Thimble Rigger

Material Information

Thimble Rigger a casino, restaurant, and lodging complex
Seyferth, Brian
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
25 leaves : chart, map, photographs, plans ; 22 x 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Hotels -- Designs and plans -- Nevada -- Lamoille ( lcsh )
Resorts -- Designs and plans -- Nevada -- Lamoille ( lcsh )
Hotels ( fast )
Resorts ( fast )
Nevada -- Lamoille ( fast )
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaf 25).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master's degree in Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Brian Seyferth.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
09198462 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1982 .S49 ( lcc )

Full Text

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1204 00265 6289
and lodging
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fulfillment OF architecture

AUGUST 17. 1982
I l

Special thanks need to be expressed to:
My parents for planting the seed and providing continuous support Dave Evans for his inspiration.
Ken Camp for his patience.
Diana Camp for her nimble fingers and late night "esprit de corps

18 20 22 25


A joint venture of businessmen from Elko, Nevada, wish to study the feasibility of a combination casino, restaurant, and hotel complex in the mountain community of Lamoille, Nevada. The actual project is dependent on the development of adjacent Lamoille Canyon as a winter recreation area and is therefore several years in the future. They have asked me to investigate the site and present a design alternative reflecting the casino's use as a ski lodge, hunting lodge, and possibly a backpacking center. Elko, Nevada, already has a number of casinos but few fine restaurants so the only reasonable draw from local people would be for the dining facility. The remainder of the facility would cater specifically to tourists and recreation groups.
The intent of the project is to provide a facility that is modest in size yet of quality design and materials. Since the site is in a presently undeveloped area and the clientele is intended to be those interested in the outdoors, the building(s) should have minimal impact on the enviornment, accentuating nature and not competing with it.
The owners have specified that the total development not exceed $2,500,000 and that as much space as possible be devoted to casino and restaurants since the town of Elko, Nevada, (20 miles distant) has over 1500 lodging units and will be developing more as the need exists. The budget will not include furnishings for the rooms or the restaurants but should include most of the finish work and necessary equipment. Site work and landscaping is not included in the budget but the owners have requested that as much of the site as possible be left natural and undeveloped. Rough cost estimates on a "per square foot basis indicate that the total square footage will be 30,000 to 40,000 square feet.

Richard Bergin, DVi 1 Representative of the owners.
Mr. A1 Huber
Owner of Cactus Pete's and Horseshoe Club casinos in Jackpot, Nevada, for advising on casino operations.
Mr. Eric Calvin, Designer Kenneth D. Camp <5c Associates Denver, Colorado
Non-Faculty Architectural Advisor
Professor Gary Long
Faculty Architectural Advisor.
Professor Paul Heath Faculty Architectural Advisor.


"If you can't do it at home, go to Nevada".
"You cannot legislate morals into people, any more than you can legislate love into the hearts of some professed Christians. You can't stop gambling, so let's put it out in the open. Divorce is the only solution when marriages are unhappy. And if I had my way in this
Prohibition year, I as mayor of Reno would place a barrel of whiskey on every corner, with a dipper, and a sign saying: "Help yourself, but don't be a hog".
Such were the arguments that raged when, in 1931, Nevada in a single effort assumed the dubious role of the "Dad Boy" of the forty-eight states. The occasion was the signing into law by Governor Fred Balzar of two startling pieces of legislation one providing for easy divorce and other permitting casino gambling.
The hue and cry was directed at Nevada from all parts of the nation. It came in the form of denunciation from the pulpits, angry speeches in the Congress, and indignation from newspaper editors. If the intent of the moral outrage was to shame Nevada into the paths of righteousness, it failed. All that it accomplished was to make Nevadans defensive, and in the process, bolster an uncertain support within the state's borders for its libertarian laws.
The arguments from outside were understandably charged with emotion. No less colored were the rebuttals from inside the state. Politicians and newspaper editors, who had been divided before as to the wisdom of the two laws, became joined in defense of what they termed states' rights. The voice from the pulpits of Nevada became a wee one and remained that way for the decades to come. High-sounding phrases such as "guardian of the frontier tradition that made the V/est great" and "last stronghold of personal freedom" became well-worn cliches. And as for the rest of the nation, it could go hang for its hypocrisy.

