Forget for a minute the quirky sort of history found at the Pioneer Saloon, which celebrated its 100th year anniversary in Goodsprings on Saturday along with hundreds of patrons.
Forget that Clark Gable supposedly burned holes in the cherry wood bar back in January 1942 as he waited to hear whether the love of his life, actress Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash on Jan. 16 on Mount Potosi. She did. At 8,200 feet. At age 33.
And customers today can still poke their fingers in the very same holes — as though they were something holy.
Forget for a minute that some hard-drinking miner by the name of Paul Coski was shot to death after he was caught cheating at a card game in 1915, and that the bullet holes are right there in the wall where he sat. Again, with the customers probing them for proof.
Forget that both Lombard and Coski’s ghosts now haunt the joint, according to Goodsprings Ghost Hunt. Lombard seems to hang at the juke box a lot while Coski seems to be spending a lot of time behind the bar, according to the local tour company.
And now consider this verifiable fact: the Pioneer Saloon has stood for a century, with its stamped-tin walls and ceilings and its hard wood floors. It’s considered the oldest bar in Clark County. It was added to the state’s Historic Registry in 2006.
The plaque outside the place, which could serve as any Western movie set at a moment’s notice, pretty much tells it all: George Fayle built it in 1913. He also built a general store and a hotel before dying in the flu epidemic in 1918.
The town of Jean to the east along state Route 161 is named after his wife.
As for the surrounding foothills, they were once mined for gold and silver ore when the the town was alive, when it had brothels, and saloons, and a post office — even a car dealership.
But now all that’s left is the Pioneer Saloon. Make no mistake: It’s the epicenter. It’s the watering hole in the middle of nowhere.
“And it’s up to us to preserve its history,” said Noel Sheckells, 56, who has owned the saloon for seven years.
Sheckells is taking the history element one step further. On Dec. 31, he’s going to bury all sorts of stuff in a time capsule that’s the size of a refrigerator. And it’s not supposed to be unearthed for 100 years, which will be on Dec. 31, 2114, when none of us will be around.
He plans to put his old Iphone inside. Some buddies are going to throw in some poker chips from the casinos they play in Las Vegas.
Syd Xinos, who came all the way from Austin, Texas, to celebrate the saloon’s 100th anniversary, plans to type up his father’s story, then throw it into the time capsule.
“He was a miner here back in the 1950s,” said Xinos, referring to Merril Smith, who’s 90 years old and still living in Texas.
But it’s going to cost about $100 per person to throw something into the time capsule, which is going to run Sheckells an estimated $10,000,.
But before you get bent out of shape, consider this: You also get a keg party for up to 40 friends, a Centennial brick with a special number on it, and your name sandblasted on the front of a massive piece of rock that resembles a smaller version of the Vietnam Memorial.
The age of that massive piece of rock also makes the Pioneer Saloon look young.
“We’re talking about something that’s millions of years old and came from the ancient seabed when this place was nothing but a sea floor,” said Sheckells.
And when the time capsule is unearthed, the great-grandchildren who haven’t even been born yet will have some sort of odd brick with a special number on it that’s been passed down to them. The name of the Pioneer Saloon and its location will be on the brick.
The hope is that there will be a pilgrimage to the saloon, and loads of envelopes with the same numbers that are written on the bricks that will be unearthed. And inside those envelopes there will be old iPhone, and old chips and, rumor has it, even hundred-dollar bills.
And the descendants will claim it, in the name of history.
“This time capsule,” said Sheckells, “is a science. The air will be sucked out of it, then it will be sealed. Like a Mason jar.”
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at email@example.com or 702-224-5512.