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Newsletter 2008

Goodsprings Historical Society

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Goodsprings Historical Society
Newsletter #8 Spring 2008

May Events

Mark the first weekend in May on your calendar for our annual Old Timer's Reunion. There will be good food, visiting with friends, and lots of history to share. On Saturday, May 3, in the Community Center, the potluck lunch will be followed by a memorial for Marcia Whitney. All are welcome. This year the Goodsprings Historical Society's annual meeting will be held before lunch on Saturday from 10:00 - 12:30. On Sunday, the morning will begin with a Miner's Breakfast followed by lunch in the afternoon. The collection of school and town history will be on display in the old community center on both Sat. and Sun. except during the GHS meeting and the memorial. Membership dues for the GHS are due in May. Please see membership form.

Rails to Trails

Yellow Pine train

The Yellow Pine Railroad Rails to Trails project continues to move forward. Funds to conduct a feasibility study for the completion of the project have been awarded.


Historical Donation

Would you want to read newspaper articles from the 30's about Goodsprings area mines, or find out more about Goodsprings military men of the 40's? Peggy Stephens has donated her collection of newspaper articles, pictures, and other materials to the Goodsprings Historical Society. Be sure to see these items on display at the annual reunion. THANK YOU, PEGGY.

Bingo Night Fundraiser

The Goodsprings Historical Society hosted a fundraiser and collected donations to help Goodsprings School continue their Christmas tradition. Since the school began in 1913, as near as we can determine, students have presented a Christmas program followed by Santa Claus bringing presents to each child, school age and younger. It is one of the oldest continuously running traditions in Nevada history. To keep this tradition alive it is up to us, as a community, to support it.

Organized by Ruth Rawlinson and Julie Newberry, the Bingo night on November 10 was a big success as well as lots of fun. A big THANK YOU to all who helped that evening by working, donating food and prizes, and by contributing to our donation jar. We couldn't have done it without all your support.

A special THANK YOU goes to Lila Littlejohn, Erva Kennedy, and Pat Cash for their donations to this cause. Lila's donation was in honor of her mother and aunt, Evelyn Kemple Stewart and Ida Kemple Cassity. Money remaining was donated to the school for a field trip to Las Vegas.


With sadness we note the loss of Old-Timers and Goodsprings Historical Society members Jane Albritton, Dick Barnes, Tom Birdwell, Terry Hudgens, Christine Stephens, Evelyn Stewart, and Marcia Whitney. The Goodsprings Historical Society's Memory Book is our society's way to acknowledge the people we have lost. You can contribute by sending a short biography and/or interesting story about the person to GHS at P.O. Box 603, Goodsprings, NV 89019.

1910 School
1910 School - Robbins Collection UNLV

Sam Yount
Sam Yount At the wheel


The History of the Historical Pioneer Saloon

By: Monica Beisecker, Ph.D.

Pioneer Saloon

The Pioneer Saloon was said to be assembled in 1913 entirely out of pressed tin (reportedly ordered from Sears and Roebuck.) Though such construction was not unusual for promising mining camps, precious few of these structures survived the inevitable bust cycles of such locales. Indeed, the Pioneer is the only such structure I am aware of that has retained its original purpose. Its cherry wood back and front bars were manufactured by the Brunswick Company (most likely in Dubuque, Iowa), which started manufacturing such equipment in the 1880's and accounted for 95% of all bar furnishing between 1885-1900. They are reported to have been installed in Rhyolite before being hauled to Goodsprings in 1913 and have been used at the Pioneer ever since it opened.

According to Leonard Fayle in an article put out by the Nevada Historical Society, the saloon was built by his father, George Fayle somewhere between 1912 and 1915. I can find no articles that expressly state 1913. George Fayle came from Calico, California in 1905 to help his uncle and a founding father of the Goodsprings mining camp, Samuel Yount, operate general merchandising stores in Goodsprings and Jean (then Goodsprings Junction, but later renamed after Fayle's wife). An ardent, perhaps overly enthusiastic - booster of the camp, his business interests eventually included the Fayle Hotel (described by the Las Vegas Age in 1916 as the finest hostelry in the whole state), the Goodsprings Cafe, a corral, mercantile stores in both Goodsprings and nearby Jean, the Spring Mountain Ranch (now a state park), as well as several mining interests throughout the Yellow Pine District. Mr. Fayle was the first Postmaster of record in the town of Jean from 1905 to 1914, a Clark County Commissioner from 1912-1918, and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners from 1916 to 1918. He died on December 9, 1918, a victim of the great flu epidemic; he was only 37. Fayle is buried under the largest headstone in the Goodsprings cemetery a quarter mile east of the Pioneer Saloon. The December 14, 1918 addition of the Clark County Review informs us that Mr. Fayle died in his home in Goodsprings, funeral services were held in Goodsprings, and, at his expressed wish, made not long before his death, he was laid to rest in his town of Goodsprings. The Las Vegas Age reports that among his last requests, he asked that he be buried, where he had lived and loved, Goodsprings. Services were held in the dining room at the Fayle Hotel.

