Historic Saddle Shop Listed in the State Register

Elko’s historic G.S. Garcia Saddle & Harness Shop listed in the Nevada State Register of Historic Places

ELKO, Nev. – The Nevada State Historic Preservation Office is excited to announce that on May 7, 2024, the G.S. Garcia Saddle & Harness Shop building was officially listed in the Nevada State Register of Historic Places. This distinct two-story commercial building was constructed in 1907 by Guadalupe Santiago Garcia for his saddle, harness, and tack business. Garcia started his Elko business in June 1894, running it with help from his family until it closed nearly 45 years later in December 1938. 

Garcia gained international fame and business by winning one gold medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition World Fair and two gold medals at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition World Fair in 1905. Garcia’s award winning “Beauty Saddle” is on display at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. His craftsmanship drew admiration from a wide spectrum of patrons, ranging from cowboys to renowned figures, all coveting his functional yet aesthetically pleasing creations. His legacy continues today. Original Garcia gear is highly desired by collectors, and he will forever be associated with starting Nevada’s first rodeo in 1913 which continues today as the Silver State Stampede in Elko. 

After Garcia’s shop closed, the building was leased and then owned by the local electric utility company, which significantly altered the front façade in 1955. After years in business, NV Energy donated the building in 2016 and funded the building’s Eastlake-style façade reconstruction in 2017 using historic photographs as guidance. In 2018, the building became home to the non-profit Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum, under the direction of Jan Petersen. The museum focuses on showcasing Nevada’s rich cowboy culture, art, gear, and tack. Petersen has long been a historian of G.S. Garcia and has worked for many years to document his history, preserve his shop building, and to have the site listed in the State Register. 

"I'm excited to have the G.S. Garcia building, now the Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum, added to the Nevada State Historic Register. Recognizing places such as these is important because they have contributed to the legacy and success of our community. Many thanks to the SHPO staff for their help, advice, and support. This was my first nomination but won't be my last. History lives on in Elko!" said Jan Petersen, who retired as director of the Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum in February 2024. 

The State Register recognizes places that are of historic and cultural significance to the state of Nevada. “Listing the G.S. Garcia Saddle & Harness Shop building in the State Register recognizes the building’s architectural and cultural significance related to Nevada’s cowboy and vaquero culture and the achievements of G.S. Garcia. It is now a historic resource to be enjoyed by the citizens of Elko and visitors alike,” said Rebecca Palmer, Administrator of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. “The public can view this and other state and national listing nominations, as well as an interactive location map by visiting our website at www.shpo.nv.gov.” 

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

CaptionG.S. Garcia, with his daughter Marguerite and son Leslie “Les” in front of the new 1907 G.S. Garcia Harness and Saddle building at
547 Silver Street in Elko. Note that the building was almost two feet higher than Silver Street with its raised boardwalk and steps. 
Northeastern Nevada Museum photo.
CaptionFront northwest façade reconstruction work completed, and Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum opened January 2018.  Jan Petersen photo.