El Rancho Hotel and Casino listed in National Register of Historic Places

Historic El Rancho Hotel and Casino in Wells listed in the National Register of Historic Places

WELLS, Nev. – Celebrating a significant milestone, the El Rancho Hotel and Casino proudly marks its 75th anniversary this year, standing as a steadfast icon in downtown Wells. Since its inception in 1949, this historic establishment has beckoned travelers and locals alike, offering lodging, dining, gambling, and entertainment throughout the mid-20th century.

To commemorate its long history and importance to the community, the National Park Service (NPS) recently listed the building in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register recognizes places that are of historic and cultural significance, and expands opportunities for grant funding and tax incentives aimed at preserving and protecting these special sites for generations to come.

The El Rancho holds a special place in the heart of Wells, serving as a hub for entertainment, recreation, and commerce along the Victory Highway. Its two-story brick structure retains much of its original charm, including the iconic gaming room, Ranch Room restaurant, main bar, and café, all steeped in nostalgia. A striking neon sign adorns its roof, a beacon of its enduring allure.

The El Rancho stands as a symbol of resilience, having weathered a magnitude 6 earthquake that damaged many of the city's masonry buildings. In recent years, the City of Wells has leveraged local, state, and federal funds to perform critical repairs and begin a building-wide rehabilitation project. Rebecca Palmer, Administrator of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, notes that building walls damaged by the earthquake were restored using a grant from the State of Nevada’s Commission for Cultural Centers and Historic Preservation. “The grant funds were successfully used to replace missing bricks, seismically reinforce the upper wall sections, and install a new roof. The new bricks are a wonderful match to the historic bricks, and it is gratifying to see the building in one piece again,” said Administrator Palmer.

Looking ahead, the City of Wells is committed to furthering its rehabilitation efforts, with plans to transform the El Rancho into a vibrant community center. Wells City Manager Jason Pengelly said, “El Rancho Hotel & Casino remains standing in the center of what was the thriving business district of downtown Wells. In the past the property echoed with parties, friends, food, and entertainment and filled our community with memories. We are proud to be revitalizing the building to create future memories for generations to come.”

For more information about this listing or the National Register program, please contact the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office at (775) 684-3448 or shpo-info@shpo.nv.gov.









The National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966 under the National Historic Preservation Act to recognize historic resources important to national, state, and local history.  For a resource to be eligible it should generally be 50 years of age, possess historical significance, and retain strong physical evidence of that story.