In the shouting match that has existed almost to the present day, Nevada's motivations have been all but obscured by the emotion. Hut it is possible now to piece together how and why Nevada chose to become the most often damned of all the states.
There was, of course, a grain of truth in the argument of frontier tradition. No boom town of the early West was complete without its gambling halls and red-light district. But by the turn of the century, the towns that managed to endure came to be dominated by the respectable element, and casinos and houses of prostitution were either legislated out of existence or went underground.
Because it was then a depopulated state of no seeming importance, Nevada's hangovers of frontier days went largely ignored by national observers and local residents alike.
In 1931, the factors of economic depression, experimentation with libertarian laws, and a dominant Nevada attitude of stubborn independence contributed to the decision of the legislature and Governor Balzar in legalizing casino gambling. Not that backroom gambling existed only in Nevada. Few American cities of any size
could claim that gambling was not widespread under their very noses. But actually to legalize casino gambling was something no other state had dared to do. Its prospects for the future might be surprising.
When the deed was done, the immediate aftermath was one of disappointment. The backroom roulette wheels, chuck-a-luck, thimbleriggers, craps, and blackjack games for the most part remained where they were. A few establishments, such as the Bank Club in Reno, moved their games out into the front areas, but with such trepidation that they still posted guards at the door. In any case, there was little fanfare. And for good reason. The operators of gambling games were understandably suspicious of the new law. After all, gambling had been legalized once before, in 1869, and outlawed in 191f. These green-visored, old-line gamblers, who had too often been victims of the whims of
politicians, were not anxious to tempt the wrath of reformers who might just change the politicians' minds again. Anyway, they had been making a perfectly good living in the privacy of their backrooms, and a gambler couldn't ask for a better break than that.

Even in Las Vegas, a railroad stop that had had an unexpected boom with the federal government's decision to build a dam on the Colorado River, the new law caused hardly a ripple. Entrenched Mormon elders still controlled the town, and they looked with disfavor at what the lawmakers had wrought in Carson City. There were few people in Las Vegas, old and new residents alike, who cared to cross swords with the stern Mormons.
The transition from gambling emporiums, known among gamblers as sawdust joints, to the hotel-casino concept and finally, the lavish resort-hotel complex was swift and inevitable. The first phase was accomplished merely by installing casinos in such existing landmark hotels as the Riverside and the Golden in Reno and the Commercial in Elko. It was, in fact, in the northeastern Nevada community of Elko that an imaginative son of an old-time family, Newt Crumley, booked the first of the celebrity entertainment acts that became the trademark of Nevada gambling.
To the astonishment of the budding industry, Crumley built a theater room and brought to remote Elko such nationally famous entertainers as Ted Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Paul Whiteman, and Chico Marx. The experiment was a resounding success, drawing people in hordes not only from Nevada but from such neighboring states as Idaho and Utah. From that day on, big-name entertainment has never been absent from the Nevada scene.


The proposed building site is located in the town of Lamoille, Nevada at the base of the Ruby Mountains. The actual site discription will follow a brief outline of the Ruby Mountains, Lamoille Valley, and the town of Lamoille.
Ruby Mountains
Well removed from the often travelled highways, the Ruby Mountains offer a secluded recreational retreat nearly unsurpassed in North America. From the foothills elevation of 6,000 feet to its 12,000 foot peaks it features a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The many streams that flow year around contain brook trout and rainbow trout and are favorites, of fly and stream fishermen as well as the hardy groups who travel by snowshoe.
Perhaps the greatest use of the Rubies, as they are locally referred to, is for hiking and backpacking. Small mountain lakes are located along its 100 mile long crest and all are abundant with fish. The hiking season starts when the snows begin to melt in mid-June and lasts well into October. The typical user varies from the semi-elderly who hike for a mile or so to view a waterfall, to the devoted backpackers who spend weeks in the wilderness areas. Mountain climbing has recently risen in popularity and many clubs travel to the Rubies to escape the crowds found in more popular areas.

