Through the Images of Post Cards, The Beginning and End of Jay’s Cottages in Elko, Nevada


 “Jay’s Cottages,” located at  Elko, Nevada

20 Post Cards Mark the History of  Jay’s Cottages,

1313 Idaho Street, Elko, Nevada.

By Bob Stoldal

Updated September 17, 2019

     Starting with a service station in 1925, Jacinto “Jay” and his wife Lucile Garteiz, for the next four decades, would raise a family and build what was described as “the largest accommodation in the City of Elko for the traveling public.”[i]

    The “accommodations,” known as “Jay’s Cottages,” in the 1940’s and 50’s would cover both sides of one city block on the eastern edge of Elko, Nevada.

     In addition to “Jay’s Service Station,” and a stand alone restaurant, the motel, at its peak had  149 rooms, all with television, including some with “color” as well as rooms “equipped with Englander Air-Foam Mattresses.” [ii]

    Garteiz was born in Bermeo, Spain in 1896, and immigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1914.

    Lucile Dixon Garteiz was born in Ogden Utah in 1898.  Her father was a conductor for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

     Garteiz worked for Standard Oil as a bookkeeper in East Ely, Nevada in 1920.

    He would later move to Ogden where he worked for the railroad in an unknown capacity.

   It was in Ely that Jacinto registered for the World War One draft saying “I have declared my intention” to becoming a U.S. Citizen.

    While working on the railroad he met Lucile Dixon.    She was working as a stenographer at the time.

    The two were married in 1921.

    In early 1925 shortly before his 29th birthday Garteiz moved Lucile and their new son to Elko with plans to open a service station.

    On Garteiz’s 29th birthday, July 3, 1925 the Elko Daily Free Press reported; “Jay’s Service Station, located at Fifth and Idaho Streets, is the latest addition to the fast growing gasoline and oil business in Elko. “Jay” who is J. Garteiz has spared no expense to give Elko one of the most up-to-date service stations in eastern Nevada.  Mr. Garteiz is an old hand at the game, having been in charge of several stations for Standard Oil Company along the Pacific coast.  The new station can provide the pubic with the very latest in gasoline and oil pumps and is equipped to drain cars and clean out crankcases.  Ladies’ and gentlemen’s restrooms are also provided.”[iii]

     A year after Mr. and Mrs. Garteiz moved to Elko, State the Federal government began numbering U. S. highways.

    What was once called Nevada State Route 1, and the “Victory Highway” became U.S. Route 40. [iv]

      Today U.S. Interstate 80 follows the same path  across Nevada through Elko to Utah.

    Records show over the next decade, Jay and Lucile became deeply involved in Elko community life.

      From civic organizations to marketing efforts promoting the areas benefits to the motoring public.  Lucile became an active member of the Elko Business and Professional Woman’s Club, while Jay joined organizations promoting the Victory and U.S. Highway 40.

      It is clear the two, and their two sons Raymond and Paul, and daughter Dorothy, had decided to make the largest city in north east Nevada community their home.

    In early 1936 Garteiz made his first attempt to get into the auto court business when he tried to buy the cabins owned by the City of Elko.

    At the time, Elko was running a camp ground for the motoring public.  But in March of 1936 the city announced it would get out of the “camp ground business” in two years.

    Garteiz in his letter to the Elko City Council, said the “camp is not a credit to the city and promised to build attractive grounds in the event he bought the cabins. He planned to move them to his property” according to a newspaper report.[v]

   The city wrote back that Garteiz was too late, it had already leased the public camp out for the remaining two years at $50 dollars a month.

   Despite the setback Garteiz moved forward with his expansion plans.  In 1938, he made the move into the developing motel industry by making a “modest” investment and opening six “cottages” behind his Shell gas station.

    World War Two put a stop to his expansion plans.

   Both of his son’s Raymond and Paul, served in the U.S. Navy.   Raymond, who flew 20 combat missions returned to Elko.

    His younger brother Paul after his discharge from the Navy, left for Hollywood hoping his musical skills would provide an entry to the film industry.  After a couple of tours with the USO in a company headlined by Raymond Burr, Gartiez’s dream didn’t quite come true. His last major outing was headlining travel trade shows with his musical comedy act.

   He was only 54 when he died.

     In 1946, Jay, Lucile with their daughter Dorothy, and son Ray developed plan to aggressively move into motel business.

   The plan had two stages.  First, build a motel across the street from the gas station.

      Once the motel was built, tear down the original six cottages and build a two story motel.

    The long term plan called for the eventual expansion of “Jay’s Cottages” from six to 140 units.

     A story in the July, 24, 1946 issue of the Elko Daily Free Press revealed part of the plan; “a new motel with 46 rooms will be opened in the spring, according to owner Jay Gariez.  The motel will be built across from his present motel at 1313 Idaho Street.”  [vi]

      By the time the “cottages” opened in 1948, the 46 rooms had grown to 50 and instead of the individual units, the rooms were part of one long structure with closed garages between each unit was built.

     The architecture was described as “mission style.” [vii]

      Garteiz clearly saw the value of marketing, though his membership in both the “Victory Highway Association,” and the “Highway 40 Association.”

    While he used brochures and decals to promote his service station, initially Garteiz did not use post cards to promote either his service station or his motel operations.

      But, when he made his move into post cards, he did it in a big way.

     Garteiz contacted to the Curt Tiech Company of Chicago, Illinois, at the time the largest post card company in the United States.

Jay’s Cottages – Curt Tiech Post Cards

  The Curt Tiech production logs for “Elko, Nevada, reveals Garteiz ordered linen post cards in late 1947.

      The post cards were given a C.T. alphanumeric number of 7B-H1969.

  In 1930, the company started using a letter of the alphabet to signify the decade; “An” equals 1930, B equals 1940, etc.

   The 7B meant Garteiz’s post card was produced in 1947.

     The “H” means the post card was printed on what is commonly referred to as “linen” paper, and the number at the end, 1969, simply meant this was the 1,969th different postcards Curt Tiech printed that year.

    The “Jay’s Cottages” post card was entered on the Teich log on “12-1-1947” indicting the Elko card was one of the last post cards Curt Teich printed that year.”[viii]

   The logs also reveal “Jay’s Cottages” was the last post card of Elko printed by the Chicago Company.

     Looking for the best price and with plans to use the post card for several years, Garteiz placed an order for twenty-five thousand cards.[ix]

    He also ordered his post cards with deckled, or as they are sometimes called, ‘scalloped’ edges.

      What did Garteiz have Teich print, if anything,  on the back of the post cards?

      While he placed an order for 25,000 post cards, it is likely he only printed a few thousand at a time.  Garteiz knew he was going to expand his operations and the captions on the back of the post cards would change.

      While the face of the post card never changed, there are eight known versions of the back.

      Another possibility, Teich printed all  the post cards without captions on the back.   And Lucile Garteiz, who ran the motel operation, used a local printer to add and change the information on the back over the next five years.

Garteiz and Lucky 1313

    The name “Jay’s Cottages” and the address of the business, 1313 Idaho Street, are clearly seen in the upper right hand corner of the Teich post cards.

      Garteiz owned both sides of the 1300 block of Idaho Street.  When he opened his service station, he selected 1313 as the address for his business.

  A May 1938 newspaper story reported “Jay Garteiz, proprietor of Jay’s Service Station, must be an optimist.  His station address is 1313 Idaho Street.  The building has a frontage of 13 feet, and every time Jay comes out of his glass “coop” to wait on a customer he walks 13 feet from the door to the gas pumps.”[x]

    And when Garteiz, and his son Raymond filled out their World War Two registration form, under “place of residence” they wrote “1313 College Ave” Elko, Nevada.

    Why Garteiz liked the number 13 is unknown, but it could possibly be a link to the day he arrived in the United States, October 13, 1914. (A Tuesday.)

    The expansion of “Jay’s Cottages” begins

     A few months after the Teich post cards began to arrive, Garteiz began work on the next step of his expansion plan.

   He went public with his ideas in the fall of 1949.

    Garteiz asked for and received a building permit on September 27, 1949, for what the newspaper said was “the construction of additional tourist cabins at his establishment on Idaho Street.  Garteiz has one of the finest motels along highway 40 and his new venture will give him added accommodations for the traveling public.”[xi]

   The original six cottages were replaced by the two-story building in early 1950.

    The new addition brought the number of “Jay’s Cottages” to 140 rooms.

     The first version of the post cards for Jay’s Cottages were mailed the year before Garteiz announced his expansion plans from 50 to 140.

       All of the cards have the standard 1947 Curt Teich “Colorit” credit line down the center of the back; “GENUINE CURTEICH CHICAGO “C.T. PHOTO COLORIT” POST CARD (REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.)”

       All of the eight versions of the Curt Tiech printed 7B-H1969 “JAY’S COTTAGES” post card have the following similarities;

  • A deckled-edge.
  • The same credit line on the center of the back of the post card; “GENUINE CURTEICH – “C.T. PHOTO COLORIT” POST CARD (REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.)
  • The Teich alphanumeric production code in found inside the stamp box.
  • No changes to the face of the post card.
    • No change in the color,
    • No change in the cloud patterns.
    • No change in the title.

     The eight Jay’s Cottages, 7B-H1969 post cards are separated into two groups; those promoting “50 Rooms,” and those promoting “140 Rooms.”

     All of the changes in the eight versions are found on the message side of the back of the post card.

   In addition to changing the number of rooms in the motel, the post cards were used by the Garteiz’s for a variety of marketing purposes

The 50 Room Version of Jay’s Cottages

   There are only two known versions of Jay’s Cottages with fifty room.

First Version of 50 Room Jay’s Cottage post card

      The caption on the back of the first printing of the fifty room version reads;




“50 Rooms

Air Cooled in summer

Steam Heated in Winter

Write or Phone for Reservations

Deposit Required”


 Earliest Known Postmark      Currently the earliest known postmark for the first version of 7B-H1969 is dated Elko, September 26, 1948.

Second Version of 50 Room Jay’s Cottage post card

The second version of the 50 room post cards has the same caption on the back regarding the motel, but the message space, below the caption, also contains a printed note from the Garteiz.

Based on the wording the cards were likely given to the guests at checkout, as they hoped the guests “will arrive home safely.”

The added printed note reads in full; “It has been a pleasure to have you as our guest.  Sincerely hope you will arrive home safely.”

Surviving cards, post marked Elko, were also mailed to the guests.  Currently, the earliest known post card was mailed from Elko, April 19, 1950.

The 140 Room Versions of Jay’s Cottages

First Version of 140 Room Jay’s Cottage post card.

When the Garteizs added ‘cottages’ in 1948 changed the caption on the back from fifty to 140.

They also made several other changes to the message. they sent some of the cards to the local printer update the total rooms to 140.

With Nevada now spelled out, “Deposit Required” dropped and “Reasonably Priced” added, the owners also pointed out 70 of the rooms had “New” air-foam mattresses.

Earliest Known Postmark

Earliest known postmark for the first 140 room version, September 18, 1950.  “Marry + Jiggs” wrote to their friend in New Jersey, “Sun. Stopping here tonight. Quite cold crossing desert.”


Second Version of 140 Room Jay’s Cottage post card.

The second version of the 140 room back features a similar thank you message as the fifty room version; “It has been a pleasure to have you as our guest.”

 At that point in the message, it changes.  From the original “Sincerely hope you will arrive home safely,” to “Sincerely hope you have arrived home safely.”

The second version of the 140 room back added a marketing message at the end, “Tell your friends about us.”

Also note, the letters in the thank you message are now italicized.

Earliest Known Postmark.   The current earliest known postmark is Elko, August 27, 1950.


Third Version of 140 Room Jay’s Cottage post card.

The third version of the 140 room back, uses the message side on the back to market Elko, and offering help to those who want to get married.

The help with the marriage arrangements was not directed to the recipient of the post card, but rather to friends; “If any of your immediate acquaintances with to get married, our ROMONA ROOM IS READY.  We make all arrangements.”

Earliest Known Postmark.   Currently, the earliest known postmark is Elko, December 11, 1950.


The Fourth Version of 140 Room Jay’s Cottage post card.

The fourth version of the 140 room back is in the form of a sticker pasted over the printed married arrangement offer.

The sticker message says Jay’s Cottages is the “Largest Motel in Elko.”

Along the Garteiz said “Mediocre accommodations cost as much or more than good accommodations.  Always insist on the best.  Ours are and . . . THEY DON’T COST ANY MORE.”


The Fifth Version of 140 Room Jay’s Cottage linen post card.

The fifth version of the 140 room back shows the same single line spacing as the fifth version.  The word “New” was dropped from the description of the mattresses.

When ‘new’ was removed from the sentence the space allowed the hyphenated words “Air-Foam” to be on same line.

Interested in determining when Garteiz felt the air-foam mattresses were no longer “New.”

Earliest Known Postmark

Currently, the earliest known postmark of the fifth version is Elko, September 29, 1951.


The Sixth Version and last known version of the

140 Room Jay’s Cottage linen post card.

     The sixth version of the 140 room post card has the same caption, describing the motel, as the fifth version.

In addition,  there is a thank you message  similar to the one found on the second version of the 140 room post card.

The two differences between the second and 6th versions are; dropping the word “New” from the mattresses, and the single spacing between the lines of the caption.

The tight spacing is first seen in the fifth version of the 140 room post card.

Jay’s Cottages Ends its Relationship with

the Curt Teich post card Company.

     These are the six known changes to the backs of the Curt Teich printed “Jay’s Cottage” post card.  There may be more.

By the late summer of 1953, the last of the original December, 1947 order of 25,000 post cards was all but gone.

Plus the family now owned both sides of the street as well as the service station.

It was time to order new post cards with an updated photographs.    For an unknown reason the Garteizs switch companies.

MWM Linen Post Cards

     The second linen postcard for “Jay’s Cottages” is described by the Nevada Historical society as “an important document” as it relates to “the post- (World) War (Two) travel boom.”[xii]

The post card is split horizontal view of both sides of the street, with the address between the two views.

On the top are the “Cottages” added in 1948.  They were located across the street from the original service station.

The bottom view is of the new two-story  ‘cottages.’  JAY’S name can be seen on two sides of the service station.  Jay is now associated with the Shell Oil Company.

Note the AAA sign on top of the cottages sign.

This post card was printed by the Mid-West Map Company (MWM) of Aurora, Missouri.

The “Jay’s Cottages” post cards were ordered through a business called the “Motel Contract Supply Company” of St. Louis, Missouri.

The motel supply company’s credit line is found along the center on the back of the post card where the printing company is usually found.

There are three clues on the post card clearly point to MWM as the printer.

The first is the production alphanumeric code is the type MWM used.  The listing on the Jay’s Cottages post card is 14,266F.

The second clue that points to MWM as the printer is the font used for the words Post Card on the address side of the card.

The third clue is the design of the stamp box with its rounded edge and drop shadow. That is an MWM design.

Like the Curt Teich post cards, the MWM cards saw a number of changes over time to its back.  There are eight known versions of the MWM post cards of Jay’s Cottages.

The total number of post cards Garteiz ordered though the motel supply company is unknown.


There are Eight Known Versions of the MWM post cards printed for

“Jay’s Cottages.”

The first version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card.

   The first version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” linen post card has the same message on the back of the fifth Curt Teich printed post card.

Interestingly, the word “New” is back in front of “Englander.”

Were these “new” Englander mattresses, or did Gartiez order the MWM post cards at the same the Teich post cards were boasting of “New” Englander mattress.”

Did the Gartiez’ use the Teich post card on one side of Idaho Street, and the MWM post card on the two-story side of the street?


The Second version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card.    

     The second version of the MWM ‘cottages” post card has the same caption as the first, plus a thank you note; “It has been a pleasure to have you as our guest.  Sincerely hope you have arrived home safely.  Tell your friends about us.”

In addition to  mailing these post cards to guests after they left, the cards were also available at the motel.

Earliest Known Postmark.   Currently, the earliest known postmark is Elko, May 29, 1954.  This post card also has a note from the sender; “Dear Mother, Everything is OK so far.”

The Third version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

   The third version of the MWM post card has two changes.

Garteiz dropped the the word “New”  regarding the mattresses.

The second change occurred switching from double spacing between the lines to a single space.

Earliest Known Postmark.   The earliest known post mark is Elko, September 19, 1954.  The message is from Beulah to her friends in New York. She writes as far as Elko “we can gamble, drink, anything here. The state is wide open. Our door is locked.”


The Fourth version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

Several changes were made to the fourth version of the MWM post card.

The spacing between the caption lines went from single to double.  New was removed from in front of mattresses, while the word “Air-Conditioned” was added after the word “mattresses.”

Earliest Known Postmark.   The current earliest known post mark is Elko, August 22, 1956.   The message, signed “The Tourists” wrote to their “Dear Mom + Pop. This is where we stayed last night. A home away from home.”

The Fifth version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

     The fifth version of the MWM ‘cottages’ post card has the same 140 Rooms caption as the 4th version.

The following changes from the fourth to the fifth version; A marketing note covers the rest of the message side.

The font for both the caption and the marketing message was changed to a bold type face.



The Sixth version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

The sixth  version of the MWM “cottages” post card returns to the smaller non bold type, and and to single spacing between lines.

The marketing message is gone, leaving room for a message from the guest.

Earliest Known Postmark. The earliest known post mark is Elko, September 8, 1954.  The unnamed writer wrote to his uncle in San Francisco, “This is a very nice motel  We are greatly pleased.  Walter likes it because of the name.”

 The Seventh version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

     The seventh version of the MWM “cottages” post card has a turquoise green sticker over the message side of the back.

The message on the sticker is similar to the printed message on the second version of the MWM post card.

The message on the seventh reads; “It has been a pleasure to have you as our guest.  We hope you have arrived home safely.  Thanks again and tell our friends about us.”

No space is left for a message from the guest.

Earliest Known Postmark.    The earliest known post mark is Elko, August 3, 1959.  The post card in the collection is postmarked, but without a stamp.  The postmark announces the “Nevada Silver Centennial.”

 The Eighth version of the MWM “Jay’s Cottages” Post Card

The eighth version of the MWM “cottages” post card has the same basic message as the seventh version.

Added is a mileage chart with five locations, from Reno to Salt Lake City, Utah.    

Earliest Known Postmark.   The earliest known post mark for the eighth version of the MWM post card is May 2, 1957

The MWM post card was last linen for “Jay’s” 

    The eight versions of the MWM were the last linen post cards featuring “Jay’s Cottages.”

    With the linen post card era coming to an end in the mid-1950’s, the Gartiezs’ moved into the chrome post card world.

The term “chrome” comes from Kodachrome color film and developing process. While black and white photographs on post cards had been produced since the turn of the 20th Century, color photographs on post cards did come into common use until the late 1940’s.

First Known Version of a “chrome” Post Card of Jay’s Cottages

     Similar to the  MWM linen post card, the first “chrome” post card, features a horizontal split view of “Jay’s Cottages” located on both sides of Idaho Street.

One of the photographs reflects a historic change in the family’s businesses.

Gone is the service station, the business Jay first opened three decades earlier in 1925.

The service station is replaced by a heated swimming pool.     The change took place after Jay died in 1960.

The gas station itself was saved.  It was moved to Carlin, Nevada where it was turned into a restaurant.  Current status, unknown.

The AAA sign is gone from the top of the “Cottages” sign and replaced by “JAY’S.”

The post card was printed by Dexter Press of Nyack, New York. The Dexter Press number for this post card is 52559-B.

The card was produced by Eric J. Seaich though his “Seaich Card & Souvenir Corporation” of Salt Lake City, Utah.  His name is also found as the photographer, “Color by Eric J. Seaich.

Seaich was connected all of the chrome post cards for the Garteiz family, including the last one before “Jay’s” was sold.



The caption notes  more rooms, up from 70 to 90 of the 140 are “equipped with air-foam mattresses,” and cottages are still “reasonably priced.”

The telephone number, “Republic 8-6222,” also dates the post card to the early 1960’s.



Second Known Chrome Post Card Version of Jay’s Cottages

     This is the last post card where the business would be called “Jay’s Cottages.”

Still promoting “reasonably price” rooms, the second known chrome post card was also produced by Eric J. Seaich.

Once again, Seaich took the photograph of the cottages just showing the pool side of the street.

Posed around one corner of the pool, more than a dozen people are seen in and out of the water.   

   While not credited with its logo on the back, this Jay’s Cottages post card like the last was printed by Dexter Press.

The company’s alphanumeric production number, E-34072-B is found on the lower left corner on the back of the post card.


Third Known Chrome Post Card of Jay’s Cottages -Motel

   The third known chrome of “Jay’s Cottages” reveals several major changes in the operation.

The sign that used to stand in front of the service station with the words “Jay’s Cottages” is gone.

For the first time, a night time  photograph is used on a Jay’s post card.  The image shows a tall  free standing pole topped by a star burst.

Three signs are attached to the pole.

The tallest sign features the new name of the business, “Jay’s MOTEL.”

Next is a changeable billboard type sign that reads, “ONE MILLION GUESTS COULDN’T BE WRONG. INVESTIGATE NEVADA’S LARGEST. OPEN 24 HOURS.”

The bottom sign shows the name of a new business on the corner of the motel property, “Denny’s Coffee Shop.”

The Garteiz family built the restaurant on the corner of their property and in 1962 it was leased to the national restaurant chain, “Denny’s.”

The caption on the back reveals the number of rooms dropped from 140 to 130.   And the number of rooms available was reduced from 140 to 130.

Jay’s would no longer promote it has air-foam mattresses.

Gartiez was still using Seaich to produce his post cards.  The credit line down the center of the back the post card is “A Natural Color Card Produced by Eric J. Seaich Co., Salt Lake City.”

Seaich used another company to actually print the post cards.

There is also a diamond shaped logo with a K in the center on the lower left side of the back of the post card.

In addition a production number, 68556 is found on bottom of the center of the back.


Fourth Known Chrome Post Card of Jay’s Cottages -Motel

The fourth known chrome of “Jay’s Motel” has the same image on the face as the third chrome post card, as well as the caption on the back stating 130 units were available for rent.

This is the ‘thank you’ version of the third version, with the night time photograph.  Same production number, 68556.

The major difference is the additional message on the back, a thank you note in a script font style.

“It  has  been a  pleasure  to  have

You as our guest and we hope you

have  had  a  safe  and  enjoyable


Tell your friends about us.”

The same  a diamond shaped logo with a K in the center is found on the lower left side of the back of the post card.  The production number, 68556 is the same as found on the fourth chrome post card.

Earliest known version is June 18, 1964 with the Nevada Centennial cancellation.


Fifth Known Chrome Post Card of Jay’s Cottages -Motel

The fifth known chrome of “Jay’s” is a day time scene, taken from a similar angle the fourth chrome post card.

There are two major changes on this post card.

The number of available rooms was dropped from 130 to 100.

And the Denny’s corporation was no longer operating the restaurant.       The name was changed to “Benny’s Coffee Shop.”

The billboard sign on the pole is changed to read, in red letters, “AIR-CONDITIONED. SWIMMING POOL” and what looks like “FAMILY RATES”

The post card was printed by the same company as the third and fourth chrome.  The a diamond shaped logo with a K in the center on the lower left side of the back of the post card.

With the new photograph, the production number was changed to 77531.



Sixth and last Known Post Card of Jay’s Motel

While the sixth chrome Jay’s post card uses the same photograph as the fifth version, this one A sixth version of a chrome Jay’s post card, has several interesting changes.

The number of rooms, which had dropped to a low of 100 on the previous post card is now listed at 149, the highest number in the history of Jay’s.

The Garteizs also added a “T.V.” in “All Rooms, Some Color.”  They also offered “Queen and regular beds.”

And while “Benny’s Coffee Shop” was still operating the Garteizs added a second restaurant into the same building; “Howard’s Supper Club.”

Howard’s is not seen on any sign, as the photograph used for this post card is the same one used on 77351.


 1965 “Jay’s Cottages” and the Garteiz are gone.

      Lucile and their son Ray continued to run the motel operation as Jay’s health began to fail in the mid 1950’s.

