Work has begun to bring the historic Exchange Club in Beatty back to life, possibly by the end of this year.
Owner Ed Ringle wants to reopen the casino first, and then to have a coffee shop in the other part of the building that will also sell pastries.
Both the casino and the coffee shop will have a “steam punk” theme.
“Ed is really excited about it, so I know we’re going to do something extravagant,” says Victor Grubel, general manager of Ringle’s properties in Beatty, referring to the planned decor.
Grubel says that they want to preserve as much of the original building as possible, including the ornate vintage bar. The building will also keep its original name.
“Mr. Ringle wants to put money into it and make it really nice,” says Grubel, “But before we put a lot of money in there, we have to make sure it’s structurally sound.”
To that end, they have hired an engineer to go through the building to determine what will have to be done to bring it up to code. That process may include taking care of whatever needs repairing from an upstairs fire that happened decades ago.
Located on the town’s main intersection, the Exchange Club, dating back to 1906, was once the social hub of Beatty. It was more than just a bar, casino, and restaurant. It was a popular meeting place, and served as a sort of informal bank, giving locals a place to cash checks. For years Beatty High School students snake danced through the building at homecoming.
Part of the building once housed Andre’s Market, the town’s grocery store. In more recent years, the whole building was used as a hardware store, where merchandise was even shelved on the old bar.
The Exchange Club project is a part of a major effort by Ringle to upgrade his Beatty properties and to build new facilities.
Renovation of the neighboring Exchange Club Motel is nearing completion. It has been getting new carpet, new furniture, and new bathroom fixtures.
Two other Ringle properties, the Death Valley Inn and the Stagecoach Hotel, have also undergone renovation in the last year.
In the same block of downtown Beatty, Ringle is also building Smokin’ J’s Barbecue, which will be operated by local barbecue guru, Jay Thompson.
“We’re making Beatty beautiful,” says Grubel. “Everything that Mr. Ringle builds is nice.”
Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.