Winter activities include snowmobiling, alpine and cross-country sking, snowshoeing and photography. A ski area has been proposed and the county goverment has already purchased a ski lift although it has not been installed. This project is dependent on the development of a ski area since any development at all is not likely to include a large lodge and resort facility. The mountains are currently used for helicopter skiing and ski touring but the use would certainly increase once the area opened up.
Lamoille Valley
Beginning at the foothills of the Ruby Mountains, Lamoille Valley is about fifteen miles long by four miles in width and is situated about twenty miles from the town of Elko.
The water supply is unlimited. Lamoille, Boulder, and Salt Creeks traverse the valley and empty into the Humboldt River. On the banks of these streams grow cottonwood and quaking-aspen, the open meadows have been cleared for wild hay. Wheat and barley were once raised to a considerable extent but livestock is now the main livelihood for the residents. Melted snow provides the necessary water source and a rather surprising network of irrigation ditches flow through the valley.
Only twenty miles from Elko, Lamoille is linked to Interstate PC by a well maintained paved road. Unce a secluded agricultural area of about ?C0 residents, the character of the town is changing. More and more people have chosen to live in Lamoille and commute to Elko for employment and this small village is slowly turning into a bedroom community for Elko. A number of retired couples have recently moved there from other areas and they are slowly rebuilding and rehabilitating the town. There are currently only three commercial establishments, two bars and one general store which are all located on the main highway frontage. The remainder of the town is residential or residential/agricultural in character. There is no unique architectural element but rather a mixture of non-dcscript simple buildings in disrepair. If any element were stronger then another, it would be an intangible air of rural rustication, perhaps described as "woodsy".

The site chosen is a forty one acre site serveral blocks off the main highway in Lamoille, Nevada. The relationship of the site to the town is shown in the vicinity map which includes all of the public area owned by the Lamoille Mercantile Corporation (city limits). All of the areas surrounding the proposed site are used as grazing pastures. The county road which gives access from the site to the highway is currently unpaved but plans are now being mode to asphalt it.
The site plan shows the legal boundaries and contours of the parcel. The irregular shape is derived from a fence line which became the legal boundary when the parcel was purchased. The land slopes from the south dc^yn to the north at an average slope of 1 18'. Contours are given for the eastern portion only because of the unsuitability of the western portion for building.
There are two main drainages flowing through the site, Lamoille Creek and Waterman Ditch. Lamoille Creek is the natural outflow of Lamoille Canyon, the area of the proposed ski lift, but the legalities of water rights have changed the flow patterns. It is now Waterman Ditch which flows continuously and provides an excellent fishing area while Lamoille Creek is only used to divert irrigation water to downstream users in the spring. Both drainages are lined with large cottonwood trees but most of the site has been cleared for alfalfa and wild hay.
The primary views are to the south where the Ruby Mountains loom up above the foothills. Views in any other direction focus on the surrounding grazing pastures or the heavily wooded areas around the creeks. Although these mountain meadows are not as spectacular as the Rubies, they are magnificent in their own right.
The soil properties are unknown at this point but it appears that the area is part of an alluvial fan deposited by melting glaciers eons ago. The abundance of water on the site and the high water table prevent any below grade construction. Percolation tests on adjacent property yield a high permeability in the sandy soil allowing for septic tank waste disposal.
Considering its proximity to the mountains, the climate is surprisingly benign. Wind is not a significant problem on the valley floor. Although snow in the mountains reaches depths of up to fifteen (15) feet, the average snow depth on the valley floor is about one (1) foot. Normal winter temperature vary from 25 F during the day to -5 F at night. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 90 F during the day but drop to around AO F at night. During the winter months the mountains shade the sun and daylight comes late and sunset arrives early.