Then in late 1957, Garteiz placed an advertisement in Los Angeles and San Francisco newspapers offering the “140 UNIT MOTEL for sale by owner.  83,580 sq. ft. ground area. Buildings approximately 50,000 sq. ft., well equipped. Tiled tub and shower baths, steam and hot water heat, fully air-conditioned. Guest capacity 400.  Very profitable operation.  Suggest personal investigation.  Ill health forces sale.  JAY’S COTTAGES, Elko, Nevada.” [xiii]

With Jay sick, the service station was closed and the building sold and moved to Carlin, Nevada.

However, the family continued to own and operate the motel.

Two and a half years later, on March 3, 1960, the motel’s namesake “Jay” Garteiz, at the age of 63, died after “a long illness.”[xiv]

Four years later in 1964, the Garteiz family sold all of the cottages to 2 couples from Washington.

By 1965, the two of the Garteiz children, Dorothy and Paul had moved to southern California.  Their mother Lucile along with Ray and his wife, had moved to Sacramento, California.

The forty years of the Garteiz family in Elko, Nevada hospitality business had come to an end.

Today, if you look real close, you can still see “Jay’s Cottages,” on both sides of the 1300 block of Idaho Street.

On the north side, the original “cottages” with garages are now small shops   in the “Rancho Plaza Shopping Mall.”

Across the street, the two-story “Jay’s Cottages” is now a “Budget Inn.”

When the cottages were all “Jay’s” the mail came to one place 1313 Idaho Street.

Today, the “Budget Inn” is at 1349 Idaho Street, and the shopping mall is the lucky one with the historic 1313 Idaho Street address.

There are twenty known post cards that mark the history of Jay and his family building “the largest accommodation in the City of Elko for the traveling public.”

A special family to reflects the history of “Mom and Pop” motels.


[i] “Jay’s Motel In Elko Sold,” May 24, 1964, Nevada State Journal, page 37.

[ii]  “Jay’s Cottage,” post card, December 1, 1947, Curt Teich Company, Chicago, Illinois.

[iii]  “Rewrite!,” July 8, 2000, Elko (Nevada) Daily Free Press, page A4.


[v]  “Camp Ground Leased To Woman by City,” March 28, 1936, The Salt Lake Tribune, page

[vi]  “Rewrite!,” Elko (Nevada) Daily Free Press, July 20, 1996, page 11.

[vii]  “Cottage Building Planned In Elko,” August 5, 1948, Reno (Nevada) Gazette-Journal, page 8.

[viii] .

[ix] .

[x] “13,” May 8, 1938, Nevada State Journal (Reno) page 9.

[xi] “Building Permits High for Elko,” September 27, 1949, Reno (Nevada) Evening Gazette, page 7.

[xii]  “Photography,” Summer, 2007, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, page 175.

[xiii] “140 Unit Motel For Sale,” Classified advertisement for “Jay’s Cottages,” October 10, 1957, Los Angeles Times, page 21. “140 Unit Motel for sale,” Classified advertisement for “Jay’s Cottages,” October 12, 1957, The San Francisco Examiner, page 31.

[xiv]  “Motel Owner Rites held,” March 12, 1960, Reno (Nevada) Gazette-Journal, page 3.

Nevada Post Cards 1907 to 1911 by H. G. Zimmerman & Company

Nevada Post Cards

Published by

H. G. Zimmerman

by Robert Stoldal
(Updated January 23, 2019)

The Chicago, Illinois based “H.G. Zimmerman & Company,” printed postcard views of at least seven Nevada communities between 1907 and 1911.

The Nevada towns include Blair, Ely, Goldfield, Hawthorne, Imlay, and Sparks.  The seventh Nevada town is Tonopah, however, the two cards with Tonopah images are mistitled “Goldfield.”

There are twenty-four different known Zimmerman post cards of Nevada. It is likely there are between five and 10 more.

Zimmerman’s Nevada views were printed in color and black and white but no view was printed both ways.

The Nevada post cards are smaller than the standard size at the time, of 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches. Most of the Zimmerman’s post cards are only 5 ¼ by 3¼.

Alpha-numeric Code on Zimmerman Post Cards

Most Nevada Zimmerman post cards have an alpha-numeric code printed on the card. For example, “B1669A7.”

So far this code has been found the face of the post card.

The first alpha could represent the year, “A” meaning 1907, “B” 1908 etc.

The first four numbers may represent the overall series topic or location, while the last three characters represent the sequence within the series.

Possible series sequence. For example in the Goldfield series.
The first card is A921A10, the second card is A921B10, the third card is A921C10 and so forth.

Or, the code has nothing to do with the location and instead it is either a printing or order code, or both or something else.

A later Zimmerman card showing the hotel at Imlay, Nevada does not have a printed code.  The earliest known postmark on this post card is March, 1911.  Based on order and shipping times, it is likely the Imlay Hotel post card was first order late in 1910 or early 1911.

In addition not have an alphanumeric code, the size of this postcard matched the standard size of post cards being issued at the time by other publishers.

Unique Nevada views on Zimmerman Post Cards

The images on most of the Zimmerman post cards of Nevada provide views of well covered topics.  There are two Nevada locations, where “side pocket” salesmen were able to make a sale for Zimmerman by pasted by other post card publishers.


It is likely Zimmerman printed a series of color views of Hawthorne Nevada in 1908-1909.

Early printed color post cards of Hawthorne, located on the southern tip of Walker Lake in west central Nevada, are scarce.

While the community was a stop on the way to the boom towns of Tonopah and Goldfield, apparently few postcard salesmen got off the train.

One agent made the stop and made a sale.

The Hawthorne series and we should put the word “series” in quotes. So far only one post card, B2377B2 titled “E Street, Hawthorne, Nev.” has been uncovered. But, the alphanumeric code indicates there is a B2377B1, and likely a B2377B3, and possibly more.


An unnumbered Zimmerman postcard titled “Hotel and Depot, Imlay, Nev.” is the only known printed color post card of the Southern Pacific Railroad Hotel.

The hotel and depot are long gone. The small community of Imlay is located 34 miles west of Winnemucca and 40 miles east of Lovelock just off Interstate 80.


One Zimmerman post card, B155A1, titled “Harriman Avenue, Sparks, Nev.” is known to exist.

Two other unique Nevada post cards from Zimmerman.
Both are Errors

The titles of two of the post cards, A921B10 and A921C10, showing a houses made of bottles and one made of barrels, places the structures in Goldfield, when in fact the homes were built in Tonopah.

How many Zimmerman post card with Nevada views were printed.

The price and the minimum number in an order would change during the six plus years Zimmerman was printing post cards.

The price would of course also depend on the type of post card Zimmerman was selling or the retailer wanted.

One post card with a Chicago postmark April 23, 1910 showing the Zimmerman building offered; “This is a sample of our Zimochrome cards which we make to order from local photographs. Price in quantities of 500 of a subject $6.50; in quantities of 1,000 of a subject $7.50. Time required for delivery is three weeks.”

Another Zimmerman postcards, number 9827B2E says “This is a sample of the cards which we make to order from local photographs in hand colored work. Price in quantities of 500 of each subject, $6.50; in quantities of 1,000 of each subject, $9.00. Time required for deliver 3 weeks.

Nevada Orders

Based on the number of publishers already providing post cards to central Nevada boom towns, it is likely the Nevada retailers ordered 500, rather than 1000 Zimmerman view cards.

Based on different backs it is also likely Zimmerman received a second order for a selected number of the Goldfield black and white post cards.

Retailers, Photographers. Publishers?

It is possible that Zimmerman was connected with the Allen Photo Company of Goldfield, and the Polin Brothers, also of Goldfield.  The two firms could have ordered the post cards, or simply supplied Zimmerman with the images on the post cards.

Allen Photo Company

Two Zimmerman post cards have views connected with the “Allen Photo Company” of Goldfield, Nevada.

The company was owned and operated by photographer Arthur Allen. He arrived in Goldfield in 1904 and took over the operation of the boom camps first photographer, I. W. Booth.

The image on Zimmerman post card A921B10 titled “House made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nev.” was also released by Allen with the title “Made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”

The house was built by William F. Peck in late summer, early fall of 1903. In December of 1903 a story was sent out to newspapers around the country.

On January 2, 1904 The Times-Democrat in Lima, Ohio published the story with the photograph of the two children in front of the house that appears on the Allen and Zimmerman post cards.

The photograph taken by pioneer photographer Booth shows Peck’s two children, Wesley three years old and Mary seven years old standing in front of the building.

A second Allen connected image, Zimmerman A921C10 “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nev.” was also released by Allen’s company titled “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nevada.”

Beyond those two images, no other relationship has been established between Allen and Zimmerman.

E. H. Mitchell

At the time Zimmerman entered the Nevada post card arena, major publishers and distributors,  from E. H. Mitchell to the Newman Post Card company, were already on the scene.

Several of the images found on a Zimmerman printed cards are also found on post cards published by other including Mitchell. For example;
1. A921D10 “Mohawk Mines, Goldfield, Nev.” Released by Mitchell divided back, in color, “808 Mohawk Mine, Goldfield, Nevada.”
2. A921E10 “General View of Goldfield, Nev.” Released by Mitchell, divided back, in color, 807 “General View of Goldfield, Nevada.”

Polin Bros.

The Polin Brothers, Harry and Louis, operated newsstands and soda foundations in several western towns including Goldfield and Tonopah.

Their hand stamped credit line is found on the back of “A921J10 High Grade Ore for Deposit in Safety Vaults, Goldfield, Nevada.”

Beyond the hand stamp, and the fact that the Polin’s ordered from different post card publishers in small quantities, no other relationship has been established between brothers and Zimmerman.


There are three types of known Zimmerman backs on Nevada post cards.

One thing that is common to all the backs is the Zimmerman logo: a man carrying a package with the letters “ZIM.”

All the same logo, just different colors? Or Hat vs Cap? Front foot up, front foot down?

1. (ZB1) Black ZIM man left hand corner of back. With credit line that reads “H.
G. Z. & Co.” on the upper left edge of the back of the card.
2. Black ZIM. Moved up about 25% on the bottom left side and move 5/16
of an inch towards the right.
3. Green ZIM man moved to the top left corner. No credit line right
4. Brown ZIM bottom left corner with credit line “Published by H G.
Zimmerman & Co.” “T” divided back is differ Appears to be an open
book design on the top of the vertical line on the back.

With the exception of the ZIM post card with the Imlay Hotel  all of the rest of the Nevada postcards have a message on the left side that read;
“This side may have a message written upon it for
The right hand side must be reserved for stamp
And address.”
1907 marks the year the U.S. Post Office allowed messages as well as the address on the backs of post cards. Up until that time senders had to write their message around the edges of the face of the post card.
There are many different backs on Zimmerman post cards, divided and undivided, including different colors, the following  four back types are found on the known post cards with Nevada views.

ZB1 no Zimmerman credit line


ZB2, Published by “H. G. Z. & Co.” credit line



ZB3, No Zimmerman credit line.



ZB4, “Published by H. G. Zimmerman & Co. Chicago” credit line


Known Chronology of “H.G. Zimmerman & Co.”


From leather, to silk to two card panoramas, from comic to holiday, to view cards from across the United States, “H.G. Zimmerman & Co.” was a full service post card creator between late 1906 and early 1912.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, late in 1906 or early in 1907 Zimmerman opened a west coast office in San Francisco.

The June 30, 1907 San Francisco City Directory lists “Zimmerman H. G. & Co, pubrs souvenir post crds, 915 Van Ness av, S.G., tel Franklin 2688.”






Based on a review of post cards with images of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Zimmerman issued a series in black and white, with undivided backs and then the same views in color with divided backs.

At one point, a relative, Charles Zimmerman, took over the San Francisco office, but by November of 1909 the west coast operation was closed.








By the end of 1907, Zimmerman’s operation was located in a two story building named “THE HOUSE THAT ZIM BUILT.”

On November 15, 1907 the public was informed “the new two story brick building at 3021-3023 Michigan Avenue has been leased” to “H. G. Zimmerman & Co.”

The lease ran until March of 1910 at a total rental cost of $8,500. Zimmerman is still at this address as late as April 1912.

Based on classified newspaper advertisement Zimmerman placed in newspapers around the country it is clear that much of his business was based on the work of “side pocket” aka “vest pocket” salesmen.     (Anaconda Montana Standard, 2-21-1909)

Then in the spring of 1911 Zimmerman took another approach to sell his post cards.

With the exception of a law suit over stock in his post card company, Zimmerman and his publishing company disappears from sight. At about the same time, an H.G. Zimmerman appears as an automotive accessory salesman. This H.G. Zimmerman quickly moves up the ladder and becomes a major player with the General Motors Corporation. The same H.G. Zimmerman? Likely, but more information is needed on the closure of “The House that Zim Built” on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

“H. G. Zimmerman & Company” becomes incorporated public publishing, manufacturing and merchandise business.

In June of 1910, the Zimmerman post card company was incorporated as a “publishing, manufacturing and merchandise business.”
With capital stock of $250,000.
The company’s incorporators were Charles Center Case Jr., James V. Hickey and Frederick Second.”
Zimmerman was listed as President and “A. Hansen” as Secretary. Zimmerman listed his home address as 3743 Indianan Avenue, not far from his office.

American Post Card Association

In May of 1908, Zimmerman was named vice president of the newly formed American Post Card Association.
According to the association’s press release the goal of the associations was “eliminating many present evils” in the post card trade “with the hope that the movement will become national for the protection of the industry as a whole.”

A central issue, at the time, was the imposition of tariffs on imported post cards. The U.S. Congress was holding hearings on the issue in 1908.
For Zimmerman and has American Post Card Association other important issues included “the matter of censorship of post cards” and the establishment of “some standard by which manufacturers can guarantee cards to be immune from prosecution.”

Also of concern to the newly formed post card association credit lines on post card and the challenges trying to “control salesmen.”

For a variety reasons the post card industry fell on hard times; over stock, prices dropped, too many publishers and the public’s slipping interest.

Late in November of 1911 Zimmerman placed an classified advertisement in a Chicago began looking for twenty “girls’ for “counting post cards.”

Zimmerman Stock Subject of Law Suit

In 1912 stock in the Zimmerman post card company was the subject of a suit involving trading stock in his post card company for land. According to the suit Zimmerman said his company was “importing from foreign countries and manufacturing post cards, which it was selling in great quantities and at enormous profit.”

The response to the suits, Zimmerman had “not foreseen the failure of the post card and mail order concerns.”
It appears the suits were settled out of court.

It was time for Zimmerman to change trades. It is possible he became a representative for automotive products. First selling carburetors.

Zimmerman shifts from cards to cars?

Then he worked for the “foreign sales department of the Studebaker Corporation then he moved over to the Dodge Brothers automotive team where he was in charge of advertising.

He next stop was General Motors where he was put in charge of the company’s Australian division. And in early august, 1922, Zimmerman is off to Copenhagen where he as G.M.’s representative.

With his move to Denmark, Zimmerman’s role as a post card publisher was now a decade behind and would not be in his future.

Are Zimmerman the post card publisher and Zimmerman the world traveler for General Motors the same person?

And whatever happened to the American Post Card Association?

More work needs to be done.

Zimmerman Nevada
Post card Checklist

Unless listed as color, all the post cards in the check list are black and white.


No # “Hotel and Depot, Imlay, Nev.” (color) ZB4.


A921A10 “Nixon Block, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.

A921B10 “House made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• This bottle house was in Tonopah, not Goldfield.
• This image was printed by Zimmerman with two different backs.
• Same error in the title; “Made of 10,000 Beer, Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”

A921C10 “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• This barrel house was in Tonopah, not Goldfield.
• Same error in the title; “House Made of Barrels, Goldfield, Nevada.”    Allen with the title “Made of 10,000 Beer Bottles, Goldfield, Nevada.”

A921D10 “Mohawk Mines, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1 & ZB2.
• This view was first released by Edward H. Mitchell, with an undivided back in 1906, as post card number 808 titled, “MOHAWK MINES, GOLDFIELD, NEVADA.”  A popular post card, Mitchell printed a version with a divided back.
• This view was released with two different ZIM backs.

A921E10 “General View of Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.
• This view was also released by Edward H. Mitchell, as card number 807 titled “GENERAL VIEW OF GOLDFIELD, NEVADA”. The Mitchell card was released first with an undivided back, and later re-released with a divided back.

A921F10 “Labor Day, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.

A921G10 “Freighting by Team Before Advent of Railway, Goldfield,
Nevada.” ZB1.                                                                                                                                  – Note, Nevada spelled out.  Only one in this series no abbreviated.

A921H10 “Combination Mine and Mill, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.

A921I10  “Ore Dump, Combination Mine, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1.

A921-I-10 “Ore Dump, Combination Mine, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB2.
• A second version of a ZIM back.
• Also the alphanumeric on this card has dashes. Likely to separate the letter “I” and the ones.

A921J10  “High Grade Ore for Deposit in Safety Vaults, Goldfield, Nev.” ZB1
-The hand stamped, in purple, “POLIN BROS., GOLDFIELD, NEVADA” is found on the back, left edge of some ZIM post cards with this title.

A921K10      ?

Sparks, Nevada

B155A1 “Harriman Avenue, Sparks, Nev.” (ZB1)

B155A2 ?


B601A1 “Pittsburg-Silver Peak Gold Mining Co.’s 100-Stamp Mill, Nev.” ZB4.

B601A2 ?

B1394A1 “Latest Extinct Volcano in America, Blair, Nev.” (color) ZB4.

B1394A2 ?

Ely, Nevada

-Note, all Ely post cards have a type ZB4 back.

B1669A7 “Train of Copper Ore, Ely, Nev.”

B1669B7 “Interior of Power House, Ely, Nev.”

B1669C7 “Squaw Race in Ely, Nev.”

B1669D7 “Veteran Shaft, Ely, Nev.” (color)

B1669E7 “Steam Shovel at Work, Ely, Nev.” (color)

B1669F7 “Alpha Shaft, Ely, Nev.” (color)

B1669G7 “Copper Flat, Ely, Nev.” (color)

B1669H7 ?


B1693A2 “Depot, East Ely, Nev.” (color)

B1693B2 “Aultman Street, Nev.” (color)

B1693C2 ?


B2377A2 ?

B2377B2 “E Street, Hawthorne, Nev.” (color) ZB4.

B2377C2 ?

Known Post Marks on ZIM Nevada post cards

While no 1907 post marks have been seen, it is believed that both the order and the shipment of the Nevada Zimmerman post cards took place in late 1907.

Goldfield February 20, 1908
Goldfield, April 12, 1908
May 8, 1908 hand written
Goldfield, July 30, 1908
Goldfield September 15, 1908
Goldfield, November 9, 1908
Goldfield, December 25, 1908
Goldfield July 17, 1909
Goldfield August 3, 1909
Tonopah RPO Feb 27, 1910
Goldfield, August 31, 1910 type 2 back
Goldfield November 29, 1910

Sparks March 23, 1908
Sparks December 21, 1908

Reno & Goldfield RPO June 19, 1908

B1394                                                                                                                                                  Blair, July 3, 1909

Ely, March 29, 1909
Shafter April 28, 1909
Ely, May 8, 1909
Ruth, May 10, 1909
Ruth, May 20, 1909
Kimberly May 22, 1909
Ruth, May 27, 1909
Shafter June 2, 1909
Hawthorne, Sept 1, 1909
East Ely, Dec. 10, 1909
East Ely, December 12, 1909
East Ely, December 14, 1909
East Ely, December 19, 1909
East Ely, December 25, 1910
Cobre & Ely March 18, 1911 RPO
Imlay, March 20, 1911
Ely, June 17, 1911

RPO Cobre & Ely, Mar 18, 1911

No number
Imlay, March 20, 1911                                                                                                       Imlay October 25, 1912.                                                                                                   Imlay December 12, 1912


Harvey Bynum – The Las Vegas Connection


Harvey Bynum 

 “Notorious”? “Visionary”?

Researching the history of a Las Vegas restaurant, night club operator and gambler.

A work in progress By Robert Stoldal

(Updated January 23, 2019)


A guide for a walking tour of the Las Vegas High School Historic District, produced by the city of Las Vegas, contains the following statement; “721 South 6th, Tudor Revival, 1937.  Built by Lewis E. Rowe, well-known Las Vegas High art teacher, the house was rented briefly by Harvey “Red” Bynum, a notorious gaming figure and Davey Berman, Bugsy Siegel’s

The Dean Legal Group Ltd now occupies 721 South 6th.  As seen in this Google street image.[i] 

Bynum “Notorious?” A “partner” of Berman and Siegel?  Who was this guy? And why is he renting, even “briefly,” the home of a high school “art teacher?”



From,, we get “no·to·ri·ous adjective \nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs, nə-\  : well-known or famous especially for something bad. Full Definition of NOTORIOUS:  generally known and talked of; especially:  widely and unfavorably known.” [ii]

Here’s another one from  No·to·ri·ous.  /noʊˈtɔr i əs, -ˈtoʊr-, nə-/  Spelled [noh-tawr-ee-uh s, -tohr-, nuh-] adjective. 1. Widely and unfavorably known: a notorious gambler. Synonyms: infamous, egregious, outrageous, arrant, flagrant, and disreputable.  Origin: 1540–50; Medieval Latin nōtōrius evident, equivalent to nō (scere) to get to know.” [iii]

       So, according to the City of Las Vegas, Harvey Bynum was “well known or famous especially for something bad,” or “widely and unfavorably known: a notorious gambler. Synonyms: infamous, egregious, outrageous, arrant, flagrant, and disreputable.”

O.K., using the Medieval Latin source of notorious, we will “get to know” Harvey Bynun the “notorious gambler and partner of Dave Berman and Bugsy Siegel.

But first, a word from someone who knew Bynum personally; Charles P. “Pop” Squires.

Squires, sometimes called the “Father of Las Vegas,” arrived in southern Nevada in the spring of 1905.  For more than three decades he owned and operated the Las Vegas Age newspaper.

At the age of 93, after seeing Las Vegas from a desert landscape to the Las Vegas Strip Squires died in 1958.  (At one point Squires owned the land underneath the Flamingo Hotel.)

In 1953 Squires wrote of Bynum; “Just the other day, I met an old friend, Harvey Bynum.  Harvey established and operated several nightclubs which in their day were favorites of Las Vegas home folks, and which in a way set the pattern for the great hotels and nightclubs of today.” [iv]

Depending on one’s vision, Bynum was either a “notorious gaming figure” who was in business with mobsters, including Bugsy, or he was liked by “Las Vegas home folk,” and it was his vision that ”set the pattern” that formed the foundation for Las Vegas..

Who was Harvey Bynum?

Harvey Alman Bynum was born August 25, 1889 in Jonesboro, Craighead County, Arkansas.

Seventeen years later he was reported to be in the one year old town of Las Vegas.

Bynum in Las Vegas in 1906?

Starting in 1939 newspapers began to report Bynum was in Las Vegas in 1906.

A story in the March 13, 1939 issue of Squire’s newspaper said Bynum was managing the “91 Club” out on the highway to Los Angeles that would become the Las Vegas Strip

The club, formerly the Pair O’ Dice was now owned by Guy McAfee noted Los Angeles gambling and prostitution kingpin.

In the article Squires wrote when he was seventeen Bynum “was one of the pioneers of Las Vegas having spent some time here as early as 1906.”[v]

Squires who was in Las Vegas starting in 1905 remembered “Harvey first came to this town about 1906 and this has really been home ever since.” [vi]

In February of 1945, the Las Vegas Review Journal printed, “Harvey Bynum, pioneer Las Vegas resident, who came here first in 1906, is back.”[vii]

In March of 1946 a newspaper report included, “Bynum is well known in Las Vegas as he came here in 1906.”[viii]

A review of Las Vegas newspapers between 1905 and 1907 reveals no mention of Bynum.

By his mid-20’s Harvey has found his future.

In 1916, we find Bynum as the manager of the “Dunbar’s Restaurant” at the “New Savoy Hotel” in Erie, Pennsylvania.[ix]

The 1917 Erie, Pennsylvania City Directory lists the “Bynum Bros.” Harvey and Barney as having a restaurant at 630 State Street.

