A recent MSN story featured old employees of Harold’s Club, once the premier casino in the entire nation. When the club opened in 1935, people from all corners of the country would come to visit the smoky venue.
The club was the first to allow woman dealers, and other casinos across the country quickly adopted this policy. Other big names in the local gambling scene including John Ascuaga and Bill Harrah closely replicated the approach used by brothers Harold and Raymond Smith, and their father, Pappy, the founders of Harold’s Club.
Celebrities frequented the casino including names like Louis Armstrong and Liberace. The club became the most popular place to work in Reno, the little city that dominated the gambling scene in Northern Nevada.
When Pappy Smith died in 1967, his son Harold took over and things went downhill soon afterward. In three years, the Smith family had to sell the club to business tycoon Howard Hughes. Harold was known to have gambling problems and was unable to run the club on his own.
Eventually, Hughes sold Harold’s Club to Bill Harrah and in December 1999, Harrah’s casino demolished the club to make way for their open front plaza.