Wagon Wheel
116 East Commercial Row 1945 - 1950
136 East Commercial Row 1956 - 1960
Wagon Wheel
Postcard from the Mark Englebretson Collection




Rick Olsen
Grade 4



The original Wagon Wheel was located at 116 East Commercial Row, which was Reno's Skid Row. Patron's of the Wagon Wheel were mainly the unemployed, the homeless, and minority groups. Don Backus was granted a gaming license at this location for slots and 21 in 1945. In March 1950 the Wagon Wheel Bar was cited for using a marked 21 deck. On April 11 the Reno City Council closed the business. In June 1952 , Judge A.J. Maestretti ordered Don Backus to vacate the premises. Backus had been operating without a legitimate lease, was "disturbing the peace," and was operating a 21 game without a license.

Gaming was licensed again at the Wagon Wheel's new location at 136 East Commercial Row in April 1956. In December 1960, after a rash of incidents involving the sale of liquor to minors and several fist and knife fights, the Reno City Council once again closed the Wagon Wheel. It was reopened in the 1960's but there was no table gaming.

The site is now part of Harrah's Parking Garage.

According to Dwayne Kling