      World War One would delay Bynum restaurant plans.

The war in Europe had been going for several years before April 6, 1917, when the United States declared war on Germany.

Six week after the declaration Bynum appeared at the draft office in Illinois.

On the army registration form he listed his “present trade” as “restaurant business” with current plans to “open at Peoria, Illinois.”     On the form, dated May 29, 1917, the registrar described Bynum as “tall” with a “medium build” with “red hair” and “gray eyes,”

Bynum was 27 years old.


Like many people with red hair, Bynum would pick up the nickname “Red.”

Bynum entered the army and served until after the war and received an honorable discharge.[x]

Next we find Bynum in Ohio.

      The U.S. Census says Bynum was living in Akron, Ohio in February of 1920.  He listed his business as a “restaurant” that he “owns.”

A 58 year old Bette Bynum was living with him at the time.

Bynum moved west to Los Angeles in the early 1920’s and by 1924 he had married “Billie” Meredith and they had a daughter Elizabeth Jean.[xi]

It appears that Bette is Billie.

Shortly after the marriage Bynum moved his family east where he managed the Breakers Sea Food Cafe in Oklahoma City. [xii]

In 1925 Bynum is on the road again.  He heads west to Reno.  At this point, no record has been uncovered of what the now 35-year-old Bynum did in Reno.

In June of 1926, an Oklahoma newspaper did report; “Mrs. H. A. Bynum and little daughter, Elizabeth Jean, off to Reno, Nevada, where she will join her husband and make her future home.” [xiii]

The Bynums were in Reno for close to two years.

While casino style gambling was still illegal in Nevada in the late 1920’s gambling on card games, poker etc. was legal.   In addition some forms of slot machines were legal and licensed.

Before, during and after Bynum and his family were in Reno, Jim McKay and has partner Bill Graham ran the underworld.  This included most of the gambling, legal and illegal as well as the bootlegging operations.

In this wide open town Bynum added gambling to his skills operating a restaurant.

By 1928, the Bynum’s had moved back to California and were living in the Pismo Beach area.

The couple was also known to have made “a trip to Nevada” in August of that year. [xiv]


Bynum- 1930 Census April

In the 1930 U.S. Census, Bynum and his wife “Billie” and daughter Elizabeth Jean were living in the city of Los Angeles, California.   The census was taken on April 2 and 3.

At that point Bynum told the census taker he did “restaurant work.”     It was not long after that declaration he was arrested.

Bynum and Bear Valley, California Gambling Raid 1930 June

In June of 1930, law enforcement agents were tipped there was a “miniature Monte Carlo” casino operating in Bear Valley, California.

Located about fifty miles west of the Nevada State line from Topaz Lake, Bear Valley would be the subject of regular arrests for illegal gambling.

On June 22, 1930, members of the San Bernardino sheriff’s office raided the lodge.  Deputies found two women gambling, arrested six men, and confiscated three dice tables, blackjack and a roulette tables and “400 gallons of whisky.”  [xv]

Bynum was among those arrested. He pleaded not guilty to the gambling charges. [xvi]

A month later, his attorney convinced a jury that the gambling operation was not for real, they were just props for a Fourth of July celebration.  And that the event was sponsored by the Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce.[xvii]

Free of the gambling charges Bynum and moved to Las Vegas.  Eight months after he arrived gambling, at the end of March, 1931, would once again be legal in Nevada.

While the rest of the United State was suffering from the Great Depression, Las Vegas was booming.    Forty miles southeast of the city, several thousand men were working on the Boulder Canyon Dam Project, someday to be called Hoover dam.

When the first shovels hit the ground at the dam site, gambling and the sale of alcohol was illegal.

While gambling became legal in the spring of 1931, the legal sale of alcohol was still a couple of years away.

And despite the efforts of federal authorities, speakeasies were still the shortest distance between dam workers and their pay checks.

During the dam days a string of saloons could be found on both sides of the newly paved highway between the Las Vegas and the hill leading up to Railroad pass.

There were also a couple of upscale speakeasies on U.S. 91 outside the city limits.

In 1931, on what would become the Las Vegas Strip, there were a couple of auto camps, a gas station and two nightclubs, The Red Rooster, and the Pair O’ Dice.

They were among the first clubs in southern Nevada to received licenses to operate table games.

The first to open was the Red Rooster, located about where the sidewalk is in front of the Mirage Hotel Casino.

The Pair O’ Dice night club was second.   It was located on the west side of the strip, just north of where the Wynn Hotel-Casino is now located.

The Pair O’ Dice became the Last Frontier Hotel-Casino, then the New Frontier Hotel-Casino, then the Frontier Hotel-Casino and now an open field and owned by Wynn Resorts.

Having trouble competing with the nightclubs along the Boulder Highway, in 1931 the builders of the Pair O’ Dice leased the operations to Bynum.

In between Bynum’s bust in 1930 and his plans to take over the Pair O’ Dice, the gambling community was focused on the activities of a California gambling and bootlegging family, the Cornero’s.

While Tony Cornero was still in federal prison his family opened up the Meadows hotel-casino in 1931along the highway to the dam construction.


Bynum and the Pair O’ Dice

     About five miles southwest of the Meadows another nightclub was having an “informal opening.”  The builders and owners of the Pair O’ Dice, invited the public to see the new night club, gambling hall and restaurant on the evening of July 4, 1931. [xviii]

Two months later its owners said they were closing the resort for remodeling; the “casino is being remodeled and redecorated” and “will reopen on a larger scale as soon as the contemplated improvements are completed.”[xix]

Another three months would elapse before the Pair O’ Dice would reopen.  At this point, Bynum stepped in feeling he could make a success out of the shuttered club.

It is possible that after his bust in California, Bynum came to Las Vegas to help the Cornero’s open the meadows.  A 1945 story in the Las Vegas Review Journal reported says Bynum was “connected with the Meadows in the days when that club was the bright spot of Las Vegas’ night life.”[xx]

While the timing is right, and the Cornero’s hired well known gamblers to help with their casino operation, no other references to Bynum and the Meadows has been uncovered.

Beyond being able to get a glass of illegal champagne or a shot of whiskey, Bynum had to come up with reasons people would drive several miles on the desert highway, past the city limits, to the Pair O’ Dice.

Bynum developed a plan to re-open the new Pair O’ Dice on New Year’s Eve.  Rather than compete with the clubs along the Boulder Highway catering to the dam workers, Bynum went up scale.

He sent out a press release and placed several advertisements promoted the re-opening of the night club.

Unable to directly tell his potential customers he was serving booze, in his press release he said, “An unusual catering service will provide refreshments;”

      “Re-opening with a “Bang,” the Pair O’ Dice, luxuriously appointed resort on the Los Angles highway about three miles south of this city, is planning a gala New Year’s eve celebration.  According to the management, special music and entertainment has been arranged for that evening, an unusual catering service will provide refreshments, and the crowd will be given confetti, horns, serpentine caps, and all the customary New Year’s equipment.  The resort will remain open, entertaining nightly after January 1.”[xxi]

The display advertisement for the New Year’s Eve “re-opening” of “Pair O’ Dice” promised “a brand new show with Howard Jones Hi-Hatters featuring Wm. Haines in a Study in  Black and White” and “Sally” a life-size pint.  Plenty O’ Prices, Plenty O’ Surprises say goodbye ’31 and Help ’32 with us at Pair O’ Dice.”

While Jones and his Hi-Hatters continued to entertain at the Pair O’ Dice, Haines made only the one New Year’s Eve appearance.  “Wm. Haines,” was actor William Haines.

After the New Year, Bynum continued to run advertisements in Las Vegas newspapers.  In the January 5, 1932 edition of the Las Vegas Age Bynum included his name; Harvey Bynum was “in charge of casino,” and “Oscar Klawitter” was “in charge of Cabaret.” [xxii]

Ten days later, Bynum and Klawitter, who was listed as “Oscar Witter,” announced; “When you visit Las Vegas you simply can’t afford to miss seeing Las Vegas’ most popular, most queue, most interesting place of entertainment, featuring American, Italian and Spanish Dishes.”[xxiii]

After three weeks, “playing to a packed house,” a new act was added to the Hi-Hatters show.  Bynum and Klawitter said the band “Four Aces and a Queen” was on bill supplying patrons with “hot music.” [xxiv]

The first week in February, 1932 included a statement from Bynum the recent remodeling and redecorated was not enough, and that he was enlarging the dance floor and dining room to accommodate crowds of 150 people.[xxv]

After talking to Bynum a newspaper reporter wrote, “the popular resort has been handicapped by lack of room to handle larges parties and that the increased patronage of late had made it necessary to double the space available. [xxvi]

On Wednesday morning of February 3, Bynum said “by Saturday night we will be able to handle parties of 150 comfortably.” [xxvii]

Two weeks after opening “Four Aces and A Queen,” the resort began promoting patrons could dance “the entire evening to the tunes” played by the expanded “Five Aces and A Queen Orchestra.”

       For sixty days Bynum ran the Pair O’ Dice, then he made an unexpected move.

On the evening of February 29, he said was leaving “immediately for Los Angeles where he has other interests.” [xxviii]

The next day H. H. “Red” Switzer took “immediate possession” of the club picking up Bynum’s yearlong lease. [xxix]

By this point in his life, Bynum’s nickname was also “Red.”[xxx]

Nine months later on January 4, 1933, Switzer closed the club.  He said, “The people of Las Vegas have been fine and given us a good break, but there’s just not sufficient business here to enable us to get by.”[xxxi]

Assisting in his decision to close the Pair O’ Dice was his arrest a month earlier for selling alcohol resulting in the club being listed as a “common nuisance.” [xxxii]

     Between the spring of 1932 and the winter of 1935 Bynum’s whereabouts is currently unknown.

Unless he was working on a gambling boat off the California coast under the name, Robert Bynum.

A Robert Bynum was arrested when the gambling ship Monte Carlo was raided off the coast of Long Beach, California.


     Santa Anita Inn and Swimming and Riding Club

November 1935 to February 1936

    In the November 15, 1935 edition of The Arcadia, California Tribune, we find Bynum announcing the “Santa Anita Inn and Swimming and Riding Club,” will be “formally opened sometime between November 28 and December 10.”   [xxxiii]

The club was located less than a mile from the Santa Anita Race Track.

Bynum was quoted as saying “the reasons we are behind schedule in opening the inn is because we want to give Arcadia the finest eating rendezvous in the southland, and would rather spend more time in creating such an establishment than to rush to the opening date.” [xxxiv]

The newspaper reported “the local inn will cater only to a clientele of distinction” as “during the racing season, nay celebrities of the movie colony are expected to gather here.” [xxxv]

Shortly after Bynum opened police raided the establishment.    A front page story in the Arcadia newspaper said the “surprise raid” was part of a “clean up campaign.” [xxxvi]

“Cracking down hard in his first attack to rid Arcadia of gambling houses,” the newspaper reported, “Chief of Police Don Ott and five fellow officers last night swooped into the exclusive Santa Anita Inn annex, arresting tow on counts of operating gambling tables, and seizing three tables.” [xxxvii]

The newspaper reported the police chief “arrested Harvey Bynum, owner of the gambling tables and his employee, Max Silverman, who at the time of the attack was raking in chips at the crap table.   A roulette table and blackjack table were also taken by the police and are now at the station.” [xxxviii]

Police said “15 people were in the finely furnished room at the time of the unexpected visit,” which “had been thoroughly redecorated into a gambling establishment.” [xxxix]

Police, according to the Los Angeles Times told the newspaper that “besides the equipment taken a large desk” was found to “contain complete records of the nightly take and the amounts won and lost by various regular patrons” was recovered and taken in as evidence. [xl]

Bynum was released “on payment of $500 cash.” [xli]

He would soon take his family back to his familiar haunts in Nevada and settle in while his only child attended Las Vegas High School.

In 1953 newspaperman Squires said he remembers “Harvey came to this town about 1936” and this has really been home ever since.  He has a daughter, Jean, who grew up and was educated in Las Vegas.”   [xlii]

     Squires says his friend “was very prominent and active as a cafe and nightclub owner.”  He added, “Harvey established and operated several nightclubs which in their day were favorites of Las Vegas home folks, and which in a way set the pattern for the great hotels and nightclubs of today. Harvey really was a leader in that line.” [xliii]

Over the next decade Bynum was owned, or operated several night clubs, restaurants and gambling operations in the Las Vegas Valley.

Bynum said he owned the Dunes Club on the Boulder Highway from March 1938 to February of 1941.[xliv]

During this same time frame, Bynum was connected to McAfee in the Pair O’ Dice.

After losing his criminal empire in Los Angeles, McAfee would go on to be one of the early gambling visionaries in Las Vegas.

Building and opening the Golden Nugget, as well as believing the desert along the highway where the resorts, El Rancho Vegas and the Last frontier were located was part of the future.

Newspaperman Squires also believed that Bynum fit into the visionary category.

In addition to nightclubs along the Boulder Highway, Squires said Bynum owned and operate “China Town, a rather gay dining and dancing place well down on South Main Street.”

But it was his work with McAfee that put his name front and center.

Bynum opens “91 Club” March 15, 1939

On January 13, 1939, the Las Vegas Age carried a story with the caption “Ninety-One Club to be Elaborate.”

The story included the fact that the Pair O’ Dice was being “elaborately remodeled and the resort’s name would be changed to the “Ninety-One Club.” [xlv]

The story also revealed “the new resort is under the management of Mr. Bynam, who was one of the pioneers of Las Vegas having spent some time here as early as 1906.

Bynum’s name was misspelled initially in stories in both Las Vegas newspapers. [xlvi]

But it was not until a story appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal on January 24, 1939 was the public informed the new club was owned by McAfee.

The story was titled “McAfee Interests Enter South Nevada on Large Scale today.”  According to the newspaper McAfee’s attorney appeared before the Las Vegas City Commission and outlined McAfee’s plans for both downtown Las Vegas and in outside the city limits on U.S. highway 91.

Bynum opened Guy McAfee’s “91 Club” on March 15, 1939.   Located on then U.S. Highway 91, the club is McAfee’s first known investment in Las Vegas. [xlvii]

Another day another misspelling his name;, the Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, in the March 15 story, printed, “Harvey Bymun, who has built himself a host of friends since his advent into Las Vegas, will be in charge of the gambling at the club, which will consisted of black jack, craps and roulette.” [xlviii]

The next day the Review Journal reported, “The opening of the “91 Club” last night marked one of the leading social events of the season in Las Vegas and many of the socially prominent Las Vegas residents were present for the gala occasion.” [xlix]

In addition to Mrs. Guy McAfee, among those listed were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bracken, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Clark of San Diego,  Mr. and Mrs. Leland Ronnow,  Mrs. Robert Griffith,  Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Ham, Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Wengert, Clark County District Attorney Roland Wiley, Assistant District Attorney Paul Ralli, Clark County Sheriff M. E. Ward, Clark County Deputy Sheriff Glen Jones,  Judge and Mrs. Roger Foley, Las Vegas City Attorney and Mrs. Harry Austin,  Las Vegas Postmaster Frank Garside and Mr. and Mrs. James Cashman. [l]

The newspaper reported “in the lounge where Harvey Bymun is the manager, the gambling tables and bar attracted many.” [li]

McAfee operated the club for about a year.


 Bynum buys Cactus Gardens May, 1939

Changes names to Yucca Club by June, 1939

In May of 1939, Bynum, now publicly referred to as “Red” Bynum buys the Cactus Gardens.

At the time of the announcement the Cactus Gardens was located “on the old Meadows road,” and was owned by Paul Warner.[lii]


On May 19, 1939, Bynum said he planned to completely remodel the Cactus Gardens “using the western type of architecture.” [liii]

Bynum also announced in May of 1939 that he was going to change the name of the nightclub.  He offered a price of $25.00 adding the name must have a “definite western” sound “to co-inside with the decorations and architecture of the place.” [liv]

The announcement  included a biographical note on Bynum; “he has spent twenty five years as chef and steward of various kitchens and says he will personally supervise the food preparation and will specialize in good food.” [lv]

Staying with desert plants, Bynum changed the name from Cactus Gardens to the Yucca Club.

The first menus for the “New Yucca Club” were printed on wood by the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.

 A side note -Confusion-  Did Bynum already own a bar named the Cactus Garden at Cactus Springs or?

It is possible he changed to name because he owned or had leased another property on the “Reno-Las Vegas highway” known as the “Cactus Gardens,” at Cactus Springs.[lvi]

Or the Las Vegas Age reporter, known as “The Rambler” didn’t know the different between the highway to Reno and the highway to Boulder Dam. [lvii]

It is possible “The Rambler,” was describing the club located just outside the eastern edge of the Las Vegas city limits.

Bynum controlled in 1939. according to the columnist known as “The Rambler”  the old “Cactus Gardens camp,” located north of Las Vegas.

In June 1939, the camp was reported to have “just recently passed into the hands of Mr. Harvey “Red” Bynum of Las Vegas.  Extensive improvements are to be made and a prize of $25.00 is being offered for the most appropriate new name for the place.  Mr. Bynum has had 25 years’ experience as a chef and will specialize in good eats.”[lviii]

Additional research is needed on the “Cactus Gardens,” at Cactus Springs north of Las Vegas. Or did Bynum just have one ‘Cactus Gardens,’ east of Las Vegas and the newspaper columnist was directionaly confused.

In mid-November of 1939, just six months after buying and remodeling the Yucca Club, (Cactus Gardens) Bynum sold his interest in the property to Stanley Hunter.   The announcement was made on November 18, 1939. [lix]

(Stanley Hunter’s name shows up in the late 1940’s effort to turn the Baltimore Hotel-Casino at Bonanza and Main into an integrated resort.)

Bynum opens The Dunes December 2, 1939

“Las Vegas’ Newest Night Spot” [lx]

The Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal reported on November 29, 1939, “The Dunes, latest addition to the night spots of Las Vegas, will be opened Saturday night by Harvey Bynum, he announced today.” [lxi]

“The new establishment is on the site of the old L.A. Inn, and will be a completely modern and up to date establishment, Bynum stated.” [lxii]

On the day the three paragraph press release was printed, a display advertisement appeared in the same newspaper.

In the advertisement the name of resort was put in quotes, “THE DUNES,” with the following, “will open its doors for the first time under this new name Saturday night December 2.  Formerly the L. A.  Inn-now completely remodeled and redecorated.  New Music.  Harvey Bynum owner continuing that same congenial atmosphere and the same excellent food, come as you are.  Phone 328.” [lxiii]

“The Dunes will feature special dinners and high class entertainment. Gambling and a bar will be run in connection with the club, the proprietor said.” [lxiv]

The day before The Dunes opened Bynum published a menu listing himself as the “owner.” [lxv]

The Dunes opened with Jimmy Kerr and his band. [lxvi]

On February 2, 1940 “The Dunes” became “The Dunes Cabaret.”   The advertisement also announced, “Our new gaming casino is now open.

It is unknown at this point if Bynum was still connected with the operation.  However, the advertisement includes, “home of double thick Blue Ribbon Steaks,” a possible sign that Bynum was still connected to the Dunes. [lxvii]

The entertainment was promoted as “the best singing and dance band in town, the Four Sharps with Pete Allen, singer of those songs from the old sod, no cover charge come as you are.”

Bynum lived with his family in downtown Las Vegas.    Bynum’s lived at the 721 South Sixth Street address, while daughter attended Las Vegas High School a few blocks away.

The Southern Nevada Telephone Company Telephone Director, 1939-1940, lists Bynum’s residence at 721 South 6th street, telephone number 802.[lxviii]

        At this point, it is not known how long Bynum owned or operated The Dunes, but he and his family headed back to Los Angeles in early 1940.

It is likely his daughter finished the spring semester at Las Vegas High.  Her records showed she attended North Hollywood High School in the fall of 1940 but returned to Las Vegas High School and graduated in May of 1941.[lxix]

      The Bynum’s Move back to Los Angeles

in 1940-1941

The Bynum’s were living at 555 Heliotrope Drive in Los Angeles.   In the 1940 U.S. Census Bynum listed “Cafe” as his “occupation” and his wife listed “Waitress” as her “occupation.”

It would be 1945 before Bynum would open another Las Vegas nightclub.[lxx]   In the meantime, he would find himself in legal trouble.


Bynum busted in 1942 in raid on Sunset Strip

The Los Angeles times reported Bynum was arrested in a raid on a gambling club in early 1942; “swooping down on the fashionable Club Marcel at 8730 Sunset Blvd. in the county strip, members of the Sheriff’s vice squad” on the morning of February 22, 1942, arrested five men, including Homer H. (Slim) Gorden, operator of the establishment.”  [lxxi]

Also booked “on suspicion of gambling,” Harvey A. Bynum, 53, of 4661 Hollywood Blvd. [lxxii]

The Times reported “Capt. Ray I. Morris of the vice squad sent two of his deputies in plain clothes into the club shortly after midnight.  There they gambled and purchased drinks after the 2 a.m. closing hour.  Then they summoned other deputies waiting nearby and raided the club, which was crowded with Hollywood celebrities and others.  None of the guests was arrested.” [lxxiii]

In March of 1942 Bynum pleaded guilty to violating local gambling laws.  He was fined $50. Beverly Hills Justice of the Peace Cecil D. Holland also told Bynum “stay out of this township for one year.” [lxxiv]


Back in Las Vegas in early 1945 Bynum to open

 a night club near the Last Frontier Hotel- Casino.

      In January of 1945, Bynum applied for liquor and gaming licenses before the Clark County Commission. On February 5 the licenses were granted.

He soon began work on his new club, the Bon Aire.  And this time, rather than the Boulder Highway, Bynum would have a place on the Los Angeles Highway.

A Las Vegas newspaper reported, “Harvey Bynum and associates who have a large force of workers engaged in putting the finishing touches on their new Bon Aire Motel and night club, expect to have the place in readiness for the opening on July 1.  It is located about 2 ½ miles south of Las Vegas on the Los Angeles highway.”[lxxv]


Bynum and his partners, Max Travis and Lester Welch opened the Club Bon Aire on U.S. Highway 91,Friday, July 13, 1945.

In making the announcement, the Bynum and his partners pointed out “the entire club is heavily carpeted and the entire motif is western” including “an art gallery of original western paintings.” [lxxvii]

Bynum described the operation as the “newest and one of the most lavish dinner clubs in southern Nevada.”

The owners added the Club Bon Aire would be offering  an evening of  the “old Nevada at its best.”

But, was that western wear or an evening gown and tuxedo.   [lxxvi]



The club’s announcement also said the Bon Aire “rather than entertainment” would have a “long and luxurious bar and gaming casino.” [lxxviii]


Bynum said the club in the near future would have adjacent to it, a poultry farm with a capacity of 10,000 chickens and a steady flow of 1500 chickens a week guaranteed.” [lxxix]

The announcement said “Bynum formerly operated the Dunes, the Yucca Club, and many other Las Vegas niteries. Formerly he operated the Breakers Sea Food Cafe in Oklahoma City, but has been in and out of Las Vegas for the past 25 years.” [lxxx]

From the beginning there was confusion.  Was it the Club Bon Aire, or the Bon Aire Club was it western wear or evening wear and more important, who was in control?  The partnership didn’t last long and soon Club Bon Aire was under the management of Sam Diamond.  Diamond had worked with Travis in Hollywood. [lxxxi]

(Wonder if they also fought over  using “de?”   Old French,  joke.)

When Bynum left, the club would go through a series of operators and names.  Fred O. Cobb would take over the “completely remodeled and renovated kitchen” to serve his “famous Chicken in the Rough.”

The Club Bon Aire became the Mondoray Club.  Then late in 1947 it became Gene Austin’s Blue Heaven.   This name last until October of 1949 when the club’s gambling license was denied.

Soon after leaving the Bon Aire, Bynum got involved in another western style club.

Bynum Connected to Kit Carson Club 1946

On Tuesday March 5, 1946, “Constructed in true western style, the Kit Carson club will open formally” according to a newspaper account.