Mr. Fayle began establishing his business empire just as Goodsprings was entering its boom period. In 1905, when the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake railway was completed (the last spike was driven scarcely a stone's throw north of Jean), Goodsprings emerged as the commercial center for the Yellow Pine mining district, one of the largest producers of lead and zinc ore in the west, and for a brief period the richest mining district in the state. The population of Goodsprings peaked in 1916 at approximately 800 residents with another 700 or so scattered about in nearby mining camps (Las Vegas had 2,300 at the time) and slowly dwindled as demand for those metals declined following World War I. At its height, Goodsprings could boast seven saloons, six cafes, the Fayle Hotel, a newspaper, an open-air motion-picture house, a confectionary and ice-cream parlor, and its very own red-light district. The town was also the site of the Yellow Pine mill and the hub of the narrow-gauge Yellow Pine Railway, which ran through town from the mine 5 miles northwest to the main depot in Jean 7 miles to the east. Today, only the Pioneer Saloon remains open to stand testament to this once-vibrant commercial heritage.

The saloon building stands alongside a smaller, sister structure (originally the location of the Goodsprings Cafe), which was also constructed by Mr. Fayle out of the same pressed tin. Currently a general store, this smaller building has served a variety of purposes: cafe, general store, market, gift shop, real estate office, and even campaign headquarters for a justice-of-the-peace candidate. Along with a handful of original residences, a few other commercial structures from Goodsprings' heyday still stand in various states of decay, though none remain serviceable for any viable enterprises. The Yellow Pine Mill burned in 1929 and the railroad was disassembled in 1934; the Fayle Hotel burned to the ground in 1966. Remarkably, Goodsprings' schoolhouse - also built in 1913 and currently on the state registry- remains in use.

The Pioneer Saloon has operated continuously as a saloon since 1913 (with the exception of a brief hiatus between 1954-1960). During prohibition, when every other saloon in the district was forced to shut down, the Goodsprings Gazette reports that then proprietor H. W. Ball kept the Pioneer afloat by operating pool and card tables and by serving soft drinks. The bar was reopened by Irene Nutman in 1960 who then sold it to Don Hedrick Sr. in 1966. His son, Don Hedrick, Jr., took over ownership and operation when Don Hedrick Sr. died. Don Hedrick Jr. sold the bar to Noel Sheckells on December 2, 2006. Noel has not only continued running the saloon with no gap in time, but has also reopened the cafe building as a general store.

The Pioneer was the scene of one storied gunfight in 1915, when Joe Armstrong shot and killed a local muleteer, Paul Coski, after Coski had accused him of dealing a crooked card game. Armstrong was acquitted on grounds of self-defense, although he was eventually run out of town by then state senator Peter Buol (Las Vegas' first mayor) as part of his crusade to rid Southern Nevada of unscrupulous cardsharps, immoral dance hall girls, and other unsavory characters.

In 1942 locals tell tales that Clark Gable spent several days and nights at the bar and the hotel awaiting word on his wife, Carole Lombard, whose plane had crashed on the nearby Mount Potosi. The only support I can find for this claim is Clark Gable's name written on a hotel registry for the date of January 18, 1942. He was already presented with his wife's body by this time. However, he was awaiting confirmation of her mother's body before going back to Burbank, California. A piece of the plane's wreckage now sits atop the U.S. Army cannon stove, which has served as the building's primary source of heat ever since its inception.

