Reno’s Savage and Son, Nevada’s oldest contractor, celebrates 125 years |

Reno’s Savage and Son, Nevada’s oldest contractor, celebrates 125 years

Special to the NNBV
Savage and Son Founder Frank Charles Savage and son Leonard Charles stand with family in front of Genesy & Savage Plumbers and Tinners in Virginia City in 1880.
Courtesy photo

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Savage and Son is located at 3101 Yori Ave. in Reno. Go to to learn more about the business and its 125th anniversary.

RENO, Nev. — Savage and Son, Inc. is celebrating an impressive milestone this year — 125 years operating as a family-owned business in Northern Nevada.

Established in 1893, Savage and Son serves Northern Nevada and the Sierra as a provider of full-service Plumbing, HVAC and Piping and has the distinction of being Nevada’s oldest contractor, with Nevada Contractor’s License No. 10.

Throughout this year, Savage and Son has celebrated by reliving some of its family’s rich history in Nevada, highlighting some of the iconic structures they have worked on that have helped shape the city and region to what it is today.

“This is an extremely proud year for our family,” said Len Savage, president of Savage and Son. “We are grateful we are able to continue the Savage family name in the construction industry and serve this community that we have loved and cared about for the last 125 years.”

The Early Years

The family business ties its roots back to the early mining days in Virginia City and has been passed down through five generations of family leaders.

In 1859, Leonard Coates Savage helped discover the Savage Mine in Virginia City. Leonard was unable to afford the development of the mine and found himself dealing claims in a gambling hall and transitioning his focus to a new venture.

In 1880, Leonard Coates Savage’s son, Frank Charles Savage, co-established Genesy & Savage Plumbers and Tinners in Virginia City.

In 1893, Frank moved to Reno to create his own plumbing business, Savage and Son, where staff repaired everything from steam boilers to walk-in refrigerators on ranches.

Savage and Son was the original plumbing and heating contractor for many historical buildings in Northern Nevada, including Stewart Indian School, St. Mary’s Hospital, Central (Reno) High School and Washoe County Hospital (now Renown Health).

In 1905, Savage and Son installed a heating plant at the Washoe County Hospital (now Renown) for $100, and 100 years later worked on the new Renown Tahoe Tower.

The company was the original contractor for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Lincoln Hall in 1896, and while performing a retrofit earlier this year, staff discovered the original water closet under the stairs.

Decades of growth

The family business grew rapidly along with the growth of the Biggest Little City, and Frank Charles’ son, Leonard Charles, moved the company to a new location on South Virginia Street — now Michael’s Deli — in 1941.

His son L.J. Savage joined the company in 1955, followed in the mid-1980s by sons Len and Pete Savage, who run the business today.

Savage and Son has served as the sub-contractor on many notable projects in Reno-Sparks, including Arlington Towers, Lake Mansion, Eldorado Resorts, Peppermill Hotel Casino, Atlantis Casino Resort, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Lawlor Events Center, Governor’s Mansion, Hyatt Lake Tahoe and many buildings at UNR.

Most recently, Savage and Son helped with the development of the Switch Citadel Campus and the National Bowling Stadium HVAC Piping replacement, for which the company received a Pinnacle Award for “Meeting the Challenge of a Difficult Job — Over $500,000” by the Associated General Contractors of Northern Nevada.

“We have been involved in thousands of projects over the last 125 years, but it is the people I remember most,” said Pete Savage, Vice President of Savage and Son. “Our dad always taught us that if you treat a customer right they will be a customer for life.”

Savage and Son’s longevity can also be attributed to constantly innovating. In 2005, the company built a 10,000 square-foot fabrication shop to improve operations, from cost efficiency to installation and implementation.

The Savage family also attributes their success to dedicated employees and their strong family guiding principles of valuing hard work, ingenuity, loyalty and character.

This article was provided to the NNBV by The Glenn Group on behalf of Savage and Son.


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