Guy Farmer: Turning the Adele’s building into a gas station

I hereby vow to do everything possible to prevent local authorities from turning the historic Adele’s building on Carson Street into an extension of the adjacent gas station. Just as Mayor Bob Crowell and city supervisors talk about upgrading downtown Carson City, someone (no names, please) wants to turn Adele’s into a gas station. No way!

I have a long history with the Adele’s building. In the 1960s, long before that building housed the world-class restaurant operated by my friends Charlie and Karen Abowd, it was the site of an upscale bar called the Music Box, owned and operated by Bill Porter, who played a small pipe organ that filled the cozy place with soothing background music. When we intrepid young journalists covered the Nevada Legislature in the early 1960s we frequently chased politicians to local bars like the Music Box and Melody Lane. At the same time, we followed Republican leaders, including the Laxalts, to the J-T Basque restaurant in Gardnerville, still one of my favorite hangouts.

The Legislature didn’t have its own building in those days and lawmakers liked to hang out in the Capitol Press Room, looking over our shoulders as we wrote our stories, or at those legislative bars. As I recall, the stories got better and better as the evenings wore on.

My history with Adele’s goes back to 1977, when the Abowds opened their five-star restaurant. From then on, my late wife and I scheduled memorable meals at Adele’s every time we were in Carson on “home leave.” It was our go-to fine dining option and a continuing connection to our adopted hometown.

Later, after we returned to Carson in late 1995, we were regular customers at Adele’s and were always greeted warmly by Charlie and Karen — and our favorite waitress, Sheila — even when they didn’t agree with my political columns. We set politics aside when we dined at Adele’s, and that’s as it should be in today’s politically polarized world. I have nothing but good things to say about the Abowds, even when we disagree about politics. What would you rather do, eat a gourmet meal or talk politics? You know my answer.

According to a story written by the Appeal’s Anne Knowles, a diligent reporter, “The Planning Commission will consider a special use permit to expand the gas station at the northwest corner of Carson and William streets to the property now occupied by Adele’s shuttered restaurant. The move would involve tearing down the historic building and installing two more gas pumps for RVs and other oversized vehicles...” So how does that sound if you care anything about Carson City history?

I have a message for the Planning Commission, Mayor Bob and the Supes: Deny that special use permit because it obviously doesn’t “retain the traditional ‘Main Street’ character” of downtown Carson, as per the applicable city ordinance. Of course City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski of NAI Associates, the listing agent for Adele’s, will recuse himself when that issue comes before the Board of Supervisors.

The Adele’s building has been for sale since fire ravaged the property in March 2018, and the Abowds were unable to reach agreement with insurers to finance a $1.5 million renovation of the historic 1875 Victorian home. So we can thank that nameless insurance company for shutting down a shining landmark in downtown Carson.

Another issue before the Planning Commission on Tuesday is the proposed Andersen Ranch development calling for more than 200 homes on remaining west side open space. I’m concerned about increased traffic on Mountain Street and Ormsby Boulevard. Stay tuned ...

Guy W. Farmer has been a Carson City resident since 1962.


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