Dave Maxwell
The area in Pioche where the Amsden Building and the Scott Building, the Commercial Club, used to stand before they were demolished Nov. 13 due to problems underneath the NDOT right of way on Lacour Street.

Two condemned buildings on the corner of Main and Lacour Streets in Pioche have been torn down and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is backfilling the site with dirt.

County District Attorney Daniel Hooge explained that the buildings, in particular, the stone building, the Commercial Club, also long known as the Scott Building, needed to be removed for safety reasons.

“Some water was going under Lacour Street into the basement of the buildings and causing a lot of damage. It was taking out some of the rock and foundation under the road in front of the building. The water damage was making the NDOT right-of-way very unstable.”

The county had been working with the property owners, but the old historic Pioche Fire Station nearby was not taken down. It had been used for nearly 40 years as the fire station and apartment for the fire chief.

The stone building was erected around 1865 and according to Chamber of Commerce publications “was once the hub of community activity.”

Attorney A.L. Scott once owned the Commercial Club building from 1916 to around 1966. He conducted his law practice on the first floor and lived in the basement area. Over his long ownership, it came to be known as the Scott Building. It was the basement area of this building that was causing some of the present-day problems.

Hooge said the owners worked with NDOT to solve the problem and decided it would be best to demolish both buildings.

Pioche City Council member Glenn Zelch said, when inspectors were looking at the two buildings, they realized that the wooden building, which had been constructed sometime later, “and sort of wedged in between the stone building and the old fire station,” was in fact supported by the stone building and would not be able to stand on its own.

He said that after the last big rainstorm in Pioche, water had flooded the basement area of the Scott Building and as it was being cleaned up, it was discovered there was a small room, once a bathroom, that had at one time been dug out under the roadway, extending out under the pavement (on Lacour Street). The building had not been occupied for a long time and Zelch said, “The little bathroom had long ago been shored up with wooden boards, but they had rotted and it caved in.”

After closer examination by state inspectors, who responded to complaints from the owner, Zelch said a serious traffic hazard was found. “If this caves in when a truck is going over it, there is going to be all kinds of trouble.”

After negotiations took place, a demolition was agreed upon and a contractor was hired. The demolition took place Nov. 13.

Former County Librarian Peggy Hone said, “It was a sad day for many to watch that happen; many a tear was shed.” She recalls that the wooden structure was called the Amsden Building and the first library in Pioche was in the Scott Building. The Amsden Building once housed a shoe shop and dentist’s office.

Zelch said the plans are “to backfill the area, contour it to a natural-looking slope, and next spring NDOT will do some road alignment improvements, and put in a stormwater catch basin.”

Hooge thought a small park area might also be developed.