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Gambler Destroys the Peace … Officer

Gambler Destroys the Peace … Officer

1932 At about 4:30 on a Sunday morning, a drunk Bartley “Bart” J. Smithson was target practicing in the Palace Club, shooting at a spittoon and a silver dollar with a 0.38 Smith & Wesson Special. Bullets were flying, some lodging in the building’s rear wall. Smithson was a well-known resident and the proprietor of this saloon-gambling house in the rural mining town of Ely, Nevada. What The . . . ? Nearby, Herbert “Burt” D. Long, on duty as the night officer and in the Northern Hotel’s lobby at the time, heard the shots. He walked down Aultman Street to the Palace Club, entered and noted a few patrons inside. A conversation ensued between Long, 32, and Smithson, 48, something like this: — “Bart, you can’t shoot like that in here. It’s against the law.” — “Why not? There’s a steel door in the rear.” — “That makes no difference. Give me your gun.” — “What are you going to do with the gun?” — “I’m going to give it to the district attorney. He’ll just give it back in the morning.” — “Like hell he will.” Long took the revolver away from Smithson and ejected the shells. — […]

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Keno-Pool Parlor Pops Up

Keno-Pool Parlor Pops Up

1932 Bizarrely, Clarence Shockey’s stint as a Nevada gambling club manager was short. Here’s what happened: July 11, Monday: The Reno City Council approved a gambling license for Clarence, who’d worked in real estate and oil drilling beforehand, both unsuccessful ventures. July 12, Tuesday: Clarence obtained a building permit to remodel the interior of the structure at 232 N. Virginia Street at a cost of $2,000 (about $35,000 today). July 20, Wednesday: An advertisement ran in the Nevada State Journal (NSJ) newspaper, announcing the grand opening of La Boite Amusement Palace* slated for 8 p.m. the next night. The club, touted as the first of its kind in the United States, was to feature vaudeville acts and keno-pool. The gambling game, played by two or more people, is a combination of billiards and keno. When players shoot, balls either fall into the pockets on one end of the table or roll onto and stop in numbered holes on a keno board at the other. July 21, Thursday: La Boite Amusement Palace debuted. Welker Cochran, then one-time national billiards champion, facilitated the keno-pool activities. Between games, various acts, from dancers to a four-piece orchestra, performed. The club boasted large crowds for […]

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