The managers of the new resort included Bynum, George Frisbee (Frisby) and Dave Anderson.  Frisby told reporters he was associated with a frozen food company in Los Angeles before coming to Las Vegas.   Anderson said he was the past president of the Restaurant Association of Kansas and that he owned a café in that state.[lxxxii]

With a focus on food, the new resort, “about two miles from Las Vegas” had a bar and gaming operation. [lxxxiii]

Reported to have been built like a ranch house, the resort had a ceiling of heavy rustic timbers, a stone sea food bar, barbecue pit and “a novel bar.”  What was “novel” about the bar was not publicized. [lxxxiv]

Six years later, Bynum filed suit against Frisby seeking his “share” of the profits from the sale of the Kit Carson.

Frisby sold the property and the new owners were building the Sands Hotel Casino.

The law suit provided details of the building of the Kit Carson.   According to Bynum’s attorney, Ira Earl, “Bynum went to Frisby with the original idea to build the resort.  Bynum secured the licenses, liquor and gambling for the Kit Carson.  Frisby put up more than $60,000.  Frisby and Anderson would own 80 percent of the operation, and Bynum got 20 percent plus a salary.”[lxxxv]

According to a suit filed by Earl, Bynum’s services consisted of setting up the business, and a verbal understanding that he would receive 20% of the profits in excess of Frisby’s $52,500 investment. [lxxxvi]

The suit charged Bynum, who was described at the time as a gambler, was “aced out” shortly after the club opened.   Earl said “on the night the club opened Frisby wanted the license in his own name, to throw out Bynum.” The attorney said Frisby was successful in squeezing Bynum out of the operation. [lxxxvii]

When Bynum was pushed out of the Kit Carson, he took over the nearby “Diamond Horseshoe.”

Bynum Connected to the Las Vegas Stork Club March 1947

The “Diamond Horseshoe” was completely remodeled inside and out according to an announcement by Bynum on March 11, 1947. [lxxxviii]

The name of the resort was changed to the Stock Club.

The club was located on the east side of U.S. 91 about 3 miles south of the city limits.

In a newspaper story Bynum is described as a “veteran Las Vegas restaurant operator.”  He said the tavern will feature full course miles with special emphasis on steaks and sea food entrees.

Bynum at “The New Las Vegas Stork Club” in June, 1947

A display advertisement in the June 7, 1947 issue of the Las Vegas Review Journal promotes “the re-opening” of the dining room.   The advertisement also promotes the operation as “The New Las Vegas Stork Club,” with Bynum and Hal Davis listed as “your hosts.”[lxxxix]

The naming of the highway was in transition.   Bynum’s advertisement uses both “Hiway 91,” and “on the strip” as location of the Stock Club. [xc]


What was Harvey Bynum’s next move?

When did Bynum leave stork club?   Where did he go?

A check of Las Vegas telephone books reveals the following;

No listing for Bynum in 1952 telephone book

The April, 1953 Southern Nevada Telephone Directory shows Bynum residence at1137 South 15th Street.[xci]

There is no listing for Bynum in the April 1954, or the 1955 Las Vegas telephone directories.

More questions?

  1. What happened to his law suit in connection with the Kit Carson?
  2. What happened to the Las Vegas Stork Club?
  3. What happened to Harvey “Red” Bynum, described by the City of Las Vegas as “a notorious gaming figure and Davey Berman, Bugsy Siegel’s partner?” [xcii]
    • What business was Bynum and Berman partners?
  4. Or what happened to Harvey Bynum newspaperman Charles Squired called one of the “favorites of Las Vegas home folks” and who helped “set the pattern for the great hotels and nightclubs of today.” [xciii]
  5. Other than James Stewart, who has seen Harvey?

 Coming Soon more details

Any information on the whereabouts of Harvey Alman Bynum?


[i] .


[iii] .

[iv]  “Observations by Charles P. “Pop” Squires, July 11, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, page five.

[v] “Ninety-One Club to be Elaborate,” January 13, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page twelve.

[vi] “Observations by Charles P. “Pop” Squires, July 11, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, page five.

[vii]  “Harvey Bynum to Open Night Spot,” February 6, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page six.

[viii]  “Kit Carson Club Open,” March 4, 1946, Las Vegas Review Journal, page two.

[ix] “Erie, Pennsylvania City Directory,” 1916, page 408.


[xi] “City Briefs, February 2, 1925, The Ada Evening News,   Ada, Oklahoma, page three.

[xii]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[xiii]  Untitled society column, June 27, 1926, The Ada Evening News, Oklahoma, page three.

[xiv]  “City News,” August 17, 1928, San Luis Obispo (California) Daily Telegram, page six.

[xv]  “Valley in Mountains Sees Raid,” June 24, 1930, Los Angeles Times, page nine.

[xvi]  “Valley in Mountains Sees Raid,” June 24, 1930, Los Angeles Times, page nine.

[xvii]  “Gambling Tables “Properties,” July 21, 1930, Los Angeles Times, page six.

[xviii]  “Pair O’ Dice Attracts Many on Fourth,” July 5, 1931, Las Vegas Age, Page five.

[xix] “Pair O’ Dice Closes for Remodeling,” September 18, 1931, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page three.

[xx]  “Harvey Bynum to Open Night Spot,” February 6, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page six.

[xxi] “Pair O’ Dice Will reopen,” December 23, 1931, Las Vegas Age, page four.

[xxii] Pair O Dice display advertisement, January 5, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page four.

[xxiii]  Display Advertisement, Pair ‘O Dice, January 15, 1932, Las Vegas, Evening Review Journal Page four.

[xxiv] Display Advertisement, Pair O Dice Casino, January 22, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page three.

[xxv] “Pair O Dice is being enlarged,” February 3, 1932, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, Page four.

[xxvi] “Pair O Dice is being enlarged,” February 3, 1932, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, Page four.

[xxvii] “Pair O Dice is being enlarged,” February 3, 1932, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, Page four.

[xxviii] “Pair O’ Dice under Lease,” March 1, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[xxix] “Pair O’ Dice under Lease,” March 1, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[xxx] Display advertisement Pair O’ Dice Casino and Night Club,” March 8, 1932, Las Vegas Age, page four, “Death Valley Live Doings,” June 9, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page two.

[xxxi]  “Pair O’ Dice Shuts Doors Yesterday,” January 4, 1933, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page one.

[xxxii] ’12 Booze Joints Are Hit in Dry Raids by Prohis,” December 1, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page one, “9 Vegas Rum Joints Given Abatements,” January 10, 1933, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page one.

[xxxiii] “Set Opening Date for Inn,” November 13, 1935, The Arcadia Tribune, California, Page one.

[xxxiv] “Set Opening Date for Inn,” November 13, 1935, The Arcadia Tribune, California, Page one.

[xxxv] “Set Opening Date for Inn,” November 13, 1935, The Arcadia Tribune, California, Page one.

[xxxvi] “Arcadia Police Swoop Down on Santa Anita Inn,” February 28, 1936, The Arcadia Tribune, California, page one.

[xxxvii] “Arcadia Police Swoop Down on Santa Anita Inn,” February 28, 1936, The Arcadia Tribune, California, page one.

[xxxviii] “Arcadia Police Swoop Down on Santa Anita Inn,” February 28, 1936, The Arcadia Tribune, California, page one.

[xxxix] “Arcadia Police Swoop Down on Santa Anita Inn,” February 28, 1936, The Arcadia Tribune, California, page one.

[xl]  “Games Raid Traps Two,” February 9, 1935, Los Angeles Times, Page B12.

[xli] “Arcadia Police Swoop Down on Santa Anita Inn,” February 28, 1936, The Arcadia Tribune, California, page one.

[xlii] “Observations,” by Charles “Pop” Squires, July 11, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, page five.

[xliii] “Observations,” by Charles “Pop” Squires, July 11, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, page five.


[xlv] “Ninety-One Club to be Elaborate,” January 13, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page twelve.

[xlvi] “Ninety-One Club to be Elaborate,” January 13, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page twelve.

[xlvii]  “91 Club to Open Doors This Evening,” March 15, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, Page three.

[xlviii]  “91 Club to Open Doors This Evening,” March 15, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, Page three.

[xlix] “Society,” March 16, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page two.

[l] “Society,” March 16, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page two.

[li] “Society,” March 16, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page two.

[lii]  “Red” Bynum Buys Cactus Garden, May 19, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page six.

[liii]  “Red” Bynum Buys Cactus Garden, May 19, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page six.

[liv]  “Red” Bynum Buys Cactus Garden, May 19, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page six.

[lv]  “Red” Bynum Buys Cactus Garden, May 19, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page six.

[lvi]  “Death Valley Living Doings,” June 9, 1939, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[lvii]  “Death Valley Living Doings,” June 9, 1939, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[lviii]  “Death Valley Living Doings,” June 9, 1939, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[lix]  “Bynum Sells out at Yucca Club,” November 18, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page three.

[lx] Display Advertisement the Dunes, December 2, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page three.

[lxi]  “New Night Club to Open Saturday,” November 29, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page five.

[lxii]  “New Night Club to Open Saturday,” November 29, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page five.

[lxiii]  Display advertisement “The Dunes,” November 29, 2019, Las Vegas Review Journal, page four.

[lxiv]  “New Night Club to Open Saturday,” November 29, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page five.

[lxv]  Display advertisement, The Dunes, December 1, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page four.

[lxvi] Display advertisement The Dunes, December 2, 1939, Las Vegas Evening Review Journal, page three.

[lxvii] Display advertisement, The Dunes Cabaret, February 2, 1940, Las Vegas Review Journal, page.

[lxviii]  Telephone Directory, 1939-1940, Southern Nevada Telephone Company, page six.

[lxix] “Boulder Echo,” 1941, Las Vegas High School, page twenty six.

[lxx]  “Bon Aire about set for opening,” June 23, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page three.

[lxxi]  “Five Men Arrested in Raid on Sunset Strip Night Club,” February 23, 1942, Los Angeles Times, Page eight.

[lxxii]  “Five Men Arrested in Raid on Sunset Strip Night Club,” February 23, 1942, Los Angeles Times, Page eight.

[lxxiii]  “Five Men Arrested in Raid on Sunset Strip Night Club,” February 23, 1942, Los Angeles Times, Page eight.

[lxxiv] “Night Club Raids Result in Fines,” March 21, 1942, Los Angeles Times, Page five.

[lxxv]  “Bon Aire about set for opening,” June 23, 1945, Las Vegas review Journal, page three.

[lxxvi]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxvii]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxviii]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxix]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxx]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxxi]  “Bon AIRE to Open Friday,” July 12, 1945, Las Vegas Review Journal, page thirteen.

[lxxxii]  “Kit Carson Club Open,” March 4, 1946, Las Vegas Review Journal, page two.

[lxxxiii]  “Kit Carson Club Open,” March 4, 1946, Las Vegas Review Journal, page two.

[lxxxiv]  “Kit Carson Club Open,” March 4, 1946, Las Vegas Review Journal, page two.

[lxxxv]  “Freedman License Fight Seen,” September, 5, 1952, Las Vegas Review Journal, page one.

[lxxxvi]  “Freedman License Fight Seen,” September, 5, 1952, Las Vegas Review Journal, page one.

[lxxxvii]  “Freedman License Fight Seen,” September, 5, 1952, Las Vegas Review Journal, page one.

[lxxxviii] “Stork Club Will Open Saturday,” March 11, 1947, Las Vegas Review Journal, page four.

[lxxxix] Display advertisement The Stork Club, June 7, 1947, Las Vegas Review Journal, page fix.

[xc] Display advertisement The Stork Club, June 7, 1947, Las Vegas Review Journal, page fix.

[xci] “Southern Nevada Telephone Directory, April 1953, Southern Nevada Telephone Company, page14.

[xcii] .

[xciii]  “Observations by Charles P. “Pop” Squires, July 11, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, page five.

Nevada 1905-1910 The American News Company Story

American News Company  Images of Nevada from 1905-1910           From Goldfield to Ely 

By Robert Stoldal   updated January 9, 2019

Between 1905 and 1910 the American News Company of New York published several post card series featuring images of at least five different communities in Nevada.

The post cards, printed in Leipzig and Dresden, Germany, include one of the earliest, if not the earliest series of color post cards of Goldfield, Nevada.

The New York based company published both undivided and divided back post cards of Nevada.

The earliest known post mark on American News Company post card of Nevada is  A 1403     with a title of “Bird-Eye View, Goldfield, Nev.” postmarked Goldfield September 1, 1906.

A.N.C. sent out post cards with divided backs, printed in Germany, in advance of the official legal date for use in the United States.   Post cards can be found where the sender followed the law and only put the address on the back of the divided back post cards, while others ignored the law and wrote a message on the backs of the post cards.

Postcards were just a sideline to the American News Company.   As the new mining boom was taking place in Nevada, A.N.C. dominated the national distribution and sales of printed material.   At one point it had 300 branches selling everything from newspapers to magazines to books and post cards.  In addition the company also distributed tobacco products, candy and novelties.

The American News Company offices in New York City


The American News Company was founded in 1864, the same year Nevada gained statehood.  Over the next several decades, the primary players that controlled or were key participants in A. N. C. included William Randolph Hearst and Moe Annenberg.

It also supplied goods to west coast companies that had the contracts to sell items on trains and at depots, including the Dennison News Company.

By 1957 A.N.C. had all but closed and ceased to operations.   Still, the company held stock in other wholesaler and retail outlets of printed material including newsstands.   Today that company is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

While the vast majority of American News Company post cards, issued before 1908, feature scenes of east of the Mississippi River, A.N.C. did produce post cards of western states.

Goldfield and Tonopah images highlight the A.N.C. production of Nevada views.  Others feature images of Manhattan, Ely, and Delamar Nevada.


The photographs of two well-known photographers, E. W. Smith, of Tonopah,







and Pers Edward Larson from Goldfield, are seen in the series.


Counting both black and white and color post cards, it is likely more than fifty and less than 70 A.N.C. post cards with views of Nevada were published.

American News Company also produced two double-card panoramic Nevada Views “Birds-Eye” views; “Birds-Eye View, Tonopah, Nev. 1908,” and “Birds-Eye View of Mines and Goldfield, Nev.”

Rare Views of Ely Nevada

    Two post cards, D 7020 and D 7021 are rare views of a social club in Ely, Nevada.

The post cards are rare as is information about the “University Club.”

The club’s beginning dates back to late 1907.

Part of its history is found at the Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City.

Started by a mining company, the University Club, over the years the club would have among its members, a governor, and attorneys.

Apparently the only requirement to join was a degree from a recognized University.

The late Nevada historian and author, Russell R. Elliott, who was born in White Pine County, wrote   “One of the earliest social activities” in Ely was “the formation of numerous social clubs. Some of these, such as the “Good Time Club” of Ely, incorporated in November 1907 were devoted entirely to having a good time. Some clubs, like “The Strollers”, emphasized dancing activities.  Others, such as the Caledonian Club, and -the Greek and Serbian Societies, and the University Club, added to the above purposes the desire to get together with people of similar race and background.”[i]

The Club was organized by The Step Toe Smelting Company of Ely in late 1907.[ii]

One of the founders was C.B. Lakeman who at the time held “a responsible positon of mine superintendent” in Ely according to a January 1908 alumni report from the University of California, Berkeley.

While Yale reported in February of 1908 there the University Club’s membership stood at fifty-eight with three members from Yale, Lakeman reported the new club was “composed chiefly of Stanford and California men.”[iii]

By the end of 1908 it membership topped 100.  In early 1909 the University Club was incorporated as a nonprofit private social club.   At which point, with H. R. Plate as president, the seven member board approved the official sale of liquor.

As a private club the group felt it did not have to secure a liquor license from the city of Ely, or the county of White Pine.

A local district judge disagreed and ordered them to pay for a liquor license.  The University Club said no and an appeals process began that led to the Nevada Supreme Court.

In January of 1913, the Nevada Supreme court ruled “A bonafide social club, which disposes, at its clubhouse, of liquors to members and guests at a fixed charge as an incident to the general purposes o the club, the profit on the sale going to pay the general expenses of the organization, is not required to take out a license.”[iv]

The social club promoted White Pine county and its mining industry from creating mining exhibits to providing information to visiting journalists.

In September of 1913, Darwin S. Hatch, on assignment from Motor Age magazine wrote “we found Ely to be a very thriving little city, with particularly wide-awake inhabitants.  There is a University Club whose headquarters are an old residence fitted up in metropolitan style.  Here we were taken in charge by the boosters of that town and supplied with more dry data and wet refreshments than either our stomachs or our brains could assimilate.”

The “wet refreshment” aspect of the club has lived long beyond the club with the ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court ruling that private social clubs didn’t need a local liquor license.

Denver S. Dickerson, the eleventh governor of Nevada, was a member of the Ely “University Club.”[v]

The full history of the club, its members and role in turn of the century Nevada needs to be uncovered.

[i]  “History of Nevada Mines Division, Kennecott Copper Corporation, 1956, Russell R. Elliott (1912-1998) University of Nevada, page 35.

[ii]  “Science Notes, February, 1908, The Yale Scientific Monthly, page 191.

[iii] “Science Notes, February, 1908, The Yale Scientific Monthly, page 191. “The Alumni,” January, 1908, The University of California Chronicle, page 225.

[iv] State of Nevada, respondent, v. University Club a corporation, appellant, January, 1913, Nevada Supreme Court, number 2005, page 475.


Printing Process

     Nearly 100 years later, the colors in the Poly-Chrome post cards are still vivid and the images are still sharp.   This is due to the type of paper and the printing process the company used.

Charles Wallace, in his book  “The Catalogue of Ply Chrome Post Cards Made in Germany “describes the printing process; “View post cards usually were produced by offset lithography. When viewed though a magnifying glass they have a screed or dotted appearance.  That is not true of Poly Chrome postcards, for they have a clean, clear cut, unobstructed appearance that sets them apart from the usual litho chromes.  In their day they were considered the finest quality view post cards available.  The method by which they were produced was called colortype or gelatin process.”[1]

A.N.C. Brands

       The American News Company used at least a dozen other brand names.   A.N.C.  and used different logos for each of these brands.   The A.N.C.  three-leaf clover is incorporated into each of the brand’s logos.

The American News Company cards were printed by various German firms under several trade names including:

  1. Excelsior
  2. Poly Chrome
  3. Litho Chrome
  4. Newvochrome
  5. Mezzochrome
  6. Photochrome
  7. Americhrome

At this point, the following A. N.C. brands can be found with Nevada images:

  1. Excelsior
  2. Poly Chrome
  3. Litho Chrome
  4. Newvochrome


Goldfield, Nevada

Undivided back, black and white printing.

No local publisher listed


A.N.C. number                     Title

A 1393     Unknown

A 1394         Main Street, Goldfield, Nev.

EKP Goldfield, November 11, 1906.*

A 1395       First Baby Born in Goldfield, Nev.

Also published in color by A.N.C. as A 6341.

Larson took the photograph of the burro  used in  A.N.C.’s  A 1395 and A 6341.  Using the Newman Post Card Company, Larson published his own divided back version of the image, number 134/30.


In the  undivided back, A.N.C. version, the burro in the upper right hand corner disappears.

A 1396     Prospectors outfit, Goldfield, Nev.

EKP   Goldfield, September 7, 1906.

This was also released by Larson through the Newman Post Card Company, 135/19,titled “Prospectors Outfield.”   Note spelling error  “outfit” is spelled Outfield.

A 1397     Goldfield Maidens, Goldfield, Nev.

EKP  Goldfield April 27, 1908.

A 1398     Goldfield, Nev.

EKP Goldfield October 23, 1907.

A 1399     Unknown -Likely Nevada

A 1400     “Gambling at the Gold Fields”

A 1401     En Route to Goldfield, Nev.

EKP Goldfield, June 2, 1908.

A 1402     Pioneer Buildings, Goldfield, Nev.  

EKP   Goldfield, September 13, 1906.

This was also released by Larson though the Newman Post Card Company, 134/23 with a divided bck

A 1403     Bird-Eye View, Goldfield, Nev.

EKP  Goldfield, September 1, 1906.

A 1404     “Exhausted Stampeder” –  –  – Found a Place of Safe Deposit.                                  Goldfield, Nev.  

 A 1405     Birds-Eye View, Goldfield, Nev.

EKP  Goldfield, October 8, 1906.

A 1406     Birds-Eye View of Mines and Goldfield, Nev.

This is a panoramic double card.

EKP   Goldfield, November 11, 1906.

A 1407      Unknown- Not likely Nevada.


Manhattan, Nevada

black and white

Published by Nelson Rounsevell, Stationer, Manhattan, Nevada.  

A.N.C. #           Title

A 2830     Unknown

A 2831     Main Street, Manhattan, Nev.

EKP Manhattan, June 3, 1908.

A 2831    Unknown



Divided back,  Printed in Germany, color

C 3110 Series, Litho-Chrome

Published by Grace B. Faxon, Ely

This series of four Ely post cards has both a C followed by a four digits starting with 3115 and ending with 3118.  In addition, a six digit number is also found on the back of the post card in the lower right hand corner.

 C 3115     unknown

C 3116    Aultman Street, Ely, Nevada     119030

EKP   Ely, November 9, 1907.

C 3117    Robinson Canon, Ely, Nevada    119031

EKP  Ely, November 9, 1907.

C 3118    Ely, Nevada

EKP  Ely, November 11, 1907.

C 3119    Unknown



Undivided backs, black and white

No publisher listed other than A.N.C.

A 3298     Unknown

A 3299       Ely, Nevada

View of the town taken from nearby hill.

Known postmark, Ely, December 11, 1906.

A 3300    Ely, Nevada

Street scene with Palm Restaurant building in center of image.                          “Greetings from Ely Nev.” in gold script was added to the face of the post card.

EKP  Ely, Nevada, February  10, 1907.

A 3301       Unknown

Tonopah, Nevada

Divided back, black and white

Published by A. H. Rounsevell,

Tonopah, Nevada


A 3644    Birds-Eye View Tonopah, Nev. 1906

This is a double card panoramic view of Tonopah from near-by mountain.  Known post mark Tonopah, April 2, 1907.

A 3645     The House that Made Tonopah Famous, constructed of 10,000 beer bottles

EKPs known.                                                                                                                                  Tonopah Flag cancel, July 22, 1908.                                                                                      Reno & Goldfield RPO, December 21, 1908.

A 3646     The Barrel House, Tonopah, Nev.

Pioneer Tonopah photographer, E.W. Smith, took the photograph used for this post card.  Smith’s dog is seen sitting in front of the door to the Barrel House.  Smith’s dog was his way of signing his photographs.

With this undivided back post card, A.N.C. also left room on the right side of the post card for the message.

A 3647    Piute Indians Playing Poker, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP  Tonopah flag cancel, July 2, 1907.

A 3648   Native Daughters of the Desert, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP   Tonopah Flag Cancel, August 4, 1907.

A 3649    Tonopah Prospectors off for the New Strike

A 3650    Unknown- Likely Nevada

A 3651     High School, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP   Tonopah March 2, 1907.

A 3652     Mizpah Shaft of the Tonopah Mining Co., Tonopah, Nev.

Pioneer Tonopah photographer, E.W. Smith, took the photograph used for this post card.  Smith’s dog is seen lower left side of post card.

A 3653     Nye County Court House, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP   Tonopah Flag cancel April 5, 1907.

A 3654     Tonopah Extension Mine, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP Tonopah Flag cancel, March 7, 1907.

A 3655     A Piute Indian’s Private Residence, Tonopah, Nev.

EKP   Tonopah flag cancel, February 26, 1907.

A 3656     unknown


De Lamar, Nevada

Divided back, black and white

Published by M.C. Kelly,  De Lamar, Nev.


A 4337      Unknown

A 4338     Joshua Park,  De Lamar, Nev.

EKP  Delamar, Nevada, October 2, 1908.

