The Rise and Fall of Jay’s Cottages in Elko, Nevada and two linen post cards

 

 “Jay’s Cottages,” located at 1313 Idaho Street, Elko, Nevada

Two linen post cards

& a couple of chromes

By Bob Stoldal

Updated March 9, 2019

Starting with a service station in 1925, Jacinto “Jay” and Lucile Garteiz, over 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” would cover both sides of one city block on the eastern edge of Elko, Nevada.

In addition to “Jay’s Service Station,” and a standalone restaurant, there were, at its peak, “140 rooms with shower and tub, all tiled” including “70 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 1998.  Her father was a conductor for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Research on Garteiz’ background reveals he 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.    Lucile 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 son to Elko with plans to open a service station.

Early 1950’s image of “Jay’s” 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 last 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 and Federal Highway Officials began numbering highways.

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

And, at the time U.S. Highway 40 ran though Elko on Idaho Street, the main business street in city.

Today U.S. 40 is U.S. Interstate 80.

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

Th two joined civic organizations to marketing effort 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 service stations as well as the Victory/U.S. 40 Highway.

 

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 be 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” said the 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.

In 1938, they decided to move into the growing auto court/motel industry by making a “modest” investment and opening six “cottages” behind their Shell gas station.

World War Two would interrupt their expansion plans.  Both sons, as well Jay registered for the draft.  Raymond and Paul would serve as U.S. Navy flyers.

On his military registration form  rather than a “cottage” owner Jay said he was a “Self-employed Auto Court Owner.”

 

Following the end of World War Two, Garteiz began work on his expansion plans.

Both of his son’s, Raymond and Paul, returned home. served in the U.S. Navy.   Raymond decided to stay in Elko, while his younger brother Paul 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, Paul Garteiz’s dream of stardom 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.

Back in Elko in 1946, Jay, Lucile with their daughter Dorothy, and their oldest   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 and the existing cottages.

Once those were built, tear down the original cottages and build a two story motel.

The plan called for the expansion of “Jay’s Cottages” from eight 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 Garteiz.  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 of the fifty ‘cottages’ 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.”

 

 

Jay was comfortable using automobile decals.   This is the second known one he used to promote his operations.

Noting the number of cottages, “50 rooms” place this decal, 1948-49.

Many business along U.S. 40 in Nevada used this same decal.

It appears Garteiz  did not use post cards to promote either his service station or the six “cottages.”

That changed when the family expanded its operation with the fifty cottages.  And when they made the move into post cards, they did it in a big way.

Garteiz went to, at the time the largest post card company in the United States, the Curt Teich Company of Chicago, Illinois (C.T.).

Curt Teich Post Cards

The Teich work logs for “Elko, Nevada, provides the following information for the post card titled “Jays Cottages.”

The logs reveal “Jay’s Cottages” was not only the last linen post card for Jay, it was the last card of that city printed by the Chicago Company.

The post cards were given a C.T. alphanumeric number of 7B-H1969.  The company started use a letter of the alphabet to signify the decade in 1930.   “A” equals 1930, B equals 1940, etc.

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

The “H” means the post card was produced 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 Teich printed that year.

The C.T. log entry date for the “Jay’s Cottages” card of “12-1-1947” reveals in was one of the last the company printed that year. [viii]

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, all with the same image and no caption on the back.[ix]

To make his post cards special Garteiz ordered had them produced with a deckled, or as they are sometimes called, ‘scalloped’ edges.

Knowing that he planned to expand, the post cards Garteiz ordered would not have any information about his “cottages” on the back, he would use a local printer to add and change the information.

Garteiz and ‘Lucky 13’

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 post card.  And while most motel post cards have the name of the business and the city on the front of the card, Jay’s also added  the unusual address he selected for his business of 1313 Idaho Street.

Garteiz owned both sides of the 1300 block of Idaho Street.  When he opened his service station, he could have selected a number of addresses but he selected 1313.

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 linked to the day he arrived in the United States, October 13, 1914.                                  (It was a Tuesday.)

The expansion of “Jay’s Cottages” begins

A few months after the 25,000 post cards arrived, Garteiz began work on another expansion.

He went public with the second part of his plans 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 cottages were replaced by the two-story building in early 1950.

