The New York to Paris automobile race of 1908, which was the inspiration for the movie The Great Race, passed through Tonopah. Not only was Tonopah a booming city at the time of the race, but there was the practical matter that gasoline could be brought in to Tonopah on the railroad, giving the teams an opportunity to refuel. Incidentally, the winning car, the Thomas Flyer, is on display at the National Automobile Museum in Reno.
We stopped in to the A-Bar-L western wear store trying to find a new shirt for Lisa, but nothing was the right size or style. However, we noticed that they have hats from the Voodoo Hat Company, which is who made Lisa's hat. The person in the store said nice things about Lisa's hat. Lisa pointed out that she's worn that hat daily for three years and it has held up quite nicely.
Also in this picture is the Jim Butler Inn and Suites, and at right another hotel that is currently under a complete rebuild, presumably to make another Mizpah-like classic hotel. This would put a lot of hotel rooms within walking distance of the Tonopah Convention center.
The convention center is only a one block walk from the center of downtown (which I'm treating as the Mizpah Hotel), but like everything in Tonopah, it's uphill. (There's not a lot of flat space in this town.) Also regrettably, the sidewalks have steps in them. Anyone in a mobie or a wheelchair would be obliged to drive in the (relatively quiet) street.
The Tonopah Liquor Company is also downtown, across from the Mizpah.
In a bid to attract more budget-minded travelers, the Mizpah opened the Old Brewery Hostel behind the main hotel. According to the web site, this includes a number of queen and single rooms with a common kitchen and two sets of shared bathrooms.
When Lisa was stuck in Tonopah for several days years ago waiting for her pickup to be repaired, she looked at the Tonopah Convention Center, and finally she got to show it to me, this being the first time we have been here on a weekday during business hours when there are staff around who could show us things.
Just inside the front door is this lobby with tourism brochures.
Down the hall to the left is one of the two small function rooms.
I think this room was last used for a Tonopah Town Board meeting.
The other room has a data projector and screen built in. We were told later that these were only recently added.
The main room has a small permanent stage and a large open area for seating. To the left in this photo is the entrance to the kitchen.
There's an upper seating level, a bar down one side of the room, and a rear area that can be screened off to be a separate area. For our Westercon bid, that tentatively would have been the Dealers Room and Art Show.
Also decorating the hall is the ship's bell from the USS Tonopah (nee Nevada).
Tonopah is remarkably well-served with convention facilities for a town this size. (It's about one-tenth the size of Fernley.) Aside from the obvious difficulty in getting here, it wouldn't be impossible to run an SF convention in the 300-person range here. It would be challenging to split the convention between daytime at the Convention Center and nighttime at the Tonopah Station (which has the best facilities for evening hospitality functions, in my opinion), but it could be done. The question really is whether the 300 Westercon "if you hold it, we will come" regulars could be persuaded to do so, particularly those who would have to fly to Reno or Las Vegas and drive 200 miles to Tonopah.
Not that we're actually bidding or anything like that. Think of this as Conrunners' Syndrome; the inability to be in a hotel or convention facility without modeling how you'd run a convention in it.