Wendell Tobler's parents were in the supermarket business long before he decided to build the Rancho Inn. In fact one of the remaining Rancho grocery stores is still in business on Las Vegas Blvd between Ogden and Fremont. (It closed down sometime after Jim posted this article)
In 1954, Wendell built a supermarket on what remained of the Callahan Ranch. In fact a hitching post and water trough were removed to make way for this new supermarket. In 1956, the Rancho Inn was built next door on the South side of the supermarket.
Cal Lombarbi leased gaming space from Wendell when the Rancho Inn first opened. At this time, I am not sure how long the space was leased or whether the Rancho Inn's gaming area operated at the same time. However, the Rancho Inn had one crap table, two blackjack games plus a few slots. It was a very small place in relation to today's standards. Probably no bigger than the average living room and kitchen combined. It was operated on an unrestricted license until the early 1960's when the roof caught fire and it burned down, taking most of its gaming chips with it. At this time, I cannot tell you when the fire took place. All I can relay is it was before 1966. I attempted to get a double confirmation but had no luck!
Sometime between 1956 and the fire Wendell's son was shot and killed in a holdup that took place in one of the supermarkets or the Rancho Inn. Again, I cannot get any confirmation on where exactly the holdup took place.
About 20 years ago a local Las Vegas chip dealer managed to obtain two boxes of the 50 cent chips that were never used on the gaming tables. The $1.00 and $5.00 chips are difficult to obtain in any condition because so few remained after the fire. There were never any chips from the Rancho Inn that carried the HS R.I. The 25 cent and 50 cent did carry the HS RI. It is my opinion that less than 100 of each, the $1.00 and $5.00 survived the fire. As far as the 25 cent chips, I have no idea where they are or who has them.