NevadaGram #14 – Wendover, Ely, Hawthorne, Boulder City


The new edition of The Complete Nevada Traveler has rolled into Gold Hill in a big 18-wheeler from Dexter, Michigan. We’ve unloaded 4,000 copies and are now shipping the 1,000 copies that have already been sold. Like our website, the book provides current travel information and historical background about all Nevada’s towns and cities (see e-mail below for a reader’s review).

We can now take your book orders online for Personal copies and gifts or for Resale.

My Wendover item in the September Trip Report was out of date before its electrons settled. The Mississippi-based Isle of Capri company had bid $30 million, but Columbia Sussex Corp (Horizon, Lake Tahoe; Maxim, Las Vegas) upped the ante to $31 million for the Silver Smith and Stateline, the bankrupted Smith Family hotel casinos on the Utah border. As the High Desert Advocate reported, “Attorneys for the two battled like poker players from the old west. In counter bids ranging from one to two million they raised and counter-raised until the price climbed to $41 million.”
Soon to be under new ownership.
Soon to be under new ownership.

At that point, the Peppermill (which had abandoned an earlier offer for the properties) came back to the table with a partner called Generation 2000 and offered $42,500,000. Isle of Capri folded, but Columbia Sussex hung tough until the bidding reached $55 million. But that was their limit, and the sale went to the Peppermill — which will operate the Silver Smith— and Generation 2000 — which will operate the larger State Line. The sale includes a $22 million non-refundable deposit, which will go a long way toward paying

the unsecured creditors and the back taxes sorely missed by the Wendover schools. The City of West Wendover is already deciding what to do about annexing Wendover Utah (citizens of both communities approved the idea at the recent election) while facing the grim decisions demanded by a $600,000 budget deficit. Having these two properties on the eastern boundary returned to full throttle is most welcome to Wendover, Elko County, and the state as a whole.

Ely's Stardust: not feeling the pinch.
Ely’s Stardust: not feeling the pinch.

Effects of the West Coast Dock Lockout are being felt everywhere in our land-locked (until the Colorado River is dredged to the Gulf of Cortez) state. According to newspaper reports, the reduction in truck traffic across Nevada has in turn reduced receipts at the pleasure ports along the long-haul routes.

The slowdown may have affected the brothels along I-80, but Stephanie Pleasants, who runs the Stardust Ranch, says it hasn’t slowed trade in Ely‘s last remaining licensed brothel. “We don’t get a lot of truckers as a rule, they generally pull off the highway by McDonald’s. Things are a little slow just now, but that’s because of the time of year, not the lock-out on the docks.”

Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum

This Museum in the Boulder Dam Hotel tells the story of the Boulder Canyon Project as it was experienced by the men and women who built it.

I spent a pleasant day in Hawthorne last week, and felt an unaccustomed air of optimism in the old city. A major “Western Addition” is being planned complete with hot springs spa, and an aged County building has been transformed into a modern new meeting hall and Chamber of Commerce office by local volunteers. I stayed at the El Capitan, and dined across the street with the local folks at the traditional Thursday Night Dinner at Joe’s Tavern. Stop in at Joe’s when you’re in Hawthorne and visit one of the landmarks of Old Nevada.

Hawthorne is the launch-pad for a beautiful route into California. Go south at Hawthorne’s one traffic light 62 miles to US 395 and seven miles further to Lee Vining and the Tioga Pass Road (California 120) to Yosemite. I left Hawthorne at about 8:30 am and was on the road for an hour before I saw another car. The mountains above Lee Vining

 Hawthorne's Memorial Rose Garden is a monument to love and remembrance.
Hawthorne’s Memorial Rose Garden is a monument to love and remembrance.

were striped bright yellow along the watercourses by aspens. Yosemite was green, gold, blue, white and the color of rocks. It’s a magnificent drive in the fall, but check road conditions before you head out, California 120 still closes for the winter.

Overheard at Joe’s Tavern in Hawthorne: “Would you like to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

David W. Toll



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