The new addition brought the number of “Jay’s Cottages” to 140 rooms.  And while the face of the post card shows the 50 room set of “cottages” the back of the post card would be changed to reflect the growing business.

All of the cards have the standard Curt Teich back, in this case the C.T. number was placed inside the stamp box.  Other elements of the standard back of the late 1940’s; the words POST CARD, and credit line down the middle of the back; “GENUINE CURTEICH CHICAGO “C.T. PHOTO COLORIT” POST CARD (REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.)”

It is likely Lucile Garteiz, who ran the motel operation, used a local printer to add and change the information on the message side of the back of the Curt Teich post card over the next five years.

The post cards were used for a variety of purposes.

The 50 Room Versions of the Curt Teich Post Card

The caption on the back of the first printing of the 50 room version reads;

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A second version of the ’50 rooms’ back was used through the 1950’s as a thank you note to a guest.

Based on the wording the cards were given to the guests at checkout, although others were mailed.

The note reads;

The last known usage of this version was mailed on July 26, 1950.

 

 

 

 The 140 Room Versions of the Curt Teich Post Card

When the Garteizs added ‘cottages’ in 1948 they sent some of the cards to the local printer update the total rooms to 140.

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

The second version of the 140 room back features the same thank you message seen on the 50 room version; “It has been a pleasure to have you as our guest.  Sincerely hope you will arrive home safely.”

The 140 room back has a simple marketing message at the end, “Tell your friends about us.” Also note, the letters in the thank you message are italicized.

The third version of the 140 room back, switches the thank message with a message offering help to those who want to get married.

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The fourth version of the 140 room back with the “New” mattress caption 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.”

The fifth version of the 140 room back with the “New” mattress caption simply reduces the space between each line in the caption thereby providing more room for a message.

The sixth version of the 140 room back shows the same spacing as the fifth version with the exception of the word “New.”  It has been removed which in turn puts the hyphenated word “Air-Foam” on same line.

Wonder what prompted  Lucile to decide the air-foam mattresses were no longer “New.”

The seventh version of the 140 room back has the same caption along with a major change in the thank you message.  Instead of “hope you will arrive home safety,” the message now reads “hope you have arrived home safely.”

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There are ten known versions of the backs of the Curt Teich printed “Jay’s Cottage” post card.

There may be more!.

By the late summer of 1952,  it is likely most of the 25,000 post cards ordered in December, 1947  were all but gone, plus the Teich cards only had an outdated image.

It was time to order new cards.

Once the new post cards had been received by Garteiz the cards were sent to the local printer to add the information on the back.

There is a clue as to when the new post cards were published.

The first version of the new post cards includes the word “New” regarding the mattress.

One option, the Garteizs ordered new post cards  once the new building was up across the street from the 50 “cottages”

And, that while they still had a number of the C.T. views, they decided to use those views for guests on one side of the street, and the new cards for those guests staying in the newer two story structure.

In either case, in the early 1950’s, not likely earlier that 1951, Garteiz ordered the new linen post cards with the new views.

The answer as to when the second linen post card was produced may be determined by post marks.

MWM 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, with straight edges, is a split horizontal view.

On the top, the “Jay’s Cottages”  added in 1948 are featured.  They were located across the street from the service station and the original eight cottages.

The bottom view is of the new two-story “Jay’s Cottages” and “Jay’s Service Station.”

Between the two images the Jay’s lucky address for all 140 cottages.

JAY’S COTTAGES, 1313 IDAHO ST., ELKO, NEVADA

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

The post cards were ordered through a company called “”Motel Contract Supply Company” in St. Louis, Missouri.

The motel supply company’s credit line is found along the center on the back of the post card where you would normally find MWM’s name and business location.

The MWM post card is identifiable first by the company’s code found on the top center on the back of the post card.  The “Jay’s Cottages” post card code is 14,266F.

Second, MWM is identified as the printer by its unique rounded edge stamp box with a drop shadow, and third the unique the type font used for the words “Post Card.”

Similar to the Curt Teich order, the MWM printed post cards came without any information about the cottages on the back.

And like the C.T. card, based on the number of caption changes the charges were done by a local printer.

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

 

The Eight Known Versions 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 C.T. post card with the word “New” inserted back in front of “Englander.”

Does the word “New” regarding the mattresses provide a clue as to when the MWM post cards were first produced?