The site has already been purchased and is the only alternative to be considered. The owners have given assurance that if the zoning should be incompatible with the use that they intend to obtain a variance. Visits to the site have already shown an abundance of deer and waterfowl as well as evidence of beaver.

o o

all site access this side


Lodging 30 at ACC sq. ft. 12,000
Casino 6,000
Show Room 1,500
Restaurant POO
Banquet Room 1,000
Kitchen 2, COO
Bar 800
Desk 300
Counting Room 300
Administration 1,000
Storage 1,000
Sporting Goods Retail ACC
Employee Lockers 5C0
Laundry (optional) 800
Loading Dock Trash 500
Mechanical 800
Misc. Circulation 1,000
Public Restrooms 000
Total 31,500
Parking for 300 cars 75,000
Ice skating rink (optional) 17,000
The program asks for approximately 3f units at ADD square feet each. The lodging complex may be separate from the casino complex but should certainly try to capture the rustic setting. The rooms need not be elaborate or luxurious and should be either one or two beds only. The lumped ACC square feet allottment is intended to include at least two maid storage rooms per floor and circulation. A small area should be set aside for ice and vending machines. Interior finishes should be warm but rustic.

The 60C0 square feet requirement should include the pits, caqe, slots, and circulation. There is no Keno requirement, but the space should remain as flexible as possible. A minimum amount of columns is suggested. A centra] pit area should be emphasized with raised ceiling or light fixtures. Security will be provided by means of cameras so an expanded plenum is unnecessary. At least three sides of the casino should have no windows.
Intended as a dinner and cocktail show room, this space will be furnished with a stage for entertainment, but it is necessary that the ceiling above the stage be approximately the same elevation as the show room ceiling. The slope of the floor is limited to 1:12. This room is intended to be used mainly at night so daylighting is unnecessary. Seating for 75-100 may be moveable or a combination of fixed/moveable.
A speciality room that will be used to attract the local trade, the restaurant will be open for extended hours. Daylighting can be used and the interior finishes should be simple, consistent, but well thought out. This room should be an excellent place for stained or sandblasted glass. The atmosphere should be kept rustic (exposed mi 11 work) to be appropriate for late night dinners, breakfast, and lunch. The room capacity should be 50-75 people.
Although intended as a convention room, the banquet room will probably be used more for private parties and receptions. The atmosphere should be slightly formal although obscured daylight (clerestories or monitors) can be used. There is no need for room subdivision or additional flexibilty. One or two walls should be left blank for slide projection and presentations. Chair and table storage may be built in.

The suggested 2 C'C'C'- sguare feet should include two walk-in lockers, ample counter space and appliances. Daylighting is essential. Final preparation area should have incandescent luminaires similar to those in the restaurant.
The serving bar should not be excessively long; it is much better to provide crowded seating areas around the bar for overflow. There may or may not be a small stage behind the bar.
The desk should be in a conspicuous location and should have room for at least three employees to work behind. The main function of the desk is to register guests and to give information. There may or may not be a room behind the desk for administration.
The counting room is where the boxes of table and slot reciepts are counted and must have one or two locked doors. It should not be in a public area and yet security surveillance is necessary. It is basically a small room with full length counter space and one coin counting machine.
Offices for the managers, secretaries, and purchasing agent may be placed in a less desirable area. There should be locked doors for security and hopefully daylighting. Allow ample room for business machines and a conference area.
General shelved storage for dry goods and bulk purchase items.
This space is a small retail area for ski rental and general sporting goods retail. The concessionaire will have to provide additional storage if the space is inadeguate. Access from both the casino and the outside is desirable.

A small locker room for the sole use of the employees having lockers for dressing and perhaps toilet facilities.
The laundry room will service both the lodging units and the restaurants and should be located with these two services in mind.


