on opening night, December 17, 1947. Here’s his story…


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

The newly-completed hotel Mapes, 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 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. Emmy took some of the guests up to the Sky Room on the top floor. Reservations were not taken for opening night, but Emmy, who was a legend in the Reno divorce ranch business, had pull and she and her guests were seated at a coveted window table. Emmy said the views through the large picture windows overlooking the lights of Reno and the surrounding foothills and mountains were magnificent. Joe Reichman, billed as “The Pagliacci of the Piano,” and his orchestra were playing and the dance floor was crowded. 

Allie and I stayed in the ground floor cocktail lounge and casino with the guests who preferred to drink and gamble. We spotted actors Bruce Cabot and Johnny Weismuller, and the boxer Maxie Rosenbloom. Johnny Weismuller was easy to spot with his longish 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, Weismuller spent so much time at the Mapes gambling, drinking and dining, a newspaper reporter dubbed him “Tarzan of the Mapes.” We got a kick out of that.”


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

Read more about the Mapes by historian Mella Harmon at