As part of
his original gas station business, Smith put a light bulb
on top of a pole and left it burning all night. Wendover became
known as the "light in the desert," a 24-hour sign
marking a friendly oasis for weary travelers between Elko
and Salt Lake City. A second milestone came in 1938, when
Smith borrowed $40,000 to build a new hotel with "air
conditioning" - an incredible amenity for the day. In
1952, the light bulb on the pole was replaced with the "World's
Tallest Cowboy," Wendover Will.
World War II brought nearly 30,000 servicemen to town, training
crews for the Army Air Corps. It was here in secrecy that
the crews of the B-29s, the Enola Gay, and Bock's Car, trained
for their infamous atom bomb missions that hastened the end
of the war with Japan in 1944.
After William Smith's death in 1958, his wife Anna, and general
manager Gene Jones, continued to grow the business with
major expansions, including a brand new Wendover in 1973. "Jim's
Casino," named after Anna's son, was built on the north
side of Wendover Boulevard, west of Wendover. Eventually,
it was replaced with the Silver Smith Casino Resort, which
opened in 1994. Another major addition was completed at
Wendover in 1997.
Wendover Nugget is now owned and operated by Generation
2000 of Southern Nevada. The Wendover Nugget
has just undergone a $30 Million upgrade to elegance.
The team running the Wendover Nugget is proud of their rich
Nevada and Utah history which allows them to say: "Always
First; Still the Best!"