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Goodsprings’ Pioneer Saloon added to State Register of Historic Places.
Photo: PR (above and below)
When the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings was built nearly 100 years ago, the town was a very different place. A dusty mining outpost along the Old Spanish Trail, populated by prospectors hoping to make it rich, Goodsprings was the quintessential picture of the Wild West. The miners are long gone, the clank and clatter of their tools replaced by quiet and the occasional rumble of motorcycles. But the Pioneer Saloon, built in 1913, remains.
Recently added to the Nevada State Register of Historic Places by the Nevada Board of Museums and History, the watering hole, 34 miles south of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and State Route 161, has survived as a popular stop for thirsty bikers, history buffs, and the occasional Hollywood film crew. Clark Gable camped out at the original cherry wood bar in 1942 waiting to hear word that his wife, Carole Lombard, had died in a plane crash on nearby Potosi Mountain. Other, more upbeat, liaisons with fame include the filming of scenes in movies such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Mexican, and Miss Congeniality.
The saloon, sheathed in pressed tin tiles that replicate stone blocks, still looks much as it did all those years ago. Inside, the tin tiles are stamped with a decorative floral pattern. The walls—though adorned with modern plasma screen TVs—still show evidence of the roadhouse’s rougher past in the form of rusted bullet holes. Old West memorabilia, articles about Lombard’s TWA Flight 3 crash, and posters from some of the movies that have been filmed at the saloon adorn the walls. A new pool table and matching stools, tables, and chairs accompany the original front and back bars.
Outside, the covered patio area has been upgraded with eight stainless steel barbecue grills, two bars, and picnic tables and serves as extra space for special events and bar overflow. Saloon visitors can buy their steaks, chicken, or chops next door at the recently renovated Goodsprings General Store and rent a grill for $5. The three new horseshoe pits have been called “the best in Nevada,” says owner Noel Sheckells, and a paved parking lot helps accommodate the extra traffic the Pioneer receives during events such as the annual chili cook-off in May and Bikefest in September.
310 W. Spring St., Goodsprings