The Busy Bee Bar & Grill in Salt Lake City, Utah
The Busy Bee recently closed down, I stopped by to get some pictures to document it and especially the cool neon sign.
Wendover Will Reclaims Skyline Once Again
Wendover Will has been greeting travelers to Wendover since 1952. His name comes from the founder of the State Line Hotel and Casino, Mr. William “Bill” Smith, who started the State Line Service, a cobble stone service station, on the Utah/Nevada border in 1926. Prior to Wendover Will arriving, visitors were greeted by a shimmering light atop a tall pole that provided a signal of sorts to weary travelers crossing the Great Basin Desert, that they were within reach of this small but important oasis on Highway 40 called Wendover. With gaming legalized in the State of Nevada in 1931, State Line Service grew into the State Line Hotel & Casino, a company which until its sale in 2002 to the Wendover Nugget Hotel & Casino, was on record as the single longest held gaming license in Nevada. As this growth took place, in 1952 after 26 years that light atop the pole was retired making way for what has become a community and State icon, Wendover Will.
Wendover Will was constructed and erected by Young Electric Sign Company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, who has been providing electric and other signs services since 1920. At the time Wendover Will was created, his smaller twin “Vegas Vic” was also completed, who today stands adjacent to Las Vegas’ famous Fremont Street. Wendover Will made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s largest mechanical cowboy”. At the time he stood some 63 feet tall, had 1,184 lineal feet of neon tubing with his two large waving arms powered by a single 3/4 horsepower motor, his eye winking and cigarette flicking. The original pedestal of Wndover Will proclaimed proudly “This is the Place” “Where the West Begins”.
Wendover Will through time proved to become not only an icon of the State Line Hotel and Casino, but as well became an icon of the community itself. When West Wendover, Nevada was incorporated in 1991, Wendover Will took a prominent position in the creation of the City Seal which proclaims proudly “Come Grow With Us”, a true reflection of the original light atop a pole and later the waving arms of a towering mechanical cowboy, welcoming all to this desert oasis.
Wendover Will was given to the City of West Wendover by Wendover Nugget Hotel & Casino in 2004 and now he once again stands tall representing to all, the heritage of our community as “this is the place”, “where the west begins”.
This monument is hereby dedicated in loving memory to two important founding members of our community, William “Bill” and Anna Smith.