Park Motel and Park Grocery

The Park Motel
The Park Grocery
Park Grocery Sparks Museum
1960 City Directory
Park Grocery
Park Grocery Interior
Park Chicken Shack
Park Motel sign
Park Motel in 2014

Today, the intersection of 15th Street and Prater Way may seem an odd location for a motel. But in the early 1930s, it was the ideal spot, right on the route of the coast-to-coast highway.

For years, Mabel Smith ran an auto camp and service station on the northwest corner of 15th and what was then called County Road. In 1934, officials shifted the highway route south to B Street (Victorian Avenue), prompting Smith and some neighboring business owners to sue Sparks city council for the sudden loss of business and their plummeting property values.

The auto camp didn’t close, but it did sell, to Harry and Magdalena Kendall, who upgraded the property into a proper motel with a series of different names. By the mid-1940s it was the Park Motel, referring presumably to nearby Deer Park, with a tall neon sign featuring a cheerfully waving bellboy.

After Harry died, Magdalena sold the place to Lloyd Logan and his business partner, Ronald “Clete” Rinehart, who became the sole owner in 1949. Clete, his wife Orella, and their daughter, Diane, lived in Kendall’s small triplex on the corner of the lot. Eventually they bought the building, renovated it, and opened the Park Grocery there in 1952.

The market was small, but it was packed, complete with a traditional butcher counter. It soon became a favorite lunchtime and after school stop for Sparks High School students, and in the late 1950s, it started to operate on a 24-hour schedule.

Small family-owned groceries began to struggle in the 1960s with the growth of chain supermarkets like the nearby Safeway and Food Mart, which offered more products, greater variety, and sizeable parking lots. After struggling for years, the Park Grocery closed in 1988 and the building was demolished in 2003. A fast food restaurant now occupies the corner where the grocery once stood.

The Park Motel stopped catering to tourists sometime after the construction of Interstate 80, and now operates as the Park Village Square Apartments.