SPACE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 9 It! 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 10 19
I. Lodging # C 0 C 0 C 1 1 1
2. Casino * 2 2 1 C 2 P 2 C 0 2 2 2
3. Show Room * 2 1 2 2 c 2 2 2
A. Restaurant * 1 2 C c l 2 2
5. Banquet # 2 ( c 1 1 T
6. Kitchen * 2 2
7. Bar * 0 1 2 2 1
8. Desk * C 2 2
9. Counting # 1
1C. Administration #
11. Storage * 2
12. Sporting * 2 2
13. Employee *
14. Laundry # P 1
15. Loading #
16. Mechanical * 0
17. Rest Rooms *
10. Main Entrance *
19. 2nd Entrance *
Matrix Key
2 Major Linkage 1 Minor Linkage C Indirect Linkage


The greatest trademark of "modern" casinos has not been the liberal gaming, the entertainment, or sports betting but rather the plethora of exterior lighting. The rationalization of this has been that the lights help lead the customers beyond the entrance and into a very special "never, never land".
This may be true in highly concentrated areas of strong competition such as the "Strip" in Las Vegas or Virginia Street in Reno, but the setting and characteristics of this project are vastly different from those in Las Vegas. There is no competition to speak of and every customer has worked hard to find this secluded hide-a-way. A minimum amount of lighting will be necessary from a security standpoint and a certain amount will be required to distuinguish the building but any additional light should be used to indicate its function and probably should be concentrated on the main public entrance(s).
Parking lot lighting could be decorative standards located about 40-50 feet apart or low standing fixtures located closer together.
Any normally used public walkway as well as the hotel circulation (assuming exterior) should be well lighted.
Use lights in the casino interior to indicate areas of special interest. The proper contrast between brightly lighted areas and very dim ones can help create an atmosphere to suit all tastes. Places of action such as slot machines and "21" tables should stand out with special treatment. Conversly, the low activity areas such as the bar, lounge, straw room and restaurant can be less bright and give the impression that the night will last forever.
Light intensity should be graded even within one type of activity. One dollar slot machines always stand alone so they should be accentuated. Craps tables and roulette need to be isolated from "21" tables and this is easily accomplished by changing luminaires or light intensity.

Structures of this type which arc used 24 hours/day are very load dominant and the primary power load is for lighting and cooling. Daylighting cannot be used in all parts of the building, but where it can be used it is important to try to minimize the solar heat gain. Perhaps the most important place to use daylighting is in the restaurant to help change the atmosphere of the room from night to day. Skylights and clerestories can brighten the room during the day for a less formal setting and can incorporate indirect lighting for nightime use. If stained or sandblasted glass is used in the restaurant it can easily be fitted with its own light source for nightime use. Other rooms that can utilize daylighting are:
Casino not excessively
Kitchen very important
Banguet room can be used day or night
Administration used mostly in daytime
Employee lockers, etc.


The building site is presently located in an area the County of Elko has designated as Agricultural-Residential and the proposed use is incompatible with the current zoning ordinances. However, the owners have given assurance that they can obtain a variance to change the zoning from A-R to General Business and the intended use does not appear to change the intent of supervised growth. There are currently several petitions before the Elko County Planning Commission to change the zoning of this area to allow for planned development in an effort to improve the economic foundation of the community. The zoning constraints presented here reflect that change and are the ones that will govern this project.
Permitted Uses
Includes hotels, motels, general retail, restaurants, parking garages and/or lots, lighted recreational facilites.
Conditional Uses
Includes lighted gaming facilites
Minimum Standards
The site chosen exceeds the minimum size requirements. The setback requirements are 5C feet from any boundary except when the site borders on a major street in which case the 50 feet is measured from the centerline of the street. The height limitation is 3 stories or 35 feet.

Off-Street Parking
Restaurants: One space must be provided for every 21 square feet of assembly area and one space must be provided for each employee on the largest shift.
Hotels, motels: One parking space must be provided for each unit and one space must be provided for each employee.
Theaters, auditoriums: One parking space must be provided for each 21 square feet of assembly area plus one additional space for each two employees.
General business: Five and 1/2 parking spaces per 1L00 square feet of gross floor area must be provided.
Gaming establishments: As decided by the Commission.
Off-Street Loading (Where Required)
The minimum required loading area shall be not less than ten feet in width, 25 feet in length, and have an unobstructed height of not less than 14 feet.
For the purpose of reducing noise and providing visual privacy, screening and/or landscaping shall be required on commercial property when said property adjoins residential property.
Snow Load
30 psf is the required snow load but it is hiohly recommended to provide for 35-4C psf.
Septic Tank
A minimum of two acres is required for each septic tank.