A 4339     Unknown


6300 Series Goldfield

There are 15 color views of Goldfield in this 6300 series.    The undivided back post cards in this series, were first sold sometime between September of 1906 and February of 1907.[2]

Pers Edward Larson

     While his name is not listed on the back pioneer Goldfield photographer Pers Edward Larson either was the publisher of the series, or sold some of his photographs to A.N.C. to use in the 6300 series.

Possibly all of the photographs for the 6300 series were taken by Larson.  So far five cards in the series have been identified using Larson photographs.

Larson arrived in Goldfield opened up his own photography and souvenir store, The Palm Studio, about the same time that the 6300 series went on sale.



Goldfield, Nevada

Undivided back, Color

No local publisher listed

A 6330   Bird’s-Eye View of Mines and Goldfield, Nev.

Two panel panoramic view.

EKP   Goldfield, August 1, 1910

A 6331     Bird’s Eye View. Goldfield, Nev.

This same view was issued as Mitchell number 907 titled, “GENERAL VIEW OF GOLDFIELD, NEVADA.”

A.N.C. also issued a black and white version of this card with the number 1405.

A 6332     “Exhausted Stampeder.”    Found a place of Safe Deposit.    Goldfield, Nev.”

Also released  by A.N.C. as A 1404 black and white.

A 6333      Bird’s Eye View.                              Goldfield, Nev.

A.N.C. also issued this image in black and white card, A 1403.

EKP Hazen, Nevada, January 11, 1907.

A 6334     Pioneer Buildings.                          Goldfield, Nev.

Pioneer Goldfield photographer P.E. Larson issued his own version of this image, photograph number 347 titled, “PIONEER BUILDINGS GOLDFIELD, NEV.”


A 6335     En Route to Goldfield, Nev.

The card shows a load of lumber being pulled by a large team of mules.

A.N.C. also issued this card in b & w, number A 1401.

The same view was published by the Denison Post Card number, number 4, titled “Goldfield in 1905.”

Curt Tiech published the same view in 1933.   The CT post card has no title, location, or publisher listed on the post card.

It is one of a series of four untitled Goldfield postcards, 3A166, 167, 168, and 169 that Curt Tiech published in early 1933.

EKP  Goldfield, February 5, 1916.

A 6336     Gambling at the Gold Fields.

EKP   West Exeter, New York, December 25, 1911.

A 6337     Shipping Ore. Goldfield, Nev.

A 6338     Goldfield, Nev.

This view, a long line of mules hauling freight was was also issued by A.N.C.  in black and white, A 1398.

A 6339    Goldfield, Maidens, Goldfield, Nev.    

A black and white version of this view was also issued by A.N.C., card A 1397.

A 6340     Prospectors Outfit. Goldfield, Nev. 

This is a Larson photograph number 322.

 A 6341     First Baby born in Goldfield, Nev.

This view of a burro was also published by Larson.  Larson sold both a color and black and white version of this card, titled “FIRST BABY BORN IN   GOLDFIELD, NEV.”

A.N.C. also produced a black and white version of this image, A 1395.

EKP  Goldfield, April 9, 1916.

A 6342       Main Street. Goldfield, Nev.

This was also issued by A. N. C. in black and white, A 1384.

EKP  Niverville, New York, April, 21, 1908.

A 6343       U.S. mail Coaches in the Rocky Mountains. 

This was a popular image.   After A.N.C. used the image, Larson put out his own post card titled, “A holdup U.S. Mail Coach en route to Bullfrog Nev.” Number 333.

Again using Larson’s photograph this image is also found on a Newman post card number 134/15.

The image was also used by the Dennison Company.  This was post card three in the Dennison series. the card is titled “U.S. Mail Coach En Route to Bullfrog, Nevada.”

The image was also sold as a ‘real photo’ post card with a title that provides additional information;  “1907 O’Keefe Bros. Stage Co. Leaving Bull Frog Heading for Goldfield Nev.”

A 6344     The Yucca Palm on American Desert.

This was also released by Larson.  The negative of the photograph is identified with the number 634.

A 6345     (This is a New York view card.)





Divided back, color, No local publisher listed

A 6955     This is a Texas view card.


A 6956     Mizpah Gold Mine. Tonopah, Nev.


A 6957    Unknown


D 7000 Series

Divided, back color

Published by Grace B. Faxon, Ely, Nev.


 D 7018      Unknown

D 7019     St. Bartholomew Church and Rectory, Ely, Nev. (v)

EKP  Ely, February 21, 1910.

D 7020    Entrance to University Club, Ely, Nevada.

EKP  McGill, June 9, 1910.


Two rare views of the University Club in Ely, Nevada.

D 7021     University Club, Ely, Nevada.

EKP, East Ely, June 11, 1910.

D 7022   School, Ely, Nevada

While this has a divided back, there is room for a message on the right side of the face of the post card.

EKP  Ely, October 31, 1910.  Note, mailed on Nevada birthday as s state.

D 7023   General view of Ely, Nevada

EKP   Ely, April 22, 1910.


                 EKP  Ely, September 24, 1909

  D 7025      Unknown


U.S. Monitor  “Nevada”

color-divided back.  No local publisher listed

While not an image of the state, the American News Company produced a color card, titled, “A7292 U.S. Monitor “Nevada” at Anchor.  New London, Conn.”

The monitor “Nevada” was built in 1900 originally named the “Connecticut.”  It was later renamed the “Nevada,” and in 1909 the ship received its third and last name; the “Tonopah.”

After serving as a submarine tender during World War I, it was sold by the government in 1922.


A 7292    U.S. Monitor “Nevada” at Anchor.  New London, Conn.



Divided back,  Printed in Germany, color

C 14230  Ely

Published by Grace B. Faxon, Ely



C 14231    unknown

C 14232   Corner Aultman and Murray Streets, Ely, Nev.

Note the Northern Hotel on one corner and the R. A. Riepe Building on the other corner.  Riepe of the infamous Riepetown.

C 14233   Richmar Apartments, Ely, Nevada

C 14234   Nevada Northern Depot, Ely, Nevada.

EKP  Lane, Nevada, June 30, 1010.

C 14235   unknown




  • EKP   Earliest Known Postmark
  • V        Vertical




[1] Wallace, Charles L., “The Catalogue of Ply Chrome Post   Cards Made in Germany 1905-1906-1907.”

[2] Wallace, Charles L., “The Catalogue of Poly Chrome Post Cards Made in Germany 1905-1906-1907.”

Post Cards of Southern Nevada 1910 by Bobbe Lithographic Company of New York


Bobbe Lithographic Company,

Post Cards of Southern Nevada.

“Three trains is a Crowd”

Delayed in Caliente, Nevada on September 3, 1915, by a train wreck, William spent time at John Shier’s Drug Store just up the street from the train depot.

He bought several post cards of Caliente published by Shier.

On one card William wrote a friend in Massachusetts “held here on account of a washout.”   He dropped his post card at the Caliente Post Office.

William then headed back to the depot to get a status report on his train which was headed to California.

He picked up additional information on the wreck which occurred about half way between Caliente and Las Vegas.

William told Sona “we are tied up here today. We have been here since two o‘clock last night and this is in the afternoon.  The train ahead of us went into the ditch.  We don’t known when we will go.  But I suppose tonight three trains here so you know it’s a crowd.”

William, the pessimist, dated his post card 9-4-15.   He deposited his post card at the Caliente railroad depot.   Soon after he mailed his card the train left the station heading to Los Angeles.   William’s post card is postmarked Ogden & Los Angles R.P.O. TR 2 Sept. 3, 1915.

The first post card, the one he dropped off at the post office, did not make it on the train until the next day.  It is postmarked “Caliente, Nev. Sep 4, 1915.”

When the delayed trains, heading south, made it to the spot of the wreckage, a newspaper report said “the passengers beheld a locomotive almost buried in the sand.  It had left the track when it hit the washout, but the passenger train behind it was not wrecked.”[i]

While the backs of the post cards William in Caliente bought are the same used by the Bobbe Litho Company of New York, there is no credit line on the back other than “Pub. by John Shier –K. 1318.”

In addition to the design of the back, including the font used for the words Post Card, Bobbe also used the letter K to identify his post cards.  The color printing process is the same one used by Bobbe.  For example see Bobbe Litho K430 Caliente.

It is likely the post cards at Shier’s drug store had been on the rack for several years, and it is also likely they were printed by Bobbe’s  former  partner M. S. Kraus.

  The Bobbe Lithographic Company’s connection to Nevada

The Bobbe Litho Company connection to Nevada started five years earlier when it announced plans to begin selling post cards directly to retailers. [ii]

In addition to Shier in Caliente, a retailer in Las Vegas responded to Bobbe’s announcement.  Both retailers would order post cards that would mark key historic event.

In Caliente it was drug store owner Shier who sent in an order.  He soon received the shipment of post cards, despite limited communication with the outside world.

Caliente is one of the main Nevada stations on what is now the Union Pacific line between California and Utah.

A massive storm New Year’s Eve, 1909, knocked out more than 100 miles of the railroad with Caliente almost in the middle.  It took nearly six months to completely re-open the rail line.

Mail and supplies were brought in by wagon from Pioche, twenty-five miles north of Caliente.

Shier was clearly one of the first to order from Bobbe as he received his post cards in early April, 1910.  The earliest known Bobbe card post mark Caliente, April 27, 1910 a month before the rail line opened. .

When the railroad line reopened in mid-June 1910, John Shier’s drug store had a ready supply of storm related post cards.

It was Bobbe’s March announcement that caught Shier’s attention.  The price was right and he didn’t have to order thousands of post cards. He also he knew there would be a demand for post cards once the rail line reopened.

Up to that date Bobbe Litho, which both manufactured and imported post cards, sold only to wholesalers.[iii]

Bobbe’s move was the result of action by the Federal Government.

With the approval by the President and the U.S. Congress of the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909, the U.S. post card industry was looking at an uncertain future.

In late 1909 Bobbe was looking for a new revenue stream.

With his partner and longtime friend, Maurice Albert Kraus, they made a decision and sent out an press release to a target audience; drug stores.

Several trade magazines including The Pharmaceutical Era, the American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, and the Canadian Druggist printed the announcement.

The company’s press release modestly described itself as making “a bold move…best explained in the words of S. Bobbe, the well-known lithographer, whose plants in American and Holland are world renowned.”

Before the new tariff on post cards from Europe wholesalers around United States had stocked up on post cards.   Wholesale prices dropped, and Bobbe said the situation was “very sad indeed.”

To this point in time Bobbe said he had kept his companies post card work quiet; “We have sunk our identity for many years” by “printing other names on them as publishers.” [iv]

Now he said the post card part of his company was going public with a new sales plan; “we find that our post card business is best conserved by direct contact with the retailer.”

Bobbe’s enticement to the small shop owners was financial.  The company announcement, said it was sending out a catalogue with prices so “low as to give the dealer the benefit of the jobbers’ profits and the salesman’s commissions.” [v]

Not only would be wholesale price be attractive, Bobbe said his company had “perfected a glazed view which our foreign house formerly made and we now make them equally.”

Bobbe went on to compare his cards to the ‘real photo’ post cards.  He said his post cards have “a photo finish that far excels many of the photographic views cards that are sold throughout the country.” [vi]

Bobbe’s announcements included another inducement for small retailers, he sell his postcards “in lots of 500” and would “deliver views in two weeks’ time.” [vii]

Two southern Nevada drug stores, one in Las Vegas and Shier’s in Caliente  responded to the offer.

           Bobbe and Kraus knew each other                  for more than 30 years

In addition to being his partner and friend, M. Albert Kraus was Bobbe’s naturalization sponsor. [viii]

Bobbe arrived in the United States from England in September of 1876.  He was sixteen.

On October 15, 1885 he became a citizen of the United States.   A year later he listed his occupation as “bookbinder.”[ix]

By 1910, Bobbe had become one of Kraus’ partners, along with Simon Goodman in the Kraus Manufacturing Company, a printing house in New York.[x]

Despite orders from Caliente and Las Vegas as well as responses from retailers around the country, including Lake Tahoe, this was Bobbe last known post card effort.

Kraus Continues on in the Post Card world


Kraus Post Card for Broadway show “Mutt & Jeff”  1911-1912. Has Kraus back, not Bobbe.

Kraus on the other hand, using the same back found on the Bobbe post cards, would print at least one Nevada post card, and would go on to create post cards for both silent film stars and Broadway shows.  Kraus’ credit line would often appear on the backs of his post cards he created.

“The Lilac Domino” opened on Broadway October 28, 1914.  Post card published by Kraus, with Bobbe back.


 Caliente, John Shier  Las Vegas, Warren Wilson

Shier and Warren Wilson of Las Vegas, owned and operated the major stores in southern Nevada.

Shier had been a drug store owner and operator in the south-east part of Nevada for several decades..

Starting in Pioche in 1880 he opened “Shier’s Hesperian Drug Store.”[xi]  By 1894 he had moved to De Lamar, Nevada and had set up shop as a “pharmacist.”  His new operation was called the “Prescription Drug Store.”

In 2012, a 5 1/8 inch tall bottle from his De Lamar drug store sold for $1,000. [xii]

When the railroad was built between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles the town of Calientes, with an “s” was created.  As De Lamar would soon turn unto a ghost town Shier opened the Caliente Drug Store.

Front page advertisement in July 27, 1906 issue of

The Pioche Weekly Record

Shier, originally from Ringwood, Hampshire, England was 62-years-old when he ordered post cards from Bobbe in 1910.

A few months after receiving is post cards from Bobbe, Shier announced his plans to run for the Nevada Assembly representing Lincoln County.[xiii]  Two decades earlier he had served in the Nevada Legislature.

Late in 1910, after the rail line had been restored Shier, and Charles Squires, publisher of the Las Vegas Age newspaper were named in to the Platform Committee, of the Nevada State Republican Party.[xiv]

Not likely the two men discussed Bobbe post cards.  Although, Squires did use Bobbe post cards to promote his campaign for the Nevada Legislature representing Clark County.

The Squires state senate campaign mailers are the first known use of post cards in a Las Vegas election.

Both Shier and Squires made it to the November general election.  Both lost.

Wilson Drug Store – Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, Warren Wilson had just turned 22 years old when he moved to Nevada in 1906. [xv]

By 1910 he was part owner and ran the largest drug store in Clark County new county seat, Las Vegas. [xvi]

Wilson’s drug store was located on the first floor of the building located on the North West corner of First and Fremont Street.

Wilson Drug Store  Las Vegas.  Albertype Post Card     ca. 1910

It is likely Wilson’s 1910 post card order was his first and last from Bobbe.  It is also likely that the Bobbe order was the last order Wilson made for any post card for his Las Vegas drug store.

While Wilson used several post card publishers while he operated the drug store, his company of choice was Albertype of Brooklyn, New York.  He used Albertype starting 1907, as did his processor.

Wilson was sick most of 1910 and was either in the hospital or at home recovering.

In mid-March of 1910, the news hit; “New Drug Store.”  The newspaper reported “Las Vegas is to have another business house on Fremont Street.  The name of the new enterprise is the Las Vegas Drug Company.  The store will be neatly fitted up and will be ready for business within the coming week.  In addition to drugs the concern will carry a stock of optical goods and jewelry.”[xvii]

The store, which specialized in “eye glasses, eyes examined, glasses made and repaired,” also started selling real photo post cards of southern Nevada.[xviii]

Within days of the new drug store opening, Wilson became “quite ill” and was “confined to his house”[xix]     After being “confined to the house by illness for over a week,” Wilson was sent to Los Angeles, and “will stay in the southland some time for recuperation.”   Neither Las Vegas newspaper, while reporting on the Wilson’s illness many times, every mentioned the exact nature of his illness.

At the end of April 1910 the Age reported that Wilson, after being confined to a “California hospital for several days, he is now able to be out.”[xx]

Several weeks later, Wilson after a “sojourn of several weeks returns much improved in his health, and is once more attending to business at the drug store.”[xxi]

It is during this period Wilson probably ordered as many as ten different views of Las Vegas from Bobbe.

Whatever was causing Wilson’s ill health, it hit again 60 days later.  The public was informed at the end of July their primary pharmacist “has been ill for a week past, went to Los Angeles. It is hoped that the change of climate and rest from business will soon restore him to health.”[xxii]

He returned a month later, “much improved in health and spirit from his sojourn in Los Angeles.”[xxiii]

Wilson’s “spirit” did not last long. Less than 30 days later he called it quits.  His mysterious malady was given for his departure.  One report said that “Mr. Wilson has been in ill health for the past year, and on this account felt the need of a change, and will take a much needed rest on the coast.”  The headline to the story simply said Wilson “Disposes of Drug Business.”[xxiv]

Within weeks, the new owner and a new name for the business was announced.  “E.S. Wharton, of Rhyolite has purchased the interest of W. B. Wilson in the Wilson Drug Company and will assume the management of the business.  He has a large stock of goods at Rhyolite which will be moved here and combined with the stock of the local store.”[xxv]

The Wilson Drug Store became the Wharton Drug Store.  Like Wilson, Wharton  ordered his Las Vegas post cards from Albertype.  However, Wharton never placed an order with Bobbe.

Bobbe Nevada Post Cards 1910-1911

The Bobbe post cards were likely produced over a one year period beginning in the spring of 1910. The dates of printing and likely re-orders, are based on Bobbe’s announcement, postmarks and the images and titles of the Nevada post cards.

It is possible that Shier placed an order for a panoramic view of Caliente in 1914.   A post card with a Bobbe Shier back, with only a “Pub by John Shier –K1318” is known to exist with the title “Birdseye View of Caliente, Nevada.”

Known Postmarks.

  • Caliente, Nevada, April 27, 1910.
  • Caliente, Nevada, June 20, 1910.
  • Caliente, Nevada, July 12, 1910.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada August 30, 1910 A.M.
  • Los Angeles, California, September 10, 1910
  • Caliente, November 6, 1910.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, November 11, 1910.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, February 16, 1911.
  • Caliente, March 1, 1911
  • Caliente, Nevada, April 11, 1911.
  • Caliente, May 10, 1911.
  • Las Vegas, November 11, 1910.
  • Caliente, Nevada, June 26, 1911.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, June 29, 1911 A.M.
  • Las Vegas, July 6, 1911.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, August 3, 1911
  • Las Vegas, September 21, 1911.
  • Las Vegas, October 2, 1911.
  • Las Vegas, December 16, 1911.
  • Caliente, July 1, 1914.
  • L. City & Los Angeles, TR 2 R.P.O. June 30, 1914
  • Caliente, Nevada, August 5, 1915.
  • Caliente, Nevada, August 20, 1915
  • Ogden & Los Angeles, R.P.O, September 3, 1915
  • Caliente, Nevada, September 4, 1915.



Bobbe Post Card Backs

There are two known Bobbe backs on Calientes and Las Vegas post cards.

Bobbe Litho  Back  Version One


Bobbe Litho Back  Version Two

Check List of known Bobbe Litho Nevada Post Cards


Series 86,  Also reissued as Series 140

This is a vertical card with three views damaged railroad tracks from the storm of 1910. Each of the three images has its own title.

  • There are two horizontal views on the face of the card and one vertical view.
  • Horizontal “Caliente, Nev.”  Shows twisted railroad tracks.
  • Vertical view “Two Miles above Caliente.” Shows more twisted tracks.
  • Horizontal “One & One Half Miles above Caliente.” Shows washed out track and trestle
  • No publisher listed. Earliest known postmark is Caliente, April 27, 1910.
  • This same view was produced under Bobbe’s Series 140. Version 2 of the back was used.   Possibly a re-order of a popular post card.




Series 95


  • This is a black and white view look south from the west side of the tracks towards the business section of town and the depot.
  • Earliest known postmark is June 12, 1910. Published for John Shier.



Series 148

A multi view post card of Caliente.  Each view has a title within the image.

  • The images on the post card appear on post cards printed earlier by other publishers..


Series K.205

Title, “Caliente, Nevada, 1910”

  • This post card was issued with three different Bobbe Litho numbers,
    • 205
    • 238
    • 1042
    • All three have the same back.
  • All three post cards were “Pub. By Bobbe Litho Co., New York City for John Shier.”
  • Shier’s name is misspelled ‘Ghier’ on the first issue, K.205.
  • On the last print run, K.1042 a small water pond lower right has been colored in.


Series K 430

This card, is titled “Caliente, Nevada.”

  • The view shows the town and mountains in the distance from an almost ‘birds-eye’ view.
  • A light green color was added to the sky, a brown to the desert and a dark grey to the town.
  • “Pub. By Bobbe Litho Co., N.Y. for John Shier”



Series K 1296

  1. A vertical post card with two images of Caliente.
  • Each image has its own title; “Main St. Caliente, Nev.,” and “Depot, Caliente, Nev.” and “Round House,” and “Across the track, Caliente, Nevada
  • Published for “John Shier” by Bobbe.
  1. A vertical post card with two images of Caliente.
  • Each image has its own title; MAIN ST. CALIENTE, NEV.,” and ‘DEPOT, CALIENTE NEV.” However, the second view shows seven men standing at the front of a steam engine number 19.

 Bobbe backs, but no Bobbe credit line.

One has the credit line “Pub. By Kraus Mfg. Co., N.Y.” the other card with the same back has a credit line “Pub. By John Shier- K1318.”

Based on the backs, the “K” number, it is likely that Kraus purchased Bobbe sometime between 1911 and 1914.

 K 1318

  1. This is a color post card titled “Birdseye view of Caliente, Nevada.”
  • The colors are identical to those found in K430 “Caliente, Nevada.”
  • Published by John Shier
  • Earliest postmark is July 1, 1914.

No number.   Kraus Mfg. Company.

  1. The title is “Caliente, Nevada.”
  • This post card has the credit line “Pub. By Kraus Mfg. Co., N. Y.”
  • This is a view of the business district next to the tracks on the depot side of the railroad.
  • The earliest known postmark is December 14, 1916.
  • The post card has an early Bobbe Litho post card back.


Check List of Bobbe Las Vegas

Post Cards

Series 140

Another post card printed by Bobbe  records  an important moment in Las Vegas’ history.   

In 1910, Charles P. Squires, who owned and operated the Las Vegas Age, one of communities two weekly newspapers campaigned for the office of State Senator representing Clark County.

In February of 199, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a series of articles on historic Las Vegas figures.   The late journalist K.J. Evans wrote, “If there is any individual who deserves the title “The Father of Las Vegas,” it is Charles Pember Squires, a native of Austin, Minn., who spent more than 50 years here, building, boosting and ballyhooing his city. Fellow citizens who knew him during that time in Las Vegas greeted him with the sobriquet of “Pop,” and his wife, Delphine, as “Mom.”[xxvi]

As part of his 1910 campaign, Squires sent out post cards in the primary election seeking the Republican nomination.

He used a Series 140 post card from Bobbe Lithographic Company titled “Views at Las Vegas, Nev.”.

The multi view has three images, the Salt Lake Route railroad depot, Fremont Street looking west, and an image of the First State Bank.

On the back of the card, most mailed in August, before the September primary, Squires printed “Dear Sir:  I am asking the republicans for the nomination for State Senator.  I believe I am the man you want.  If you think so too, your vote at the primaries will be appreciated as a personal favor.  I have the interests of the County deeply at heart, as you may know through my paper, The Las Vegas Age, and will esteem it a high honor to represent you.   Yours Very truly, Chas. P. Squires.”

The card was addressed “Dear Sir,” as women were not allowed to vote in 1910.

Other Bobbe Series 140 Las Vegas Post Cards.

The 140 Series use a Bobbe Litho post card back, and series number, but Bobbe does not have a credit line on the back, only “Pub. by Wilson Drug Co., Las Vegas, Nevada.”


  1. “VIEWS OF LAS VEGAS NEV.” In a small triangle in the center of the post card.

This post card has three untitled views on the face of the card.

  • The First State Bank building.
  • The railroad depot
  • Fremont Street look west from Second Street.

Earliest known postmark, Apr. 30, 1910.

  1. “DESERT SCENES LAS VEGAS, NEV.” In a small triangle in the center of the post card.

There are three views on the face of this post card.

