El Rancho Hotel & Casino

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The El Rancho Hotel is located in Wells, NV, and is our first client outside of Southern Nevada! Nevada Preservation Foundation will be working with the City of Wells over the next couple of years on rehabilitating this historic property, as this is a multi-phase project that will see the El Rancho ultimately preserved through the adaptive reuse of the structure.

The first phase is to nominate the property to the National Register of Historic Places. Initial research has shown the El Rancho to be a rich resource for promoting and preserving early history in Wells, and the nomination should be submitted sometime in the fall of 2017. Ultimately, the listing on the National Register will open up the property's eligiblity for the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC).

In Phase II of this project, NPF will work with the architect and property owner in planning for the successful renovation of the building using the Secretary of Interior’s standards as a guide. This plan for rehabilitation will ensure that the property remains eligible for the HTC once the project is completed.

Phase III will see the thorough documentation of the restoration and rehabilitation of the project, which is a requirement for securing the HTC. While this project will likely take a couple of years to complete, we can’t wait to see this building up and running again in the near future.

El Rancho History

The El Rancho Hotel is located in historic downtown Wells, Nevada. Wells is in the heart of what historians define as Nevada's Northeastern Frontier, and the town continues to serve as a hub for ranching activity in the region. Having survived a catastrophic 6.0 earthquake in 2008, it remains one of the last historic hotel-casino buildings in Wells. The damage from this devastating quake gradually destroyed most of the buildings in the city's historic district, making the El Rancho an extremely valuable extant example of the city’s early development.

Built in 1949 by Italian immigrant and entrepreneur Leo Quilici ("quill-a-see"), the El Rancho Hotel was the first hotel in Wells to incorporate structural steel construction and electricity. The building marked the transition of the city from a frontier outpost to a modern day community. It is a two-story, mid-twentieth century double block commercial style hotel. Some elements of the interior like the period bar and furnishings remain intact.

The El Rancho served as an important location for socializing and entertainment in Northeastern Nevada. Local ranching and railroad work in the region brought many workers into Wells on the weekends, and the El Rancho was a popular place to gather. The building itself is topped by a large neon sign of a wrangler and a bucking horse, created by the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), the same designers whose works have illuminated the streets of Las Vegas's most popular resorts for decades. The El Rancho's sign is an early example of Nevada's neon advertising heritage and one of the few signs that still adorns its original structure.