Clampers Donate Plaque to Amtrak Depot Building

The Clampers donated a plaque at City Hall with Councilman David Bobzien.
The Clampers donated a plaque at City Hall, with Clamper Tim, left and Councilman David Bobzien.

E Clampus Vitus (Clampers) donated yesterday a large, heavy plaque to commemorate the historical significance of the train depot downtown.

The plaque was presented to the Reno City Council to recognize a slice of Reno’s history.

The inscription reads:

The railway reached Reno in June and shortly afterwards the original station was replaced by the much grander wood framed Depot Hotel. This two story building had the best rooms and restaurant in early Reno.”

The plaque is inscribed with the date June 26, 6020, which is 4005 years from 2015, an addition similar to what Masons do.

Clampers Donate Plaque to Amtrak Depot BuildingClick To Tweet

“We had a little shindig over by the train station of that day (in June of 2015),” said the Clampers representative, Tim, who presented the plaque to the council.

Council members voted unanimously to accept the donation.

“Not only is it informative, it looks like it’s built to be incredibly sturdy,” remarked Councilwoman Neoma Jardon.

The Clampers would like to donate a plaque a year to the city, and Councilman David Bobzien praised the gift.

“I would like to express my thanks to the Julia Bulette chapter,” he said. (Julia Bulette was a prostitute and madam during Virginia City’s mining boom of the 1800s.) “This ancient and honorable organization is first and foremost is a service organization.”

Bobzien said there was a typo on the plaque in the donation agreement.

CORRECTION: Clampus is spelled correctly on the plaque. Though it was not clear in the hearing, Councilman Bobzien said he was pointing out the typo in the donation agreement, where Clampus is incorrectly spelled as Clampis.

Clampus is spelled Clampis, he said. “I just want to make sure for time immemorial we’re perfectly clear so we may need some edits there. Other than that … I find this quite satisfactory.”

Online resources about the group spell it it Clampus, and one Clamper said Clampus is the correct spelling.

Though it’s based in absurdities and the words are made up, the official trademark is for ‘Clampus,'” he explained.

Wikipedia’s description of the group:

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area. The fraternity is not sure if it is a ‘historical drinking society’ or a ‘drinking historical society.'”

It is said that E Clampus Vitus has more than 10,000 members.

The plaque reads:

The Reno Depots

Myron Lake, owner of the nearby toll bridge, deeded acreage to the Central Pacific Railroad to locate the depot at this site.

In April 1868 the CPRR platted the area and on May 9th auctioned the lots and constructed a utilitarian wood depot. The railway reached Reno in June and shortly afterwards the original station was replaced by the much grander wood framed Depot Hotel. This two story building had the best rooms and restaurant in early Reno. In 1871 the Virginia and Truckee Railroad laid tracks to the Depot Hotel, and a third floor was added in 1876. The addition burned the following year and was quickly repaired. The Great Fire of 1879 completely destroyed the building. That same year a larger and even grander Depot Hotel was built with three stories, 47 rooms, a bar, and offices for both railroads. The Depot Hotel once again burned to the ground in 1889. The CPRR decided not to fund another Depot Hotel, instead building a small brick one story station with a slate roof.

In 1926 the Southern Pacific Railroad replaced the station with a more traditional Depot at the east end of this block. An annex was built on the west end of the Depot to provide access to the lowered tracks. Amtrak officially moved into the former SP Station in January 2006.

Dedicated June 26, 6020 (2015)

Julia C. Bulette Chapter

E Clampus Vitus

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Bob Conrad is proprietor and co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: client work includes projects funded by grants through UNR) and is an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College. He is a contributor to Reno Public Radio.

2 Comments

  1. I am Tim Pearce, Clampatriarch of, and Ex Grand Noble Humbug of Chapter 1864 Julia C Bulette of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus who presented the plaque . I want to thank you for your article. We are currently working on the wording for the next plaque citing Reno history about Fuller’s Bridge or Lake’s Crossing.
    I want to thank you for your coverage of this event.
    .

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