  • Two men on horses with three pack mules loaded with prospecting Equipment.  The Newman Post printed this same view for Wilson Card Company, card 2, titled “On the Desert, Las Vegas, Nevada.”
  • A view of two dozen burros, near a creek, with Sunrise Mountain in the background. The same view was printed for Wilson by the Albertype Company of New York, and titled, “Burros, Stewart Ranch, Las Vegas, Nevada.”
  • This is a view of seven burros with backpacks, with what looks like Frenchman’s Mountain in the background. Earliest known postmark is September 10, 1910- Los Angeles, California.

This post card has the separate views of the two churches in Las Vegas in 1910-1911.

Earliest known postmark is July 6, 1911 – Las Vegas.


Earliest known postmark Feb 16, 1911- Las Vegas.


Note, different font used for title, and Nevada not abbreviated.

Series 166 and Series 1004

Both the Series 166 and 1004 have credit lines “Pub by Bobbe Litho. Co., New York City,” and “For Wilson Drug Co.” on the back.


Earliest known postmark is November 11, 1910- Las Vegas.

 Series 1004


Earliest known post mark is October, 1920-Las Vegas.

The Clark & Ronnow Ranch were front page news in April of 1910.   The Las Vegas Age reported on April 30 in a story titled “Paradise Valley,”  “Where less than two ears ago was only the gray of the desert may now be seen…little bunches of greenery.”   the story went on to say there were “several acres of sugar cane,” as well as corn, and barley” and Clark and Ronnow said “we have 480 acres of land…of this we will probably have 120 acres under cultivation by the end of the season.”  The story ended with the note the Clark and Ronnow Ranch provides an example of why “it is little wonder that the Vegas valley is receiving much attention.”                                     It is possible the story and the publishing of the post cards of the ranch was part of a marketing effort to sell land in Las Vegas.

How many post cards of southern Nevada were produced by Bobbe-Kraus?

It is likely the Bobbe Lithographic Company of New York City, New York printed more than twenty different card images of southern Nevada in 1910.

There are nine known Bobbe cards of Caliente, and 8 of Las Vegas.  Included in the known total of seventeen post cards are 9 multi view cards.  There are a total of eighteen views on the 9 multi view cards.

It is possible the images on the multi view cards were also produced as individual view cards.

For example an untitled three image multi view card of the 1910 New Year’s track washout in Meadows Valley contains three titled views; A card titled “Caliente, Nev” that shows only twisted railroad tracks, a view titled “Two Miles Above Caliente,” that shows more twisted railroad tracks, and a third view titled “One & One Half Miles Above Caliente,” that shows track and a washed out trestle.

On the other hand three image multi-view cards tilted “VIEWS OF LAS VEGAS, NEV.” Shows views that had already been released as individual cards by other post cards producers.

No Bobbe post cards from other parts of Nevada have been uncovered.  There are known Bobbe post cards from the California side of Lake Tahoe.



[i] “Marooned Artists Give Charity Show,” September 6, 1915, The Salt Lake Tribune, page 8.

[ii] “Bobbe Litho Co. to Sell Director to Dealers,” March 1910, “The Pharmaceutical Era, magazine, New York, Page 292.

[iii] “Bobbe Litho Co. to Sell Director to Dealers,” March 1910, “The Pharmaceutical Era, magazine, New York, Page 292.

[iv] “Direct to the Retailer,” March 1910, The Canadian Druggist magazine, Toronto, Canada, Page 175. “The Retailer Gets the Bottom Line,” June 27, 1910, American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, Page A 24.

[v] “Bobbe Litho Co. to Sell Director to Dealers,” March 1910, “The Pharmaceutical Era, magazine, New York, Page 292.

[vi] “Direct to the Retailer,” March 1910, The Canadian Druggist magazine, Toronto, Canada, Page 175. “The Retailer Gets the Bottom Line,” June 27, 1910, American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, Page A 24.

[vii] “Bobbe Litho Co. to Sell Director to Dealers,” March 1910, “The Pharmaceutical Era, magazine, New York, Page 292.

[viii] “Co-partnership and Corporation Directory of the City of New York,” March 1910, Trow Directory, Printing & Bookbinding Company, New York, Page 93.

[ix]  “Throw’s New York City Directory,” May 1, 1886, The Grow City Directory Company, New York, Page 167. “Petitions for Naturalization” New York City,  Samuel Bobbe, Records of the District Court, 1685-2009, Record group Number, RG21.

[x] “Co-partnership and Corporation Directory of City of New York, March 1910, Trow directory, Printing & Bookbinding Company, New York, Page 449.

[xi] Display advertisement for Shier’s Hesperian Drug Store, June 21, 1890, The Pioche, Nevada Record, page 4.


[xiii]  “Political Announcement,” July 23, 1910, The Pioche Nevada Record, page 4.

[xiv]  “Republican Party stands United in Convention,” September 28, 2910, Reno Evening Gazette, page 2.

[xv] Las Vegas Age, November 11, 1906

[xvi]  “Thomas Block Leased, November 24, 1906, Las Vegas Age, page 1.

[xvii].  “New Drug Store,” March 18, 1910, page 1.

[xviii]. Clark County Review, June 11, 1910, page 6

[xix]. Clark County Review, April 16, 1910, page 6

[xx]. Las Vegas Age, April 30, 1910, page 5.

[xxi]. Clark County Review, May 21, 1910, page 6

[xxii]. Las Vegas Age, July 32, 1910, page 5

[xxiv].. “Disposes of Drug Business,” January 21, 1911, Las Vegas Age, page one..

[xxv].   “Local Notes,” March 11, 1911, Las Vegas Age, page 5.



Who was AP, the pre World War Two northern California photographer who created several series of Nevada post cards?

The California Photographer who is listed twice in the 1940 U.S. Census in different cities.  And who produced real photo postcards of Nevada.  Who is A.P.?

by Robert Stoldal

(Updated  April 25,  2019)

In the late 1930’s, a California photographer who used the initials AP to identify his work, produced a series of post cards of Nevada towns along U.S. highways 40 and 50.

No name, just an A and a P attached to each other was the only clue as to who the photographer was.

Who was AP?

Continue reading “Who was AP, the pre World War Two northern California photographer who created several series of Nevada post cards?”

Chapter Two.   Northern Hotel and Bar. Raids, Illegal gambling and alcohol.

In late 2017 the site of what is arguably one of the most historic gambling site fell into the deep hole of ‘Who Cares?’  Add to that, what history is available, is often buried in the fact-fantasy land of the internet.

Yet with names like the Stockers, the Stearns, and Siegel, the Northern Hotel Bar and Club in downtown Las Vegas has a fact based history that will surprise most.  That includes the role the owners had in legalizing gambling in Nevada.

At this point there appears to be no effort on the part of todays’ operators of the property, or the Fremont Street Experience, or the City of Las Vegas to let locals and visitors know of the important and colorful history of this site and the rest of Fremont Street.  (April 3, 2018 I’ve been quietly told, this will change.  The when and how is still a question.  But, at least the discussion has begun.  Will stay on top of it.)

From the day the Northern Hotel and Bar opened in 1912 until he fled town, Lon Groesbeck operated both floors of the building.  His energy was focused on money making possibilities of the first floor, alcohol and gambling.

Six years later, after Nevada and Clark county voters, in 1918 overwhelmingly  approved legislation outlawing the sale of liquor, the future for Groesbeck, whose health was already failing, turned from clouded to clearly dark.

But when the Northern opened, like Las Vegas in 1912, it a welcome oasis on the northern edge of the Mojave Desert.

Las Vegas is also about half way between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City which, with the abundant of water at the time, made it an ideal place for a railroad to build a massive maintenance plant. 

Las Vegas, 1912, Author’s collection

 And with the plant hundreds of men came to Las Vegas, most of them single.

Despite the 1910 statewide ban on gambling, Las Vegas with its red light district-Block 16, (the east side of the 200 block of North First Street.) was at best a controlled “wide open town.”

After operating both floors for two years, in the late fall of 1914, Groesbeck transferred his “saloon license” to Fred Van Deventer.”

Details limited other than the transfer was approved by the Las Vegas City Commission. [i]

Then, not long after the town celebrated its tenth birthday there was a call to clean up the town both literally and morally.

In May of 1916, Clark County District Court Judge Charles Lee Horsey convened a grand jury with specific instructions to look into vice and law enforcement in Las Vegas. Arthur Jerry Stebenne

Judge Horsey would later become a Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court.

At the end of June, the grand jury issued its report.  “Upon the subject of gambling” the report said “the neglect of duty on the part of peace officers, we have found for a long time past, illegal gambling has been openly conducted, with the knowledge of the peace officers who have made no effort to prevent the offense.”[ii]

And in regard to the sale of alcohol, still legal in 1916, the jury’s “Committee on Public Morales,” wrote, “We find upon investigation that for the years 1915 and 1916, 85%of the indigents were made such directly through indulgence in liquor and gambling.” [iii]

And, the grand jury did not stop at gambling and alcohol telling the judge “it is apparent that there are cases of illicit cohabitation in Clark County, particularly in Las Vegas and stringent laws should be enacted over this disgusting offense against public decency.”  [iv]

The grand jury also handed down eight indictments for violations of the gambling laws.

Among those indicted was Groesbeck. He was charged with conducting an illegal casino operation at the Northern.[v]

Groesbeck was specifically charged with taking a percent, a “rake-off” for setting up tables where men could play poker for money.

Groesbeck and his crew, which included early versions of “pit bosses,” ran the games.

Nevada state law at the time allowed people could gamble at poker, but did not allow the house to take a piece of the action.

A poker game at the Northern.  The tables were all line up on the west side of the club, with the bar running north and south on the east side of the building.

Three months after he was busted Groesbeck was found guilty of allowing gambling at the Northern.  The case, at the time, was described as under the new law the “first successfully prosecuted case against illegal gambling in Nevada.”

Clark County District Attorney, A. S. Henderson, in his colorful closing arguments compared Groesbeck to a spider; “When once a man is in its clutches it suck out his life blood.  Like a spider, he grabs the fly and sucks the living blood out of him and leaves him to suffer the torments of hell.  That’s what the gambler does, sucks the living blood until the man is fleeced of everything. [vi]

After Groesbeck was found guilty, the other defendants all pleaded guilty.

The next month, Judge Horsey sentences all six to one to five years in the state penitentiary in Carson City. But, with overall public opinion running against the “actual imprisonment of the offenders,” to the surprise of few the judge suspended sentence of each of the gamblers. [vii]

As far as Groesbeck, the Judge said, “I do not say, I have no sympathy for the defendant.  I say, I have no sympathy for his business of far as his business relates to gambling.  If I had the power” there “would not be any gambling in Clark county or anywhere else.”[viii]

With sale of liquor still legal Groesbeck went back to running the Northern Hotel and Bar for both men and for a while, for women.

The Northern catered only to men in the bar and the poker tables.  In an effort to expand business “Six ‘wine rooms’ were established in the rear which ladies could patronize through a ‘family entrance’ off the alley.” [ix]

(We have been unable to find a photograph of women in the wine room or an image of the ‘family entrance’ to the Northern.)

A year after Groesbeck’s bust for gambling, he was in financial trouble.

In October of 1917, Liddie Groesbeck, his wife, (who lived in Salt Lake City) borrowed $2,800 from Fred T. Van Derventer, aka Fred Van Deventer.[x]

She agreed on October 17, 1917 to pay off the loan in fourteen equal payments of $200.

To “secure payment,” Mrs. Groesbeck put up “all the furniture, bedding, rugs, carpets and utensils of every description now in or about the second story of the building known as the Northern Hotel situate on Fremont Street between Main and First Streets,” also “the safe, desk, cash register and tables and chairs on the first floor.” [xi]

The loan document is signed only by “Mrs. Liddie Groesbeck” and says she “hereby acknowledge myself to be indebted.” [xii]

Ten days later, a notice appeared in the newspaper, “Fred VanDeventer has sold his interest in the Northern Hotel to Lon Groesbeck.”[xiii]

The changes at the Northern appear to be in preparation for the Salt Lake Brewing Company selling the land and the building.

Looking for a buyer in the middle of the winter of 1917, the company didn’t have to go far.

Fred and Nellie Cullen Leonard, who owned several business in Utah, would become the short term owners.

Leonard, in 1912,  was the brewing company’s key representative in Las Vegas.  He negotiated the deal for the brewing company to buy lot 27 in Block 3.

In addition to beverage, candy and hotel operations the the Leonard’s  owned the Cullen Investment Company of Salt Lake City which became the new official owner of record of the Northen. [xiv]

Initially, the Leonard’s kept their friend Groesbeck on as manager of the property.  That would soon change.

At its first meeting in 1918, Groesbeck asked the Las Vegas City Commission to transfer the “retail liquor permit” back to him from Fred Van Deventer.  The request was approved. [xv]

Groesbeck resumed control of both floors of the Northern.

Weeks later, Van Deventer moved to Long Beach with his family.  Instead of opening a bar, Van Deventer was reported “doing his bit” for the war effort in a “shipbuilding plant.” [xvi]

The last half of 1918 was a challenging for Las Vegas and its’ residents and would begin Groesbeck end.

Las Vegas ca. 1912, looking west from First and Fremont Streets.  Author’s collection. The Northern is seen on the left side half way up the street with the extension from the top of the second floor.

Hit hard by the flu that killed millions around the world, dozens died in Las Vegas.

Many of the community’s young men had been drafted and were in France fighting in World War One.

And in November, the issue of banning the sale of alcohol was on the ballot.

In Las Vegas the question of whether to elect a sheriff who would enforce any such ban, or one whose record as sheriff was soft on the saloon crowd was also on the ballot.

As campaigning started, the flu epidemic hit Las Vegas.

By the time it was over the epidemic became a pandemic, killing millions of people around the world.   More than fifty deaths were recorded in the small community of Las Vegas with an estimated population of less than 25-hundred.

Business was bad, travelers stayed on trains that were passing through Las Vegas, school were closed, sick people were confined to their homes, political rallies cancelled.

For the most part, local newspapers reported the 1918 election was quiet.

The most noise came from the ‘wet’s and the ‘dry’s battling over the question of banning the ‘booze.’

Post card cartoons of the day carried the message.

 When the votes were counted in Las Vegas, Clark County, and the state, 22,308 people voted on the prohibition initiative.

Statewide 59% of the voters cast their ballots in favor of the statewide ban.

In Clark County the ‘drys’ whipped the ‘wets’ by a 69% to 31% margin.  In Las Vegas the vote was similar, 63% in favor of the ban to 37% against.

On the flip side, voters elected former sheriff Sam Gay, a former bouncer in the red light district, who had been forced out of office earlier.

For a few days after the election and into the New Year it was still easy to get a drink at the Northern and other saloons, but slowly liquor went under the bar and into the back room.

Saloons along bock 16 began closing their doors and reopening as soft drink parlors. But there was little trouble in securing liquor.

Saloons were located along Block 16 with the two-story Arizona Club leading the pack.                           Author’s collection.

The hotel “bars” along Fremont Street were, less public about their illegal offerings.

Sheriff Gay, recalled, once “the church folks got busy and voted” for the ban, “me being Sheriff, had to dry the town up.  So I sent around word to all the barkeeps to close or start selling buttermilk.  And all but one did.  I had to go in and help drunk up what he had left.”[xvii]

 The Sheriff also took out an ad on the front page of one of the local newspapers;  “I am going to enforce the prohibition law to the letter,” starting on January 6, 1919.[xviii]

He added a warning, “Mr. Bootlegger this is your first and last notice from me.  Your next notice will be a warrant of arrest.” [xix]

Six weeks later, Sheriff Gay would make his first arrest under the new law.

But, it was not a local person.   The suspect, A. P. Chamberlin, had just driven into town from Utah and got a room at the Northern.

The Sheriff went to Chamberlin room in hotel, found several bottles of bonded whiskey and arrested the out-of-towner.


Chamberlin was found guilty on February 26 and sentence to 90 days in jail and fined $125 and court costs and left town.

Through the rest of 1919, the saloons, said Sheriff Gay,  “The town was dry for a year” he said “there was “no bootlegging then.” ”[xx]

While there were no desert stills, not yet, the Sheriff said  the liquor that was sold came secret stashes left over from before the Nevada ban,as well as alcohol brought in from states where it was legal.

While the sheriff thought the town was ‘dry’ most would have described it if not ‘wet, a least very ‘damp.’

Reflecting on 1919, the Las Vegas Age reported, there were people “who have been almost openly, and notoriously selling whiskey in this city.” [xxi]

When the next bootlegging arrest was made, it was the district attorney, not the sheriff who filed the charges.

On the evening of Friday, January 2, 1920, Clark County D. A.  Arthur Jerome Stebenne led a raid on the Northern to find the “King of the Bootleggers.”

Unable to find Sheriff Gay, the Stebenne secured the services of a deputy sheriff and the Las Vegas Constable.

Arriving at the Northern they found Sheriff Gay was already there.  The D.A. “demanded” Gay participate in the raid.  [xxii]

The four law enforcement officers found Groesbeck in bed in a back room of the first floor. [xxiii]

A half empty bottom of whiskey was in plain sight.   Groesbeck, according to published reports, pointing to the bottle, told the four lawmen, “There is all I have, you can use that against men if you want to.” [xxiv]

But the D.A. said he had information that there was more whiskey. 

At which point, Groesbeck got out of bed and opened a nearby trunk containing twenty-three pint bottles of McBrayer whiskey. [xxv] 




Las Vegas Age January 3, 1920, page one.

Calling Groesbeck the “King of Bootleggers” Squires wrote in the Age, “the illicit sale of whiskey has been going on in this city ever since the prohibition amendment went into effect.  Groesbeck has been suspected of being the chief violator of the law.  It has been common knowledge that whiskey could be secured there by paying the price.  Numerous cases of drunkenness have been traced to whiskey secured at the Northern.”[xxvi] 

A few days later, Groesbeck pleaded guilty to “the charge of having whiskey in his possession.  He was fined $400 and court costs of $22.50 and to serve three months in the county jail.  The judge suspended the sentence if Groesbeck paid the fine and left town.

Groesbeck paid the fine and quickly left town.

But the district attorney, working quickly, forced a change in the suspended sentence and ordered Groesbeck arrest.  In the few hours  between paying the fine and the district attorney getting the jail time reinstated, Groesbeck left for Utah. [xxvii]

At the end of year Las Vegas newspapers were reporting on Groesbeck death in Salt Lake City.  He was 62.

When Groesbeck fled town early in 1920, and with both alcohol and gambling illegal, it was the Cullen Investment Company turn to begin looking for someone to take over the Northern.

Groesbeck, before he left town, told authorities he had leased the gaming operations to James Germain.

At that moment, January, 1920, Germain aka German had another job, the official Las Vegas Enumerator for the 1920 U.S. Census.

At the end of January, 1920, he interviewed the Stocker family and filled out the census forms for the five members of the family.   [xxviii]


The five Stockers were Oscar the father and his wife Mayme, and their three sons, Lester, Clarence and Harold.

Oscar listed his occupation as a “brakeman” with the railroad, which would be the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, also known as the “Salt Lake Route.” [xxix]

When it came to Mayme “none” is listed under occupation. [xxx]   Under the 1920 Census guidelines given to German Rule 158 says, “in the case of a woman doing housework in her own home and having no other employment the entry should be “none.”

Both Clarence and Lester listed their “occupation” as “salesman” in a “cigar store.” [xxxi]

And, finally, Harold, like his father was employed at the rail yards.  He was listed as a “Machinist Helper.” [xxxii]

Before 1920 called it a day, the Stocker family would begin a nearly century long relationship with lot 27 of Block 3 of Las Vegas.

 Coming up, Chapter three.  The Stocker Era Begins.         ‘Three wild and crazy guys!” arrive in Las Vegas.

[i]  “City Board,” October 10, 1914, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[ii] “Grand Jury Indicts Nine for Gambling,” June 10, 1916, Clark County Review, Pages one and three

[iii] “Grand Jury Indicts Nine for Gambling,” June 10, 1916, Clark County Review, Pages one and three

[iv] “Grand Jury Indicts Nine for Gambling,” June 10, 1916, Clark County Review, Pages one and three.

[v] Grand Jury Indicts Nine for Gambling,” June 10, 1916, Clark County Review, Pages one and three.

[vi] “First Gambling Case Results in Conviction,” September 30, 1916, Clark County Review, page one.

[vii] “First Gambling Case Results in Conviction,” September 30, 1916, Clark County Review, page one.

[viii] “First Gambling Case Results in Conviction,” September 30, 1916, Clark County Review, page one.

[ix] “Poker, Whist, Bridge Only Games Allowed in 1st Gambling Club,” May 16, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal & Age, Section B, Page four.

[x]  “Chattel Mortgage,” between Liddie Groesbeck, and Fred T. Van Derventer,” October 17, 1917, Clark County Recorder Office, Las Vegas, Nevada document 10829.

[xi]  “Chattel Mortgage,” between Liddie Groesbeck, and Fred T. Van Derventer,” October 17, 1917, Clark County Recorder Office, Las Vegas, Nevada document 10829.

[xii]  “Chattel Mortgage,” between Liddie Groesbeck, and Fred T. Van Derventer,” October 17, 1917, Clark County Recorder Office, Las Vegas, Nevada document 10829.

[xiii]  “Local Notes,” October 27, 1917, Las Vegas Age, page three

[xiv] “Groesbeck landed by Dist. Atty. Stebenne,” January 3, 1920, Las Vegas Age, Page 1.

[xv]  “Regular Meeting of City Commissioners,” January 5, 1918, Las Vegas Age, Page one.

[xvi]  “Local Notes,” May 18, 1918, Las Vegas Age, Page three.

[xvii] “The old west live, Las Vegas, A desert bloom,” 1930, Illustrated Daily News. Clipping, no page number.

[xviii] “Sheriff-elect gives notice and warning,” January, 1920, Las Vegas Age, Page 1.

[xix] “Sheriff-elect gives notice and warning,” January, 1920, Las Vegas Age, Page 1.

[xx] “The old west live, Las Vegas, A desert bloom,”  1930, Illustrated Daily News. Clipping, no page number.

[xxi] “Groesbeck landed by Dist. Atty. Stebenne,” January 3, 1920, Las Vegas Age, Page 1.

[xxii] “The ‘Northern’ In liquor raid,” January 3, 1920, Clark County Review, Page one.

[xxiii] “The ‘Northern’ In liquor raid,” January 3, 1920, Clark County Review, Page one.

[xxiv] “The ‘Northern’ In liquor raid,” January 3, 1920, Clark County Review, Page one.

[xxv] “The ‘Northern’ In liquor raid,” January 3, 1920, Clark County Review, Page one.

[xxvi] “Groesbeck Landed By District Atty. Stebenne,” January 3, 1920, Las Vegas Age, page one.

[xxvii] “Lon Groesbeck Flees From Jail Sentence,” January 10, 1920, Las Vegas Age, Page one.

[xxviii]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll: T625_1004; Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxix]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll: T625_1004; Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxx]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxi]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxii]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

Chapter Three. The Northern -To be Owned by the Stockers including 3 “wild and crazy guys” aka “My Three Sons”

                              Chapter Three.   

(updated April 3, 2018)

      The Northern -To be Owned by the Stockers….including 3 “wild and crazy guys” aka “My Three Sons!”

In 1903 the land where lot 27 of Block 3, of “Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite,” would be located was owned by pioneer, Helen J. Stewart.

That year she sold the land to U.S. Senator William A. Clark.  The Senator and the Union Pacific were building a railroad between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

The land then became jointly owned by Senator Clark and U.P.

In May of 1905, the railroad sold lot 27 of Block 3 in a land auction.    J. F. Dunn, Superintendent of the Oregon Short Line railroad, which is part of the Union Pacific system, bought the lot.

In turn the Salt Lake Brewing Company, in 1912, bought the lot from Dunn. The new owners built a two-story structure and named it the Northern Hotel and Bar.

The brewing company owned it for five years and then sold it to the Cullen Investment Company of Salt Lake City.

Cullen was owned by Fred and Nellie Leonard, who helped broker the original deal between the Dunn and the beer company.

