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Old, historic town draws interest from redevelopers

Pat Patera

Redevelopers are taking an interest in Old Dayton, a grande dame that’s seen better days.

The Odeon Group, LLC plans a western steakhouse for the barn-red behemoth that until its closure about a year ago had been Mia’s, a Swiss restaurant.

Emigrant Trail, LLC plans a family-friendly eatery for the former Old Corner Bar that had stood vacant.

And a couple is converting the former Fox Hotel and an adjacent building into office space and possibly a bed and breakfast.

But reclaiming historic buildings can be a challenge.

Because the building that had housed Mia’s operated as a restaurant for 18 years before Odeon Group bought it from Max and Maria Kuerzi, Judy Peters of Odeon says, “We thought we could simply reopen it.”

Instead, because it had been closed for a year, she had to start the health and permitting process from ground zero.

Comprised of family members Judy and Chuck Peters, Sherry and Roger Bostrom and Georginia Loving, the Odeon Group plans to apply some interior design to the 5,000-square-foot Odeon House built in 1863, and first used as an Oddfellows Hall and reopen it as Chuck’s Western Grill, a family steakhouse.

The original trappings of the historic structure will be preserved, says Peters, including the massive bar that was filmed in the Marilyn Monroe movie, “The Misfits.”

The Old Corner Bar proved to be a tougher project. Vacant when Emigrant Trail bought it in 2005, the 1860-era structure had been a mercantile, bar, ice cream parlor, and bar.

The building needs all new plumbing and wiring,” says Jerry Masad, who also owns Carson City’s Cracker Box. “It boasts two non-functional bathrooms with doors two feet wide, and a kitchen that no health department would even consider.”

“After gutting down to the studs upstairs, we took the walls back to original stone in the basement,” says Jackie Behan, a partner in the venture.

Matching stonework will repair the exterior wall, but the mercantile mural will remain, she adds. It was filmed in the Clint Eastwood movie, “Honky Tonk Man.”

The project will add a 1933 art deco mahogany bar shipped from the Lucky Lady in Chicago. “That will be the heart of the bar area,” says Behan.

When purple paint was stripped from a pair of massive 12-foot-tall double doors, age rings of a 150-year-old Ponderosa pine were revealed.

Fred Edmunds Construction is remodeling and will build an 800-square-foot kitchen onto the now-gutted structure, with 2,400 square feet and a basement.

No opening date is set for the family-style restaurant planned, due to the extensive structural work.

What makes the project worth the work?

“I was afraid this one would fall by the wayside,” says Masad. But because he comes from a family of restauranteurs, he can spot a likely site. “Dayton is one of the fastest growing areas in northern Nevada.”

Tom Snodgrass and his wife, Thelma Bataille, undertook the job of reclaiming the derelict Fox Hotel.

“It’s a grand old lady that goes back to 1860,” says Snodgrass. “It was being abused terribly. The backyard was a trashcan. It cost me $3,000 just to haul away the trash in 30-yard containers. Upstairs, someone had been selling mattresses to people; the space was littered with razor blades and hypodermic needdles.”

He plans office space for the 2,000-square-foot hotel. Or, if permitting allows, perhaps a bed and breakfast on the second story.

“It still has great bone structure; it’s very sound,” says Snodgrass, who never met the seller: the building’s previous owner died and left it to a woman in Oregon, who had also died.

J. P. Copoulos, Architect, in Carson City was hired to handle the redesign.

Research shows the building may have begun as the Occidental Hotel, says Snodgrass, a name that in an era of widespread discrimination meant that no Orientals were allowed.

It had also been a house of ill repute.

The couple’s company also bought a 1,000 square-foot adjacent building, dating from 1897, that is also destined to become office space, available in mid-summer.

“I’m not touching the outside at all. But the inside will be completely modern,” he says.

Snodgrass retired from California five years ago. Bataille is an area real estate agent.

“Although I’m retired, I’m working more than ever,’ says Snodgrass. “This really cuts into my golf game.

“It’s kind of exciting. It’s interesting as all get out. I think the opportunity for tourism in Dayton is fantastic.”



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