On the way home from the last Nevada rodeo this fall we laid over in Wells, Nevada for the night. The next morning my Uncle David had some business at the Chamber of Commerce to attend to. With another good day of driving in ahead of us, Woodrow (the Corgi) and I set out on a little adventure to see "Front Street" in old town Wells.
I am memorized by history and the pioneers who walked before us, paving the way for generations to come. I picked up a brochure that the Wells Chamber had put together, "Have You Seen FRONT STREET? Wells, Nevada" and them set out to see the sights.
Now this wasn't my 1st time to Wells. I have probably been through there over a hundred times. We do a rodeo every year and I've probably stayed over 30 nights in this little Nevada town over the years. Never in all the hustle and bustle have I ever taken the time to really see the town and the rich history it has to offer.
Here are a few pictures from my walking tour of Front Street and a few pieces of history that I learned from the Chamber of Commerce info.
The streets quite and bare on my Monday walk back through time. The 1st building I come up to is the El Rancho Hotel. I am FASCINATED by it! Huge windows that you can't help put press your face up to with curiosity about the treasures that are hidden inside. One of Nevada's finest hotel and casinos for a time, now the doors are closed. Through the glass windows you can see piles of vintage furniture, gaming tables, and more. The stories these walls could tell!
Here is where the main drag & the historical Front Street really shines through. Once a booming street of commerce and life! A street full of businesses, railroad traffic, and excitement. Front street faced much adversity. Christmas 1869 the 1st Tavern opened track side and the buildings grew from there over the years. Victim to many fires through the years but the town kept re-building.
Eagle Club ~
Just the morning before we came through town they began demolition of the historic Front Street. I was grateful I was able to see a majority if it in tact before that piece of the past was gone forever.
Below is a picture of the remaining rubble. My mind was fixated on the old safe and the treasures that frequented its secure walls. My eyes combed over the wreckage at all the treasures lying in the dust. Even all the old brick was beautiful. (Yes, a million DIY re-purposing projects flooded my mind)
Here are a few stories that I loved from the front street tour.
Cattle Rustling ~ Wells was part of the California Trail. Large herds of cattle, cowboys, and all that entailed. Rustling was a fact of life the ranchers had to combat. A well known cattle king from Wells, Colonel E.P. Hardesty instructed his hired hands, " If you learn a man has killed a cow to feed himself or his family, tell him to bring me back the hide, but if you find he stole a cow to sell bring me his hide!"
Great Generosity and Examples~ During the Great Depression, local shop owners, the Gino & John Quilici's, gave credit to customers in who needed it. It was said that the accounts receivable book was about 12 inches thick. "There was over $100, 000 on the books when Gino died and John just wrote it off. Then John turned around and kept on letting people have credit. Local hero John Quilici operated the grocery store into the 1990's." He continued to give credit to those in need even when the possibility of payment was slim. John was also the children's favorite for handing out hot dogs in exchange for a Thank You.
Leo Quililci, bar owner, "put out free bread, peanut butter and jelly in the winter to help laid off ranch hands and railroad workers gathered around his pot belly stove tough it out until spring work picked up."
Marvel Donnelly, a sharp business woman, always dressed to kill. Her most lucrative enterprise was a brothel. She was gave back to the community and was the 1st to help those in need. Often paying for school kids glasses, lunches and sports equipment.
Some one once told her, You should right a book. You could make alot of money. Marvel replied, "When you have lived as colorful a life as I have, you can make a lot more money by not writing a book"
THANK YOU to the Wells Chamber of Commerce and the Wells Preservation Society for the "Have you seen FRONT STREET Wells, Nevada" brochure and sharing a little piece of history with me. All historical stories were sourced from the brochure. If you'd like to learn more, here is contact info.
Wells Chamber of Commerce
395 Sixth Street
PO BOX 615
Wells, Nevaa 89835
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