Then on the 21st of October, 1921 Oscar C. Stocker bought the property.

Stocker paid $12,000 for the building and land.

In addition to the land and the building, the transfer deed also contained the language of the original railroad deed.   This would allow the owner to sale alcohol, if and when it became legal again.[i]

At the time, the 48-year-old Stocker was a brakeman on the Salt Lake Route railroad.

His wife was Mayme and they had three sons, Lester, Clarence and Harold.

A number of internet sites estimate $12,000 in 1921 is equal to more than $150,000 in 2018.

How Oscar was able to save up or where he got the money is still a question.

Lester had just gotten out of prison, Clarence had been working as a clerk in Los Angeles, and Harold said he had to take a job in 1919 in Las Vegas as a machinist; saying he needed money, “I had to eat.”

A simple mortgage arrangement with the Cullen Investment Company is possible, however, often those were part of the deed transfer.  In this case no mortgage is attached to the agreement.

While the sale was finalized in October of  1921, it is clear by late in 1920 members of the Stocker family were “proprietors” of the Northern.

From that point on, the Stockers would all play a significant role in the history of the Northern, Las Vegas, and the development of legal and illegal gambling for several decades.

Who were the Stockers?

Looking for every note that may turn into a nugget as to who and why the Stockers would turn out to be “colorful,” we found contradictions, interesting memories, and a series of facts that turned out to be fiction.

We start first with when the family arrived in Las Vegas.

That date is questioned by Stockers themselves.  It was either 1910 or 1911.


The heart of Las Vegas 1911 looking west from middle of 200 block of Fremont Street.

     Mayme Stocker said she and her family arrived in Las Vegas either late in 1911 or as her youngest son Harold, believes, 1910.

Harold would later be elected to the Clark County Commission.  His official biography on the county web site says “The Stocker family arrived in Las Vegas in October of 1911.”[ii]

Based on when the 1910 U.S. Census was taken, the Stocker family was in Los Angeles on April 16, that year. [iii]

In the census, Oscar is listed as a “switchman” on an unidentified railroad. Mayme, who listed her name on the census form as “Mamie V” did not list an occupation. [iv]

Her two oldest boys, 17 year old Lester Wellington Stocker, and 16 year old Clarence listed their occupation in 1910, as “messengers” for the “telegraph co.” [v]

Harold was listed as 8 years old and attending school.  Born on March 8, 1900, rather than 8, Harold would have been ten years old at the time.

Mrs. Stocker was 35-years-old when she said she arrived in Las Vegas for the first time.  She remembers it being May of 1911 and she was on her way to visit relatives in Butte, Montana.[vi]

She said, “I got off the train, along with a number of other passengers to see the town.  The heat together with an array of drab buildings and thick dust under foot, was not conducive to a good first impression.” [vii]

In the 1948 interview, Mrs. Stocker remembered said she told one of the other passengers at the time “Anyone who lives here is out of his mind.” [viii]

But, then she said, “I didn’t know then that I would return to Las Vegas before the year was out to make my home.” [ix]

Her husband Oscar worked for the Union Pacific railroad in Los Angeles.  Mrs. Stocker said her husband was transferred to Las Vegas late in 1911.  She added, “A few weeks following his arrival here, my three sons and I came to Las Vegas to live.”[x]

Harold Stocker was eighty-year-olds at the time of the interview and he remembered his family arrived in 1910.

Whether it was 1910 or late in1911 is important for a couple of reasons.   A labor dispute and school fire.

Las Vegas was the half way point between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.   The railroad line, the Salt Late Route, as it was called, was owned the Union Pacific Railroad, and former U.S. Senator from Montana, William Andrews Clark.

In 1911, the railroad had just finished building a massive large maintenance plant and complex for its trains in Las Vegas.

At the same time the railroad was building the maintenance complex, it was also building a large dormitory for the expected floor of workers.  In addition, the railroad was also building more than sixty homes for men with families.

The homes, now known as the “Railroad Cottages,” were for the skilled craftsmen, like the senior Stocker.

Several of the cottages have been preserved.  They were moved from downtown Las Vegas to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and to the Clark County Museum.

Post card from 1911 of the Railroad Cottages on south Third Street. 


If Stocker arrived in late 1911, he would have arrived in the middle of a labor dispute.  A strike for recognition of the railroad shop workers started at the end of September, 1911.[xi]

Did Stocker, a strong union man, arrive in Las Vegas in the middle of the 1911 labor dispute, or did he arrive a year earlier in 1910?

If he arrived in 1911, it would be at a moment where the community and the railroad were at odds, but hopeful the dispute would be short.

In a move that upset the town, the railroad kept all the non-striking workers within the yards, building a fence around the entire maintenance complex, including the railroad commissary.  The fences were topped with barb wire.

The men were housed and fed within the yards and were not allowed to go into town.

1911-1912.  The railroad put up the fence around the shops to keep people both in and out.            Author’s collection

   “Las Vegas was still very crude” when she arrived in 1911 Mrs. Stocker said, “there were no streets or sidewalks, and there were no flowers, lawns or trees.  One thing which impressed me was that all the homes were fenced.  Even the court house had a fence around it.” [xii]

As far as housing she and her three sons, “We stayed at the Las Vegas Hotel, the second story of the building now occupied by the Las Vegas Club, until the late Harley A. Harmon, who was then county clerk found housing for us.”[xiii]

In 1911 the Las Vegas Hotel-Club, was on the south side of Fremont, just a door down from where the Northern would be built in 1912.

(The Las Vegas Club decades later would move to the north side of Fremont Street.  I would occupy the Overland Hotel building, rebuilt in 1911, on the north east corner of Main and Fremont Streets.  Both were torn down and became a large hole in the ground in early 2018.)

In Las Vegas the first public sign the strike was informally over occurred on April 27, 1912.  The railroad announced effective May 1, it would no longer provide meals for their workers.

This was good news, according to the Las Vegas Age, “The commissary department at the shops will close,” and “the money which, since the beginning of the strike has been lost to the business of the city will again be thrown into the channels of trade greatly to the benefit of business in Vegas.”  [xiv]

Newspaper publisher Charles Squires, who generally sided with the railroad in labor disputes, ended his story with, “We join with the entire city in a feeling of thorough satisfaction at this action.”   [xv]

This all but ended the labor dispute in Las Vegas.

As the railroad hired replacement workers, the strike locally and nationally would soon fade, coming to a quiet end in a couple of years with the railroad recognizing the unions.

Another railroad strike would take place a decade later, and this time the Northern would play a major role.  This labor dispute would find the governor of Nevada in Las Vegas with a gun in his hand.

While Squires may have had a “feeling of through satisfaction” for the “entire city,” 1912 was a time of stress for the Stocker family.

Starting at the end of 1912, and ending eight years, based on a variety of public sources and interviews with the Stockers, the family would spent most of their time in southern California:  Los Angeles and San Pedro.

It is also likely during this period of time, in part due to the senior Stocker work with the railroad and his travel back and forth the family also maintained a home in Las Vegas.

The trigger to this temporary transition back to southern California was likely the arrest in Las Vegas of one of the Stocker boys.

A command appearance at the brand new Clark County Court House came shortly after the Stocker’s oldest son Lester arrived in Las Vegas.

The nineteen year old Stocker was arrested in September of 1912.

The Las Vegas Age reported a cigar store had been burglarized and “suspicion at once fell upon two loafers who have been hanging around the place.”   The ‘two loafer’ were identified as Patrick Murphy and a second person only identified as “a young blood named Stocker.”    [xvi]

The two were taken to the city jail, “on a charge of burglary in the first degree.”[xvii]

On November 16, still being held on the burglary charge, the “young blood named Lester” celebrated his 20th birthday.

The following week the Clark County Grand Jury met, heard the case against the two men and only indicted Murphy.

All charges were dropped against Stocker, and he moved to Los Angeles.

Lester’s next run in with the law would turn out differently.

Based on voter registration records, and telephone directories it appears that Clarence spent most of his time from 1913 to 1919, in southern California.

Lester spent the early part of the decade with his brothers in southern California, but a visit to Montana in 1916 would require him to spent the next 3 years in that state.

It is likely in 1913 Lester and Clarence were joined by Harold, and for a while their mother.  Harold said the move to Los Angeles was due to a fire at Las Vegas’ grammar school.

As a new building to house both grammar and high school students was being built in October of 1910, a fire hit the existing school at Second Street and Lewis Avenue. [xviii]

Stocker says his mother had just arrived in town.

Harold would later say, the two of them left Las Vegas, “When the school burned down, I had to go to Los Angeles to go to school.  We didn’t have a high school here.”   [xix]

The new school building, at 4th and Bridger admitted students for the first time in October of 1911.[xx]

Harold, didn’t go to Los Angeles after the fire, as he was one of the students at the new Las Vegas school.







A 1911 post card.  The new building was both a grammar and high school.

Harold was still in Las Vegas in the spring of 1912.

After his twelve birthday on March 8, he was put on the third grade Roll of Honor for being “neither absent nor tardy” and having “attained 80 percent cent in scholarship and department.”[xxi]

In 1913 Lester, and Clarence, along with their father were living at 1308 West 51st place in Los Angeles.  Clarence listed his occupation as a telephone operator.

At the time, Lester was unemployed, and their father was a switchman for the railroad.[xxii]

For the traveling public the railroad was called the “Salt Lake Route,” officially it was the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad.

Likely the next move was related to their fathers work with the railroad, The three men moved in 1914 to 1409 ½ East 20th Street in San Pedro, California. [xxiii]

At the time, both Clarence and Lester listing said they were working as “clerks,” and their father, as a “brakeman.”[xxiv]

In 1916 Clarence registered to vote in Los Angeles, listing his address as 1021 Hillvale Avenue.    In a different document, his brother Clarence is listed at five feet 4 inches tall, weight “approximately’ 130 pounds, with blue eyes.[xxv]

The next known public report shows Lester Stocker on his way to the Montana State Prison in August of 1916.

In the early summer of 1916 Lester was in Montana, he said he was only in the state “one week” before he got into trouble.   He was said he didn’t have a job he and was just “doing nothing.”

The “doing nothing”, according to the August 27, 1916 edition of the Great Falls Montana Daily Tribune, included the burglarizing of a jewelry store in Great Falls.

Stocker and an accomplice took “several pieces of valuable jewelry containing diamond settings.”


On August 31, 1916, in custody, Lester appeared before the judge at the County Court House in Great Falls, Montana.

When asked by the Judge how he pleaded to the charge of “Grand Larceny?’ Stocker said he didn’t have an attorney and pleaded guilty.

The judge sentenced him to serve to three and a half years in the Montana State Prison.

Lester told prison officials he was living with his brother at the Hillvale address in Los Angeles. [xxvi]

He also said  “V. Stocker,” his mother and his father “O. Stocker,” were living in Los Angeles in the fall of 1916.


September 1, 1916  the day Stocker arrived at the state prison in Deer Lodge, Montana.


Author’s collection


The youthful looking 23-year-old Stocker wrote on his prison registration he was only 21 years old and under occupation, wrote “none.”

The following June, still in prison,  he registered for the draft.  [xxvii]  The  registration records show Lester was of “Medium” height, “Medium” build, blue eyes and light colored hair.  To the right is Stocker after the barber provided him with a prison haircut.

After serving eighteen months, prison records show Stocker received his “Final Discharge” from the Montana State Prison on March 31,1919.

Within a few months of his release, the entire Stocker family would either be in Las Vegas or on their way.

Although Lester’s youngest brother would return to Las Vegas in 1920 an experienced gambler, it would be Lester who would become the first Stocker to get a gaming license in Nevada.

And sadly he would be the first one to die.

His brother Clarence also became familiar with the legal system. In the spring of 1917, Clarence was arrested at a “dance hall” in Los Angeles.

In court, “several witnesses testified that he ws under the influence of liquor and staggered, but Mr. Stocker said that was because he did not dance well.”

He was arrested by a “special officer” of the Los Angeles Police Department and “booked as a vagrant.”[xxviii]

The vagrancy charge was dropped, and Stocker took the officer to court asking for $15,000 in damages for false arrest. [xxix]

The former special officer, now working for the railroad as a fireman, claimed he knew Stocker.  He said Stocker had “associated with criminals.” [xxx]

Los Angeles Times April 10, 1917

The judge ruled in Stocker’s favor say a person may not be arrested on “the ground the person formerly consorted with criminals.” [xxxi]

The judge only awarded Stocker $50 saying the “judgement would have been for a large amount if greater damages had been shown.” [xxxii]

The third and youngest brother, Harold, says after moving back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas.  He attended school, and while in high school  he became the family’s expert on gambling.

Over the years, Harold Stocker was interviewed by several journalists including A.D. Hopkins, as well as late UNLV History Professor Ralph Roske.

From those interviews the following is pieced together. Harold’s story didn’t change over the years, it just grew.[xxxiii]

Harold said he started going to the U.S. Mexico border towns  including  Calexico and  Tijuana starting in 1915; “I was fifteen-year-old, I used to work every summer.  I was big husky, weighted 200 pounds you known, played freshman football.   I was working in a studio in Los Angeles, when I was a kid, and (in audio, sounds like he says Tom Mix) this movie director (also later Harold says it was a “producer”) took a liking to me and would take me down to the border.”

Stocker says he met members of the A.B.W. Combination, which operated the Owl Club.  Stocker said he knew a member of the ‘Combination,’ “Carl Withington, who used to be from up around Bakersfield.”

At first, the teenager Stocker said ,”I got a job racking chips at a roulette wheel.  That was the game that had the most play in those days.  That and 21 which we dealt with gold coins and big pesos.”


As far as a teenager working in Mexican casinos, Stocker said “It wasn’t illegal, there was no regulation there at all.”

“Being down there” Stocker said he “met a lot of people around the track and those kind of places you know and ah you naturally would pick up things.  You are down there two or three months at a time, my mother was in Los Angeles.”

In addition to helping around the casinos, Stocker said they would “stake me at a card game at the hotel.  Sometimes I win thousand, two thousand.  For a 15 year old kid that’s a lot of money.”

It was now 1917, on April 16, the United States had formally joined the war in Europe.

Stocker recalled one tripe to Mexico, it was in the summer of 1917 his Hollywood friend “staked me to $500 to play in a “21” game while he went over and played Pan. “

 Images of Mexican clubs from Author’s collection.

Stocker said, playing blackjack,  “I’d bet $5, which was the minimum until I had a hand, and then I’d bet $100.  And if I lost, I’d go back to $5.  When the summer was over my cut was $6,000.  A lot of money for a 17 year old.”

When Stocker turned eighteen in March of 1918 he would soon begin his last summer working in Mexican casinos.

When he returned to school in the fall of 1918, he said he volunteered for the “Student Army Training Corp.” 

Designed for university students to be trained as Army officers, Stocker said he was able to join in September of 1918.

Shortly afterwards he said his “unit was pulled out of school for active duty in costal defense at Fort MacArthur at San Pedro.”

Weeks later on November 11, 1918 World War One officially ended.  Stocker would says years later he thought  World War One was just “nonsense.”

“I was only in” the S.A. T.C. for a short time he said, “September to December of 1918.  Then the flu bug came along and closed all the schools. I never did finish high school.  Then I came back to Las Vegas in 1919 and went to work in the railroad shops as a machinist.”

Harold said he needed the job, “I needed to eat.”

It is clear that Oscar and Mayme were already in Las Vegas.  Oscar was still working for the railroad.

With Lester either in prison or just getting out in 1919, where Clarence was is not known, but by the end of the year they were in Las Vegas selling cigars.

The U.S. Census, conducted at the end of January, 1920 shows the entire family in Las Vegas. [xxxiv]

Interesting, the federal census enumerator was James Germain who at the time also held the gaming license at the Northern.

Oscar listed his occupation as a “brakeman” with the railroad, which would be the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, also known as the “Salt Lake Route.” [xxxv]

When it came to Mayme “none” is listed under occupation. [xxxvi]   Under the 1920 Census guidelines given to Germain rule 158 says, “in the case of a woman doing housework in her own home and having no other employment the entry should be none.”

Both Clarence and Lester listed their “occupation” as “salesman” in a “cigar store.” [xxxvii]

Harold, like his father was employed at the rail yards.  He was listed as a “Machinist Helper.” [xxxviii]

Within months of the census, the Stockers would begin first as proprietors , and then as owners of the Northern Hotel and Club.

Nearly three decades after the sale, Clarence would state it was the three brothers who originally bought the place in 1920.

This would be echoed by Harold who said they re-opened the hotel and named it the Northern on September 5, 1920.

Officially, the deed on file with the Clark County Recorder puts the year of purchase as 1921 and the father as the owner.

Another element of the sale stuck in Clarence’s mind for decades. Stocker was required to purchase of all the furniture in the building for $2,500.  This brought the total cost to $14,500.  [xxxix]

This is likely the furniture Groesbeck bought new eight years earlier.

Once the Stockers were able to examine in detail all the furniture, it was “in such a deplorable condition that most of it was hauled into the desert and dumped.”[xl]

At the time the Stockers took ownership of the Northern the social and economic order in Las Vegas began to dramatically shift.

And, the Mr. and Mrs. Stockers  and their three sons were a major part of the “Roaring Twenty’s” in Las Vegas.

   Coming up in part four,  Part four The Northern becomes “A Strike Headquarters” for a massive nationwide railroad dispute  and the oldest of of “My Three Sons” gets the families first gambling license.

[i] “Deeds,” Clark County, Nevada Recorder’s office, October 21, 1921, Book Eight, Page 565.


[iii]  1910, Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Los Angeles, California; Roll T624_81; Page; 2B; Enumeration District 😉 143;FHL, microfilm: 1374094.

[iv]  1910, Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Los Angeles, California; Roll T624_81; Page; 2B; Enumeration District 😉 143;FHL, microfilm: 1374094.

[v]  1910, Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Los Angeles, California; Roll T624_81; Page; 2B; Enumeration District;) 143;FHL, microfilm: 1374094.

[vi]  “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal 7 Age, Section B, page 8.

[vii]  “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal 7 Age, Section B, page 8.

[viii]  “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal 7 Age, Section B, page 8.

[ix]  “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal 7 Age, Section B, page 8.

[x]  “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal 7 Age, Section B, page 8.

[xi]  “Great Strike Is Now On,” September 30, 1911, Las Vegas Age, Page one.

[xii] “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal & Age, Page 8B.

[xiii] “Woman of the Week,” August 15, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal & Age, Page 8B.

[xiv]  “Commissary Closed,” April 27, 1912, Las Vegas Age, Page one.

[xv]  “Commissary Closed,” April 27, 1912, Las Vegas Age, Page one.

[xvi]  “Tap Hick’s Til,” September14, 1912, Las Vegas Age, page five.

[xvii]  “Tap Hick’s Til,” September14, 1912, Las Vegas Age, page five.

[xviii] “Incendiary,” October 29, 1810, Las Vegas Age, page four.

[xix] “Stocker, Harold.  Interview, 1971, November 30. OH-01773. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.”

[xx] “History of Clark County Schools,” by Harvey N. Dondero, compiled and edited by Billie F. Shank, 1986, Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada, page 25.

[xxi]  “Roll of Honor,” April 6, 1912, Las Vegas Age, page five.

[xxii]  “Los Angeles City Directory, Stocker, 1913, Los Angeles, California, page 1814.

[xxiii]  “Los Angles City Directory, Stocker, 1914, Los Angeles, California, page 2113.

[xxiv]  “Los Angles City Directory, Stocker, 1914, Los Angeles, California, page 2113.

[xxv]  World War Two registration card, April 26, 1942, Clarence Clifton Stocker, back of card.

[xxvi]  “Registration Card, Lester Wellington Stocker,” June 5, 1917, World War One Registration form, number 4405, pages 1 and 2.

[xxvii]  “Registration Card, Lester Wellington Stocker,” June 5, 1917, World War One Registration form, number 4405, pages 1 and 2.

[xxviii]  “Rules for Police Conduct Outlined,” April 10, 1917, Los Angeles Times, Section II, page five.

[xxix]  “Rules for Police Conduct Outlined,” April 10, 1917, Los Angeles Times, Section II, page five.

[xxx]  “Rules for Police Conduct Outlined,” April 10, 1917, Los Angeles Times, Section II, page five.

[xxxi]  “Rules for Police Conduct Outlined,” April 10, 1917, Los Angeles Times, Section II, page five.

[xxxii]  “Rules for Police Conduct Outlined,” April 10, 1917, Los Angeles Times, Section II, page five.

[xxxiii]  “Adventures in the bootleg business,” by A.D. Hopkins, January 4, 1918, Nevadan-Las Vegas Review-Journal page 26J,   The following are from the “Stocker Family Papers, ID MS-00154 at UNLV Special collections and Archives; “The Day the Strip Was Born,” by Jim Seagraves, August, 1980, Clipping from magazine,  UNLV Special Collection, Stocker Collection and Archives, “Stocker, Harold,”  A. Kepper, March 13, 1918, two page set of notes, UNLV Special Collections and Archives. Stocker Collection. “Stocker, Harold.  Interview, 1971 November 30. OH-01773. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

[xxxiv]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll: T625_1004; Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxv]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll: T625_1004; Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxvi]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxvii]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxviii]  1920, United States Federal Census, Place, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, Roll:T625_1004;Page 23A; Enumeration District:3 .

[xxxix]  “Poker, Whist, Bridge Only Games Allowed in 1st Gambling Club,” My 16, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal & Age, page 4 B.

[xl]  “Poker, Whist, Bridge Only Games Allowed in 1st Gambling Club,” My 16, 1948, Las Vegas Review-Journal & Age, page 4 B.

Chapter Two The first Neon signs of Las Vegas 1928-1929 – Oasis Cafe Not First Neon Sign in Las Vegas!

(updated march 1, 2018)

(all of the images are from the author’s collection)

Since posting The Overland Hotel had the first Neon sign in Las Vegas, several gentle folks have suggested it was the Oasis Café in 1927.

Started researching the first Neon signs in Las Vegas several years ago and kept running into the following statements about the Oasis and the Las Vegas Club.

Although hoping to find the café in question had a Neon sign in Las Vegas in 1927, to date have not found a primary source to back up that often asserted  ‘fact!’

a couple of bits of information.

1911 Oasis Opens

April 1, 1911, Page eight, Las Vegas Age  “An Oasis in Las Vegas.”  “Mr. and Mrs. G. H. French have opened a new confectionery store next to the Age office, to be called the “Oasis Candy Store.”  All kinds of home-made candies are kept in stock as well as the factory built article.  Later in the season a soda fountain wall be installed and ice cream will be served.  it is also probably that a shady bower will be made by means of vines where cooling refreshments may be served in the open air.”

1924 Oasis Moves

On April 5, 1924, the Las Vegas Age ran a one paragraph story on page six titled, “NEW OASIS A GEM.”  The story said, “The Oasis is now fairly settled in its handsome new quarters in the Martin-Ferron building.  the new store is a gem and will be much appreciated by the public.”

Pre-Neon Oasis sign – late 1920’s early 1930s’

and, while the Oasis initially was a confectionery store with “candy & soda”  the light sign hanging from the main sign provides a look at its future as a restaurant.  At this point it only serves “EATS.”

Sounds funny as a noun, EATS rather than a verb.  In this case it must mean sandwiches or maybe fruits, or pastry, donuts .  With that, looking for other Las Vegas “EATS” signs, as well as the one word circular signs with a cover.

Pre Neon Oasis Cafe sign.  The post card printers code, lower right, 1A1840 indicates the post card was printed late in 1931.   

Note the first Boulder Club Neon sign on right side.

     The statements about the Oasis Cafe having the first Neon sign are found on sites focused on Las Vegas, its history, and are clearly are sites where the creators and reporters, and universities involved have a respect and care regarding an accurate accounting of the history of the community.

BUT!   We have the many statement regarding the Oasis Café being the first to have a Neon sign in Las Vegas.  Two days for the first are offered, 1927 and 1929.

A second Neon story circulated that, at this point, has not basis in fact; the Las Vegas Club, in 1931 was the first hotel-casino to have a Neon sign.