Building Classification
For Lhe purposes of code research assume Lhat the lodging units are either physically separated or else separated by adequate fire barriers from the casino complex. Assuming IS square feet per person, the casino floor requirements should be based on 400 persons and places this area in Division A2.1. Assume the remainder of the building will be classified as A2.1.
Fire Rating
Zoning ordinances require a 50 foot setback from the property line adding an extra 100% in allowable floor area (sec. 506(a).3). If automatic sprinklers are added an additional ICO"' allowable floor area may be added (sec. 506(c)). The actual floor area for the complex less the lodging will be approximately 19,500 square feet. The least constraining allowable type of construction is Type V, 1-hour fire rating. Exterior walls are required to be 1-hour fire rated.
Allowable Height
Type V, 1-hour construction allows a maximum of 2 stories.
Occupant Load
Space Area Factor Load
Lodging 12,000 200 60
Casino 6,000 15 400
Show Rm. 1,500 15 100
Rest. 1300 15 54
Banquet 1,000 15 67
Kitchen 2,000 200 10
Bar 800 15 54
Counting 300 100 3
Admin. 1,000 100 10
Storage 1, COO 300 4
Sporting 400 30 14
Laundry 800 ICC 0
Notes On Group A2.1 Occupancies
Fire resistive ceiling for one story
portions may be omitted provided the
framing system is open to the room.
Guardrails shall be not less than 42" in
height and cannot pass a 6" sphere.
Floors, roofs, and walls must be 1-hour
fire raLed.

One primary entrance must be usable by the physically handicapped. The total width (in feet) of exits required shall be not less than the occupant load/50. The maximum distance of travel from any point to an exit door shall be 150 feet or 2CC feet in. a sprinkled building. Rooms may exit through an adjoining room as long as the total distance is observed and an exit corridor is provided. A double acting door shall not be used as an exit when the occupant load is ICO or more. Doors shall be at least 6'-0 in height and be between 3'-C and 4'-C in width.
Corridors And Exit Balconies
Corridors shall be 44" or more in width and at least 7'-0 in height. Dead end corridors shall not exceed 2C'. Corridor walls may stop at the ceiling.
Risers shall be between 4" and 7 1/2" and the treads shall be not less than ID". Landing dimension and stair widths shall be not less than 44". For stairways greater than 88" in width additional railings are required in the center. Handrails shall be betweeen 30" and 34" above tread nosing.
Romps must be at least 44" in width and must not exceed 1:12 slope and have V-C landing provided for each 5' of rise. Handrails are required just as for stairs.
In areas with fixed seats the aisle width shall be at least 3' when bounded by a wall on one side and 44" when bounded by seating on each side.
Sprinkler Systems
Are required in some areas but will be provided throughout.
Access to Toilets
Normal water closets require 30" clear in front and 24" clear width. At least one water closet for the handicapped must be provided and restroom door must be at least 32" in width. A clear area of 42" in width and 48" in length must be provided in the toilet stall and a S' diameter circle must be able to be inscribed in the restroom.

Casino, Show Room, Restaurant, Banquet, and Bar, 67D persons.
3 water closets 3 urinals 4 water closets
2 lavatories 2 lavatories
5 drinking fountains
Kitchen, Administration, Storage, Sporting Goods, Laundry
2 water closets 2 lavatories 2 water closets 2 lavatories
1 drinking fountain


Davis, Sam P., The History of Nevada. Volume 2 Elms Publishing Company, Reno, Nevada, 1913.
Laxalt, Robert, Nevada A Bicentennial History.
W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., New York,1977.
Lewis, Oscar, Sagebrush Casinos, The Story
of Legal Gambling in Nevada. Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1993.
Reid, Ed and Demaris, Ovid, The Green Felt Jungle. Trident Press, New York, 1963.
Uniform Building Code, 1902.

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