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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

#2900 - Pioneer Saloon, Goodsprings, NV - 11/29/2015

Roadsideamerica.com, Culturetrip.com, atlasobscura.com, Bucket List Bars -- sometimes I could know a bar I wanted to visit just by the sites that write about it. But there was never any doubt that the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada was going to be high on my to-do list. There was little chance I'd miss this one -- despite being the only surviving business in a tiny ghost town, with 20% of its income now coming from its use in movies, the bar has its own PR agent. And once you see a few pictures, you have to go.

It's welcoming and fairly large, but somehow doesn't feel too touristy. We had a pleasant chat with Noel Scheckells, the current owner, whose sons run the bar and kitchen, and also with patron Jim, who is a session musician and told us he played drums on Patsy Cline's "Crazy," Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," various Carpenters tunes and many others.

Of course it has ghosts, of course it has a great antique Brunswick back bar, and of course it has bullets in the wall (which may have come from a dealer shooting a cheating card player or may have come from former owner Don Hedrick's appreciation for a good story). It also features chicken shit bingo, barbecues where you can cook your own food, an expansive patio, and a 100-year-old urinal.

I like the history of the place compiled on this excellent page about Nevada's Brunswick bars:

"Built in 1913, the Pioneer Saloon, one of the nation's oldest stamped-metal tin buildings, is up for sale. The $1.35 million asking price includes two other buildings, all of the bar's antique fixtures and, of course, its colorful ghost stories and history. "I am asking a lot for the place because I want the new owners to be committed to it living on," said Don Hedrick, whose family has owned the saloon -- the last remaining commercial business in Goodsprings -- for 40 years. Hedrick has managed the business on State Route 161, seven miles west of Jean, since his father, Don, died in 1996. (The Saloon was turned over to its new owner, who was also a long time patron of the Pioneer Saloon, in December 2006. Less than a year later on October 17th, 2007 the long time, loved, and respected, former owner Don Hedrick Jr. passed away.)


The Pioneer Saloon was built by George Arthur Fayle, who had served as a Clark County Commission chairman and owned the Fayle Hotel in Goodsprings. The saloon has changed little since indoor toilets were installed in the 1930s. The interior and exterior walls are of stamped tin
and manufactured by Sears and Roebuck. It is thought to be one of the last, if not the last of its kind in the United States. The legendary cherry wood bar installed in 1913 was manufactured by the Brunswick Company in Maine in the 1860's. It was shipped in three sections around Cape Horn to San Francisco. Two of the sections were lost and the third became a fixture in a bar in Rhyolite, now a Nye County ghost town, before it was shipped to the Pioneer.


The saloon gained international attention in 1942 when screen legend Clark Gable hung out there for days afterhis wife, actress Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash at nearby Mount Potosi. No one is sure whether Lombard's ghost still wanders into the saloon looking for Gable. But some patrons among today's eclectic crowd of primarily townsfolk, bikers and tourists swear they share bar stools with spirits. The back room of the Pioneeris a mini-museum, filled with memorabilia of Gable and Lombard, historic framed newspaper front pages and old bottles. In the bar area, the original pot-bellied stove stills heats the building. Over the years, the Pioneer Saloon's charm has made it a popular spot for filmmakers. The town of Goodsprings was originally know as Good's Spring after its founder Joseph Good. Joseph Good settled in the area in the 1860's mainly because of the rich under ground spring. Many of the Cottonwood trees found in Goodsprings were originally planted by Mr. Good.


Goodsprings, Nevada became a booming Mining town in the early 1900s when the Yellow Pine Mine was established as well as the Fayle Hotel, the General Mercantile and yes the World Famous Pioneer Saloon. Next to the Pioneer Saloon is the Goodsprings General Store. This was at one time the Goodsprings Cafe and it is said that George Fayle built the Goodsprings Cafe first and lived in it while he built the Pioneer Saloon. Later in 1915 across from the Pioneer Saloon Mr. Fayle built a General Store and Icehouse. The store burned down in 1966 but the icehouse and a storage room still stand to this day." 

310 NV-161, Goodsprings, NV 89019 - (702) 874-9362                                             
Est. 1913
Web site: pioneersaloon.info - facebook
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