Here are a few of the many statemtns, starting off with at a, quote “the city’s first neon sign at the Oasis Cafe in 1929, the opening of a branch office of the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) in Las Vegas in 1933.”

Here are a few more;

  • “Las Vegas’ first neon sign, designating the Oasis Cafe on Fremont Street, appeared in 1929. The town embraced the technology and turned it into an art form. “
  • “Here’s a little known fact about the Las Vegas Club: In 1931 they installed the first neon sign on a hotel casino and the second neon sign in the Las Vegas (the first Las Vegas neon sign was in 1927 at the Oasis Restaurant).”
  • “The first Las Vegas installation of neon signage was in 1927 at the Oasis Restaurant. Downtown Las Vegas from Fremont and Second Street. “
  • “The Oasis Café sign was the first neon sign in Las Vegas built in 1929 followed by the Las Vegas Club sign in 1930.”
  • “The first Las Vegas installation of neon signage was in 1927 at the Oasis Restaurant.”
  • “Neon signs, introduced in Las Vegas in 1929 at the Oasis Café on Fremont Street, enjoyed their heyday between the 1930s – 1980s.”

All of the above are from different sites, and there are many, many more.

First let’s deal with the Las Vegas Club – “First Neon sign on a hotel-casino.”

The Northern Hotel and Club had its neon sign up in 1929, when gambling on card games and some slot machines were legal.   When additional gambling was legalized in 1931, the Northern was issued gaming license number one.   At the time the Las Vegas Club’s hotel, like the Northern was just wasn’t much of a hotel.  The only reason the two club’s originally opened with a hotel on the second floor was it gave them the legal ability to sell alcohol.  No hotel, no alcohol, as legal place, according to deed restrictions, to just retail alcohol “saloons” was on Block 16, the 200 block of north First.   Unless there is something else added to the Las Vegas Club’s sign defintion to make it ‘first,’  it wasn’t the first.

Oasis Cafe Business card.

Second, the Oasis Cafe.  While it had a great address  123 Fremont Street, not sure how or when the Oasis Café was originally given the title of ‘first neon sign,’ in Las Vegas  both in 1927 and  1929.

So far, only able to find this article about Neon at the Oasis in the April 28, 1932 issue of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The front page has a story titled “Neon Sign Being Placed at Oasis.”  The newspaper says “a truckload of Neon signs, to be placed on various establishments in Las Vegas arrived here this morning and were in the process of installation this afternoon.  Among the sings was a large 10 foot by six foot sign for the Oasis Confectionery store.”

Early 1930’s Post Card.

The café was owned by E.P. Bihlmaier.  The newspaper story went on to describe the sign; “There is a palm tree, outlined with Neon tubing and a Neoned “Oasis Café” in the center of the sign.”

Bihlmaier told the reporter “tubing” would also be placed in the window, providing his café with a “Neoned Front.”[i]

A month earlier Thomas Young opened a temporary office in the brand new Apache Hotel located across the street from Bihlmaier’s café.  One building, just west of the Apache Hotel, on the same side of the Street was the Boulder Club, it was in need of a new Neon sign.  It first was installed three years earlier.  Young convinced both the owners of the Oasis and the Boulder Club they needed Neon.[ii]

Unless there is a primary source for the Oasis Café having a Neon sign in 1927,  The Overland Hotel’s Neon sign, the week of September 28, 1928 stands as the first Neon sign in Las Vegas.

Currently working on part two of the first Neon sign, 1928-1929 in Las Vegas at aka aka aka

[i] “Neon Sign Being Placed at Oasis,” April 28, 1932, Las Vegas Review-Journal, page one.

[ii] Display advertisement, Young Electric Sign Company, March 29, 1932, Las Vegas Review-Journal, page six, “A Legacy of Light, The History of Young Electric Sign Company,” 1995, Designed and written by Barbara Barell, printed by Paragon Press, Inc., page twenty-nine.


 Neon  in  Las Vegas    1928 to 1930,    the First 14 months.

(Updated March 29, 2019)

Preface. In 2011, Dorothy Wright and I were serving on the City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission.   Dorothy, who fought for years to preserve the history of Las Vegas including Neon signs, was working on a book on the topic.

In researching early aviation history in Las Vegas I bumped into a small newspaper article about a Neon sign.   I mentioned it to Dorothy and she asked for the clipping.

The reference is found on page eighteen of the book “Spectacular, A History of Las Vegas Neon,” written by Dorothy, Melissa Johnson and Carrie Schomig.

They write, “The Overland was, if not the first, certainly one of the first neon signs in Las Vegas.”   The same paragraph provides a brief look at signs in the late 1920’s before moving on the 1930’s.

Our focus starts in September of 1928, and ends in December of 1929.  During this brief period Las Vegas would see the first glow of a Neon sign, as well as the beginning of the battles over whose Neon display was bigger and brighter.

Additional research reveals the Neon sign on the Overland Hotel was in fact the first, and ten more followed by the end of 1929.

(All the images in this story are from the author’s collection)


Las Vegas in the winter of 1928 was weeks away from becoming known around the world.

At the moment, however, all was unusually quiet in the normally wide-open desert out-post.

The prohibition against the sale of alcohol in the United States was still the law, and in Nevada most forms of gambling were also illegal.

But since its founding in 1905, law enforcement in the areas of liquor, gambling and prostitution was done with a wink and a nod.

However, starting in the middle of 1928 through early 1929, a heavy lid was placed on illegal gambling and the sale of alcohol.

The “King of the Las Vegas Underworld,” was in jail, the Las Vegas Chief of Police had resigned in disgrace, and the Mayor was about to be busted by federal agents, and face a recall for crimes related to the other two men.

ca. 1928 Post card of Fremont Street looking west.

For most Las Vegans, despite the cool winter days, and the government scandals, a bright future was in the air.

After nearly a decade of debate the United States Congress appeared ready to approve a bill to build a massive dam across the Colorado River, not far from Las Vegas.

On December 18, following a 166 to 122 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives  the legislation was sent to President Calvin Coolidge.

Seventy-two hours later, the President signed the Boulder Canyon Dam bill.

In a story sent nationwide by the Associated Press wire service, “shot-guns and frying pans were pressed into service as noise makers” in Las Vegas “by a joy-mad populace that turned out to celebrate.”[i]

Not only were “joy-mad” locals excited, so were, and using the broadest definition of the word possible, ‘entrepreneurs,’ who saw the light at the northern edge of the Mojave desert.

They were all on their way.  Real estate speculators, business owners, construction workers, and those who saw the empty shoes of the King of the Las Vegas underworld as an opportunity.

Clark County Sheriff Sam Gay received a letter from a company saying, “When Boulder Dam is built, you’ll need a bigger jail, let us build it for you.”

Las Vegans who had been living with the ups and downs of dam possibility, began feeling in early the year the project would get the green light.

Ethel Guenter was the owner of The Overland, one of the two large hotels in Las Vegas. [ii]

Late in August of 1928 she felt it was time to improve the marketing of the Overland.  One of Guenter’s answers included the word Neon.

The hotel was in a prime spot located on the north east corner of Main and Fremont.  On the other side of Main was the Union Pacific Railroad passenger depot.

However, across Fremont Street, on the south west corner was the Guenther main competition, the Hotel Nevada, now the Golden Gate Hotel.

Of the two, the Nevada was a bit more upscale.

The Overland catered to the bus travelers, as well business traveler.  The hotel had a “Large Free Sample Room” where salesmen could display their wares.

There were no companies in Las Vegas in the fall of 1928 that provided signs with tubes filled with the rare-earth gas Neon.

Either Guenther saw an advertisement in a Salt Lake City, or Los Angeles newspaper, or  she ordered it from a traveling sign salesman, in either case in August an order for a Neon sign was placed.

A month later, the following story appeared on front page one of the September 28th Las Vegas Review newspaper.[iii]

The double sided sign contained the words “OVERLAND HOTEL.”  But only the “HOTEL” was fashioned out of tubes filled with Neon.

It is not known if the word  “HOTEL” flashed on and off, or the color. Likely tubes likely glowed a reddish-orange, the natural color of Neon

What is known is the sign, with the eight to 10 inches tall Neon letters, left an impression on the reporter who wrote the sign adds “considerable to the appearance of that section of the city.[iv]

The new neon sign hung down from a pole extended from the corner of the hotel horizontally over the sidewalk.

A review of the cities other newspaper, the Las Vegas Age, published by Charles and Delphine  Squires, for the months of September and October, 1928, revealed no reference to Neon, or the new sign at the Overland Hotel.

Therefore, the title of “First Neon Sign” in Las Vegas award goes to

the Overland Hotel, September 28, 1928.


Pause for a moment with a However!

There is a ‘however’ to this historical award.  It comes from  newspaperman  Squires who arrived in Las Vegas in 1905.

In 1948 Squires said he believed the first Las Vegas Neon sign was installed “about 1928.” [v]

He thought the first Neon sign that went up was installed on the southwest corner of Second and Fremont, where the Golden Nugget is now located.

Squires said there was “a cigar store operated by Jimmie Powers and Bob Griffith.”

It was the Mission Cigar Store.  And according to Squires “there the first Neon sign in Las Vegas blossomed out with the one word, “Cigars” standing out from the building about four and one-half feet in length.”[vi]

Likely Squires kept track of stories in his own newspaper and not that of his rival the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Squires remember what he printed, in the summer of 1929, but it was a good six months after the Overland Hotel’s sign went up.


A photograph, ca 1930,  of the corner reveals the letters in the sign were all upper case;“CIGARS”

Squires added, the Neon sign created “quite a blaze of light for the little town and we all figured they would have to sell a lot of cigars to pay for it.” [vii]

He said the second Neon sign in Las Vegas was “a small one on the M. W. Davis Jewelry store which read simply “Jewelry.” [viii]

Squires “small” description may have been based on a comparison of the 1929 Davis sign to the much larger Neon signs along Fremont Street when he made his comments in 1948.

After Cigar and Jeweler  Squires said “there was a fever of Neon signs, each one larger and more artistic, beautiful and brilliant that its predecessor.” [ix]

There is a however,’ to the Squires ‘however.’
In early April, 1929, Alexander Barrett, described at the time as a “neon expert” and his partners opened the Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Company.

Nine months later, on January 1, 1930, the company advertised it had created several of the Neon signs in town.  On the list of signs, The Mission Cigar Store and M. W. Davis Jeweler Company.[x]

If the Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Company didn’t open its doors until the spring of 1929, the cigar sign, while early, was not the first.

Nor was the jewelry sign in the window of Davis’ shop the first.  After the sign company opened, Davis became a part owner.

Las Vegas Age December 31, 1929


In a 1953 article Squires wrote, “The first neon sign I remember in Las Vegas was placed over the door of the Kiva Club in the old building, corner of Second and Fremont, where the Golden Nugget now blazes.  It said “KIVA” in red letters about three inches high and REALLY WAS A NEW WONDER IN Las Vegas.”   [xi]

The two signs, Mission Cigar, and the Kiva night club were in the same spot.  Kiva replaced cigar.

Squires added, “Jack Young thinks there were other small neon signs here prior to that one, but I remember only the “KIVA.” [xii]

Young, of the pioneering Neon sign company, Young Electric, was partially correct, there were signs prior to the KIVA, but they were not “small.”

The two ‘howevers’ do not hold up to additional research.

The award for having the “First Neon Sign in Las Vegas” rest firmly with the historic Overland Hotel, which was still under the facade and previous remodels of the Las Vegas Club until it was torn down this year.


The sign would only be up for a couple of years.   Its life expectancy was reduced when the city starting  adding ornate street lights to Fremont Street in October of 1929.

Also note the ladder and the ornamental wrought iron fencing being covered or replaced.

When the light pole was installed, the first Neon side was moved to the Fremont Street side of the hotel

Finally, the sign was removed, along with the trees and replaced with two larger Neon signs.  One on the Main Street side and a second large sign on the Fremont Street side.


Up to the mid 1920’s the primary source of transportation in and out of Las Vegas was the Union Pacific Railroad.

Starting in the mid teens, work began to improve the roads between Utah and California.  Until the early 1920’s the roads were a small step above trails.

Then in 1926, the federal government created U.S. Highway 91 and bus travel became part of the transportation options, in and out of Las Vegas.

Coming in from southern California, through Nevada and into Utah the highway was paved.   Paved in terms of the 1920’s definition; leveled, add oil, add gravel, and oil again.

Driving into Las Vegas from Los Angeles highway heading south on 5th Street, (Now Las Vegas Boulevard) then a zig-zag west on Fremont Street to Main Street and turn north to Salt Lake City; 5th, Fremont, Main Streets, all U.S. Highway 91.

A wide shot of Fremont Street showing three of the 4 first Neon signs in Las Vegas as well as a U.S. Highway 91 sign. ca. 1930

By the late 1920’s thousands of cars a year traveled the highway through Las Vegas.

Several clubs and so-call soft drink emporiums were operating on the first two blocks of Fremont.

The two main operations where you could have a ‘drink’ and gamble legally at poker, and pull a few slot machine handles, were the Northern and the Las Vegas Clubs.

               Based on the automobile’s  license plate,  this is Northern Hotel Sign                       in early 1929.  

With the dam legislation approved new business were moving in and in many cases proving competition to existing operators, including the gaming clubs.

A couple of clubs would be built out past the city limits on U.S. 91.  The first in 1929 would be the Red Rooster, followed by the Pair O’ Dice.

Another early riser was Prosper J. Goumond, and his crew of experienced gamblers from Ely.   In late spring of 1929 they moved to Las Vegas bought the lot at 118 Fremont and built the Boulder Club.

Just before Goumond arrived, two Neon sign companies opened for business in the city.  With his arrival, the summer and fall of 1929 would mark the beginning of the Las Vegas Neon wars.

The first known neon sign company in the Las Vegas opened in February of 1929, as the Boski Electric Company.   When its owner Earl K. Bruce convinced his two brothers to join him, the name quickly changed to the Bruce Brothers electric company; “live wire electricians.”[xiii]

Then the brothers cut a deal with the largest Neon firm in the world, Claude Neon Signs. [xiv]

 The Claude Neon sign company was owned by Georges Claude, a French inventor.   Claude was a pioneer in the development of neon lighting.  He would patent his inventions in the U.S. and fought many court battles to preserve his ideas.

Claude is considered to be the first person “to apply an electrical discharge to a. sealed tube with neon as the gas creating the first neon lamp.” [xv]

The same day the Bruce Brothers announced their deal with Claude  the Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Company opened its doors.

Barrett and his partners said they were “here to stay and will handle work on signs of any size or class” as well as “providing servicing after the installation,”

The company opened its shop at 18 Bridger Street with what the partnership called “full equipment.” [xvii]

Bruce Brothers and Las Vegas Neon would become part of Las Vegas’ first battle of the Neon signs.

The fight would start with ‘my sign is larger than your sign,’ and over the years would develop into an artistic, and technological marketing game of who can attract the most attention.

Downtown Las Vegas would combine its Neon and western theme and become known in the 1940’s as “Glitter Gulch.”

Looking west at the tree-lined third street of Fremont with railroad depot on background,   the Golden Hotel in early 1929 before its Neon sign was installed. 

The Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Company on the night of April 29, 1929, finished its first major installation at the Hotel Golden. [xviii]

 The hotel, owned by Mrs. Thomas R. Hodgens, was located at 323 Fremont on the south side at the corner of 4th and Fremont.

Beyond the fact that it was described as an eight foot long Neon sign, no images or other details of the sign have been uncovered.

The story announcing the installation included the following sentence, “When the eight foot long sign was turned on, Mrs. Hodges expressed pride in ownership of one of the state of the art electric signs.” [xix]

While Las Vegas Neon was working on the Hotel Golden sign, the Bruce Brothers were working on an even bigger sign for the Boulder Club. [xx]

This early 1931 post card shows the sign was painted green.  And while artists at the post card printing plant often made their own artistic decisions, they were provided with color details by the company ordering the post cards.  In this case it was William Ferron or his staff.  He owned  drugs stores in Las Vegas and at the time was the largest post card publisher in southern Nevada.

Since the new club was in the middle of the business district Goumond decided he needed a sign that could be seen at the railroad depot, and drivers traveling on U.S. 91.

 Opened on Saturday night of July 27, 1929, with gaming tables on the west side of the long two-story building and the bar and a few “nickel-in-the-slot-machines” on the east side, Goumond called his place, “Nevada’s Finest Men’s Club.”

His advertisements would not mention gambling, as that was covered in the word “Club.”   Goumond did point to his “Soda Fountain, Sandwiches, Candies, Cigars, Cigarettes, and Tobaccos.”  [xxi]

On opening day, the Las Vegas Age promoted the Boulder Club saying the new business was “crowned with its great twelve-foot Neon sign.[xxii]

The Boulder Club’s sign was four feet longer then the Hotel Golden’s 8-foot sign two blocks east.



The vertical double sided sign on the Boulder Club extended out from the top of the second floor up past the roof line.

And for with sharp eyes,  at the bottom of the photograph is the “Louis Wiener” clothing store.

The Wiener’s son, Lou would go on to become a famous Las Vegas attorney.







The original sign was still up when this photograph was taken in late August, 1931.  It provides the detail of where and how the Boulder Club Neon sign was installed.

As the Bruce Brothers were assembling and installing the Boulder Club sign, Barrett’s Las Vegas Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Company had secured a contract from the Northern Club.

Owned by the Stocker family the Northern Hotel and Club, located at 15 Fremont Street, wanted the largest Neon sign in town.[xxiii]

The need for space to build the large Northern sign required the company to move from its Bridger Street location to Third and Carson.  Two weeks after the Boulder Club sign began to glow, the Las Vegas Neon company owners said they were working on a “big new sign for the Northern Club.” [xxiv]  The announcement said the sign was “almost finished and ready for erection.” [xxv]

The Las Vegas Age reported in its Saturday, August 24, 1929 edition, “The new sixteen-foot neon electric sign at the Northern Club will be flashing tonight, according to Barrett and Clout, builders of the sign.  It is the largest neon sign in the city and will flash the word “The” and then “Northern Club.”

This ca 1930 view, shows the east side of the two side sign.

Once again, the Neon colors were not mentioned.

From the photographs it appears the sign was painted white or a yellow.




Two months later, in October without the “THE” an advertisement appeared in the Las Vegas Age with a graphic of the Stocker’s new sign.

   The one time ad was an unusual move for the Stockers who didn’t regularly use the local newspapers to promote their club.






While it would be the fourth Neon sign to light up Fremont Street, for a while, it would be the tallest and the flashiest.

This late 1929, early 1930 post card shows the Northern’s first neon sign, as well as being the site for another city light pole.

It appears the only Neon sign the Bruce Brothers installed in 1929 was at the Boulder Club.   Over the next couple of years the company would change management and focus on electrical work.  That would change after meeting Thomas Young.

At the end of 1929, the Las Vegas Neon Sign Company had built and installed Neon signs at the Golden Hotel,  Gateway Hotel, Northern Club,   M. W. Davis Jeweler, Beckley’s, Professional Pharmacy, and the Mission Cigar Store.

The sign company also said they were the “contractors for the new Las Vegas High School electrical wiring” system.  [xxvi]

Gateway Hotel and Main and Stewart Streets

The battle over the biggest and brightest Neon sign would continue into the 1930’s.

With gambling legalized in 1931 and clubs opening up and down Fremont, new hotels being built and with the construction of the dam well underway 1932 would become a milestone in the history of Neon in Las Vegas.

At some point before May 1, 1932, the Bruce Brothers Electric Company became the simply the “Nevada Electric Company,” with A. M. Bruce as the Manager. [xxvii]

In March of 1932, Thomas Young, of the Young Electric Sign Company set up an office in the brand new Apache Hotel at Second and Fremont Streets.

Young said at the time,  he was “pleased to announce our entering Las Vegas.”   [xxviii]

As part of the initial business plan, Young also said he was working directly with the Nevada Electric Company. [xxix]

Young’s Neon work continues to glow at

Looking for early Neon sign images along Fremont Street, we began to notice as Neon arrived, the trees began to disappear.

        Until a Neon sign is found in Las Vegas before September 28, 1928, the Overland Hotel holds the honor of having the first Neon sign in Las Vegas.

Here is a list of the first eleven known Neon signs in Las Vegas  1928-1929 and when each sign began to glow.

  1. Overland Hotel, week of September 28, 1928.
  2. Golden Hotel, April 29, 1929.
  3. Boulder Club, July 27, 1929.
  4. Northern Club, August, 24, 1929.
  5. W. Davis Jeweler, Summer-Fall, 1929.
  6. Mission Cigar, Fall, 1928.
  7. La Salle, after August 24, 1929.
  8. Oak Hotel, after August 24, 1929
  9. Gateway Hotel, Fall, 1929.
  10. Professional Pharmacy, Fall, 1929.
  11. Beckley’s Department Store, October 4,  1929

[i] “Celebration at Las Vegas, Nev.” December 21, 1928, Associated Press.

[ii] “New Management for Overland Hotel,” February 10, 1928, Las Vegas Age, page two.

[iii]  The newspaper would be the Las Vegas Review, until took over the “Las Vegas Journal” in July of 1929 to become the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

[iv] “Hotel has New Sign,” September 28, 1928, Las Vegas Review, Page one.

[v]  “New Motel Elwell” by Charles P. Squires, January 25, 1948, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal & Age, page 12B.

[vi]  “New Motel Elwell” by Charles P. Squires, January 25, 1948, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal & Age, page 12B.

[vii]  “New Motel Elwell” by Charles P. Squires, January 25, 1948, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal & Age, page 12B.

[viii]  “New Motel Elwell” by Charles P. Squires, January 25, 1948, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal & Age, page 12B.

[ix]  “New Motel Elwell” by Charles P. Squires, January 25, 1948, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal & Age, page 12B.

[x]  “Las Vegas Neon Electric Sign Co.” display advertisement, January 1, 1930, Las Vegas Review Journal, page four.

[xi] “Observations,” by Charles P. “Pop” Squires, September 12, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas magazine, Page 25.

[xii] “Observations,” by Charles P. “Pop” Squires, September 12, 1953, Fabulous Las Vegas magazine, Page 25.

[xiii]  “Boski Electric Opens Temporary Quarters,” February 26, 1929, Las Vegas Age, Page two. “Electric Firm Has Two new Members,” March 5, 1929, Las Vegas Age, page one.

[xiv]  “Neon Signs Have Agents in Vegas,” April 5, 1929, Las Vegas Review Journal, page one.


[xvi] 1930 United States Federal Census, Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada,  National archives and records administration, , T626.

[xvii]  “Hotel Golden’ s New Neon Sign Installed,” April 30, 1929, Las Vegas Age, Page one

[xviii]  “Hotel Golden’ s New Neon Sign Installed,” April 30, 1929, Las Vegas Age, Page one

[xix]  “Hotel Golden’ s New Neon Sign Installed,” April 30, 1929, Las Vegas Age, Page one

[xx]  “Boulder Club Holds Grand Opening T’Day,” July 27, 1929, Las Vegas Age, page one.

[xxi]  Display advertisement, Boulder Club, July 27, 192, Las Vegas Review, page three.

[xxii]  “Boulder Club Holds Grand Opening T’Day,” July 27, 1929, Las Vegas Age, page one.

[xxiii]  “New Northern Club neon Sign Completed,” August 24, 1929, Las Vegas Age, Page three.

[xxiv] “Neon Sign Company is now in New Location,” August 13, 1929, Las Vegas Age, page three.

[xxv] “Neon Sign Company is now in New Location,” August 13, 1929, Las Vegas Age, page three.

[xxvi]  “New Northern Club Neon Sign Completed,” August 24, 1939, Las Vegas Age, page three.

[xxvii] “Electric Company, Inc.,” display advertisement, May 1, 1932, Las Vegas Age, Page two.

[xxviii]  “Young Electric Sign Company,” display advertisement, March 29, 1932, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page six.

[xxix]  “Young Electric Sign Company,” display advertisement, March 29, 1932, Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, page six.