Werrin Building

Werrin Building

The Werrin Building stands on the south end of Virginia City’s main street and dates to 1873. John Werrin was a grocer from Cornwall, and his business stood on the edge of what was a Cornish neighborhood. While the main floor provided space for his business, the upper story was a lodging house. Virginia City’s declining prosperity during the 1880s caused the boarding house to be abandoned while the main floor saw various uses over the subsequent decades.
Apartments consisted of one or two rooms. Some had windows while others did not. There is considerable variation in wallpapering, so presumably each tenant could decorate according to taste. Access to a communal privy in the back was down the central hallway.
Today the main floor serves as home for the popular restaurant “Café del Rio,” but the second-story lodging house remains largely as it was in the 1880s. Original room configurations, paint, and wall paper survive to convey the feeling of a domestic space in the nineteenth-century. (Text by Ronald M. James, from
Online Nevada Encyclopedia gallery, where additional photographs may be viewed.)


Click here to see the location in Google Maps.


  • Devaney Werrin
    Posted at 15:32h, 28 November Reply

    Hi, I wonder if you ever manged to find out anything further about John Werrin or his family? I have traced our family back to John, but as we still live in England it is a bit harder to access any historical records and information relating to his life in America.. I would love to know a bit more about him if possible! 🙂 thanks x

  • admin
    Posted at 20:12h, 07 January Reply

    I’ll forward your query on to Ron James, who authored the caption above, and who took the detail photographs featured on the Online Nevada Encyclopedia gallery: http://www.onlinenevada.org/virtualgalleriesview?action=cover&id=147

  • Sidney James WERRIN
    Posted at 15:36h, 07 January Reply

    I believe John Werrin is one of my ancestors. Do you have any further details regarding his arrival from Cornwall (Stoke Climsland) and after settling in America? If so would be fascinated to receive any details that you are able to provide as I have little time and resources to research family history at the moment. Many thanks in anticipation. Sid Werrin.

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