The Pioneer Saloon has been the location of many recent movies, music videos,
 commercials, and photo shoots including (but not limited to) the following:
Cheech and Chong's Things Are Tough All Over
Texas Payback starring Christopher Lambert
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with Johnny Depp
The Mexican with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts
Miss Congeniality 2 starring Sandra Bullock 
The compact disc cover for Travis Tritt's latest album
Chuck Norris' Championship Karate promo
Chris Angel's Mind Freak
It has also been featured on the Discovery and Travel channels, primarily 
on shows that focus on the saloon's reputation for being haunted.

The saloon is now officially listed on the State Historic Registry and I am currently working on getting it listed on the National Historic Registry. However, this is a much more difficult task than the State. There are firm requirements that did not exist for the State (not least of which is that they want the structure to have been left virtually untouched). As most of you are aware, there have been many changes made to the Pioneer in the past year alone. Hopefully, they are not changes of any magnitude. With any luck, this time next year, the Pioneer will have truly gone national!


The Goodsprings School, The Teens

Submitted by Julie Newberry

School 1916
School in 1916

The present school building in Goodsprings was built in 1913. The section in the back was added to the original building in 1916. During the years 1910 - 1920 the town reached its peak, and the school flourished as well.

For those who enjoy statistics, here are some interesting facts. The first elected school board members of Goodsprings School District No. 32 were Harold Jarman, Frank Kent, and Albert Munzbrock. Their first meeting was held on May 6th, 1912. The first building was constructed by C.W. Price for $2000, and the land was donated by the Yellow Pine Mining Company. It included a classroom 20 ft. by 34 ft., a cloakroom 8 ft. by 16 ft., and a storeroom 10 ft. by 16 ft., which also served as the teacher's closet and library. There was a pot-bellied stove for burning wood, a water pump in the front, and two outhouses in the back. The first teacher in this building was Miss Katherine Williams from Huntsville, TN who earned $100 a month, which included her janitorial job. The first electric light was donated by the Yellow Pine Mining Company in 1914. The first principal was Miss Lutitia Winn, who also taught the upper grades for the year 1916-1917. The first janitor was hired that same year, earning $20 a month for his work. 1916 - 1917 was the first year two teachers were needed.

During the Teens, money was always tight. The school board arranged to have bonds sold to build the school and taxes levied to pay for daily operations. Often the Board found it necessary to request help from the Clark County Commissioners for tax money. More than once the school year opened late or closed in May due to lack of funds. The heads of families were called together to vote on big decisions such as constructing the addition.

There were many other decisions to be made. Children from Jean needed transportation until a small school was built for them in 1917. Beginning in 1916 children living at the Yellow Pine Mine were allowed to enroll in the Goodsprings School, although their homes were part of the Sandy School District.

School 1916
This information was taken from the original school board minutes 1912 - 1920.
Student Photo courtesy of the Evelyn Stewart collection

During the Teens at least 40 children attended the school, at one time or another. All in all, the families of the Goodsprings School District No. 32 gave their support for the school, its activities, and the quality of education.


Goodsprings School Graduation Program 1918

Graduation 1918

School Program February 22, 1916

Program 1916


Old Timer's Reunion
Sat. May 3, 2008

The Whitney family have been "behind-the-scene" heroes of the Old Timer's Reunion for many years. They have organized the setup and cleanup each year, prepared the Miner's Breakfast, and enthusiastically supported the continuation of the reunion weekend. This year to honor Marcia Whitney, a memorial will be conducted by the family at the Yellow Pine following the potluck lunch on Saturday. For this reason the Goodsprings Historical Society's annual meeting will be held before lunch on Saturday.

8:00-10:00  Donuts/coffee
10:00-12:30  Goodsprings Historical Society Annual Meeting

12:30-1:00  Set up for potluck lunch

1:00-2:30 Lunch

2:30 Marcia Whitney Memorial
Membership Dues for May 2008 - May 2009
Individual_______$5.00;    Gold Member__________$50.00;
Family__________$10.00;    Lead/Zinc Member____$100.00;

Name_______________________________ Amount____________



Send to: Goodsprings Historical Society, 
         Box 603, Goodsprings, NV 89019

Bobbie Poole has graciously donated two hand-crafted pillows featuring historic Goodsprings buildings for a member only raffle. All members whose 2008 dues have been paid by 2:30 p.m. May 3 will receive raffle tickets as follows: one ticket for an individual membership, two tickets for a family membership, five tickets for a gold membership, and ten tickets for a lead/zinc membership. Mail-in members whose dues are received by May 1 will be entered into the drawing.

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