More than Las Vegas: Neon Gems of Nevada

Never go on a road trip with me unless you’re prepared to pull off the road whenever I see a neon sign, abandoned building, or something weird. When Patrick and I weren’t on freeways, we took many backroads and old highways during our trip, and even though we had made this drive before, we still spied signs we hadn’t seen previously. We took so many photos during this trip I’m splitting up the “random roadside” snaps into three different posts, and today I bring you the first!

A large neon cowboy with long white year and a mustache wearing a black cowboy hat, black jacket, red vest and tan pants holds a green card reading "Howdy" to the left reads "Cactus Jack's" in bulb letters.

Close-up of Cactus Jack, a large neon cowboy with long white year and a mustache wearing a black cowboy hat, black jacket, red vest and tan pants holds a green card reading "Howdy"

Cactus Jack’s Senator Club, 420 N. Carson Street, Carson City. Operational.

A towering yellow corner sign reads "Nugget" in red letters at the top, below a large gold nugget and below that reads "Casino" in white neon.

Carson Nugget, 507 N. Carson Street, Carson City. Operational.

The Carson Nugget opened in 1954 and remains one of the largest casinos in Carson City, located in the heart of town.

A small green sign with a pine tree reads "Evergreen Trailer Park"

Evergreen Trailer Park, 12955 S. Virginia Street, Reno. Operational.

A diamond shaped neon sign features a man with a top hat and reads "Merry Wink Motel Sorry No Vacancy"

Merry Wink Motel, 12901 S. Virginia Street, Reno. Operational.

A yellow and green neon sign reads "Ho Hum Motel Air Conditioned Vacancy"

A broken neon sign reads "Office Vacancy"

Ho Hum Motel, 1025 S. Virginia Street #2417, Reno. Operational.

A massive neon sign features a cowboy on horseback being chased by a Native American with a bow shooting arrows, and below reads "Pony Express Lodge"

Close-up of the intricate neon of the Pony Express Lodge neon of the cowboy and Native American.

Pony Express Lodge, 2406 Prater Way, Sparks. Operational.

This is quite possibly one of my favorite neon signs simply because of its massive size and animation. The site of the Pony Express Lodge was originally home to Cremer’s Auto Court, which opened in 1933. Later it was purchased by Raymond I. “Pappy” Smith of Harolds Club. Under Smith it became Harolds Pony Express and the property grew, with slot machines in the lobby even! However since its heyday it has had a rotating door of owners.

A large blade neon sign reads "Fallon" and gives way to a marquee below.

Fallon Theatre, 71 S. Maine Street, Fallon. Operational.

According to Cinema Treasures, the Fallon opened as the New Rex in 1920, becoming the Fallon in 1930. Today it serves as a cinema and live performance venue as it continues to be restored.

A neon sign of a cowboy on horseback with a lasso, and reads "Lariat Motel"

151 E. Park Street. #3443, Fallon.

This sign once stood on Highway 50, but was relocated in 2013 and became the namesake of the Lariat Courtyard at Oats Park Arts Center.

A long two tone blue blade style neon sign reads "The I.H. Kent Co. Inc"

The I.H. Kent Co. Inc., 260 N. Maine Street, Fallon. Operational.

Today known as Kent’s Supply and has been servicing the area since 1892.

A faded and flaking sign reads "Sunset Motel"

Sunset Motel, 1135 Cornell Avenue, Lovelock. Operational.

A mid-century modern arch reads "Sierra Motel Air Cond. TV Ind Heat"

A small house has a large towering neon sign reading "Motel"

Sierra Motel. Closed and partially demolished.

For the best view of the arch: 1355 Cornell Avenue, Lovelock.

For the former office and “Motel” spire: 1370 Dartmouth Avenue, Lovelock.

A blue neon sign reads "The Griddle" in script and "Good Cookin" below.

The Griddle, 460 W. Winnemucca Boulevard, Winnemucca. Operational.

An abandoned store reads "Orovada Store" in flaking paint.

Orovada Store, 24990 US-95, Orovada, Nevada. Abandoned.

You’ll notice Las Vegas, the neon capital of America is missing here, well that’s because it will be getting its own dedicated blog post in the near future! So stay tuned!

If you choose to visit and photograph these locations, please remember to be respectful. Many of these signs are located on or near residences. I always abide by “No Trespassing” signs and use my telephoto to get close-up shots.

Want more from in and around these areas? Check out the posts below!

I Break for Vintage Neon

The Art of Reno’s Old Motel Signs

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