The two horizontal lines above and below “Reasonably Priced” seen in the C.T. cards are gone in the MWM cards.

Another change in the MWM cards, the lines starting with “140 rooms” are double spaced.

 

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The second version of the MWM ‘cottages” post card has the same caption as the first, plus a thank you note.

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The third version has two changes.  Garteiz dropped the the word “New.”  The second change occurred switching from double spacing between the lines to a single space.

 

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

The spacing between the lines went from single to double.  And the word “Air-Conditioned” was added after the word “mattresses.”

 

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

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

(Note post card went through U.S. Mail without stamp.)

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The seventh  version of the MWM “cottages” post card returns to the smaller non bold type, and eliminates the marketing message as well as the double spacing between lines and words.

 

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

Added is a mileage chart. With the concluding message, “REST AND SLEEP    BETTER FOR YOUR MONEY   INVESTIGATE”

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MWM last linen for “Jay’s”

The MWM was the last linen post card featuring “Jay’s Cottages.” The listings in this report was and is being made to put the changes in chronological order.   An on-going search for postally used Curt Teich and MWM cottages post cards will help determine the proper order, there is likely to be some overlap of the two post cards.

          The move from ‘linen’ post cards To                      ‘chrome’  & “Jay’s Cottages”                           to be “Jay’s Motel.”

A  chrome Dexter Press post card, 52559-B also features a  horizontal split view of “Jay’s Cottages” on both sides of the street.

A telephone number “Republic 8-6222” is added to the back and dates the post cards to the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

The caption on the back reads,

“140 air-conditioned rooms with tub and shower, all

Titled.  90 rooms equipped with air-form mattresses.

Heated swimming  pool.     Municipal park and golf

Course nearby.  Reasonably priced.”

The heated swimming pool replaced Jay’s service station after he died in the late 1950’s.   The service station building was moved to Carlin, Nevada where it was turned into a restaurant.

The post card was produced by Eric J. Seaich though his “Seaich Card & Souvenir Corporation” of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Seaich also took the photograph that was used for the post card.  His company worked directly with the Garteiz

The second known chrome of “Jay’s Cottages” shows two major changes.  Cottages is gone, the business is now called “Jay’s Motel.”

The nighttime photograph used on the face of the post card shows a “Denny’s Coffee Shop” sign under “Jay’s Motel.”

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

The post card was published by Eric J. Seaich of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The card number 68556.

The caption on the back reduces the number of units to 130.

The third known chrome of “Jay’s Motel” has the same image on the face, Number 68556, and the same caption on the back stating 130 units are available.  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

trip.

Tell your friends about us.”

The fourth known chrome of “Jay’s” is a day time scene, taken from almost the identical angle as card number 68556.

Major changes to this card, number 77531 reveal the number of available rooms was down to 100.

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

A fifth version of post card number 77351, with same image on face has a caption on the back where there are 149 rooms available.   And the caption makes a point to note there are televisions in “All rooms” and “some” are “color.”

And “Benny’s Coffee Shop” is still operating in the same building, along with “Howard’s Supper Club.”

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 53, died after “a long illness.”[xiv]

Four years later in 1964, the Garteiz family sold all of the cottages to two 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, along with Lucile Garteiz had moved to Sacramento, California.

While still maintaining property in Elko, the forty years of service the Garteiz family provided to the community of Elko, as well as the traveling public had come to and 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 50 “cottages” with garages are now small shops   in the “Rancho Plaza Shopping Mall.” From Google streets this view.

Across the street, seen in this Google street view, the two-story “Jay’s Cottages” is now a “Budget Inn.”

The Denny’s restaurant is now Chef Chang’s.

   When the cottages were all “Jay’s” the mail came to one place 1313 Idaho Street.  Today, the “Budget Inn” is at 1349 Idaho.

    The shops in the “Rancho Plaza Shopping Mall” are the lucky one with the historic 1313 Idaho Street address.

[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.

[iv] http://www.delamare.unr.edu/Maps/digitalcollections/nvmaps/highway.html

[v]  “Camp Ground Leased To Woman by City,” March 28, 1936, The Salt Lake Tribune, page 26.fr

[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] https://archive.org/details/nevada-teich-geo-index/page/n27 .

[ix] https://archive.org/details/nevada-teich-geo-index/page/n27 .

[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.