The History of the Nellie E. Saloon (Desert Bar Parker, AZ)
The Nellie E. Saloon (Desert Bar) is situated in the Buckskin Mountains, on land that was an old mining camp. The camp was located on the portion of land that is now the parking lot. When Ken aquired the land in 1975, there was nothing left of the mining camp. With the land and a liquor license from an old business on leased river land, Ken decided to give the bar in the desert a try. In 1983, Ken opened for business in the temporary three-sided structure which is across from the restrooms. He operated there for the next five years, until the current saloon was constructed. The name, Nellie E, originates from the old mining claim. They used to mine copper, and then take it to the smelter and get gold.
When Ken opened the Desert Bar in Parker, Arizona he hauled water in a 50-gallon tank loaded on the back of his truck. then he purchased an old fire truck which he used to haul water. In 1989, he started using a well in the canyon as his water source. In the summer of 1997, Ken drilled a new well on the North side of the saloon that operates on solar power, with the pump set at 360 feet.
The fire truck in the parking lot was aquired from Scott Winter in March 2001. The fire truck was used by Scott's father during the development of Blue Water Lagoon.
The Nellie E was completed in 1988. The inside of the saloon is unique in many ways. It has windows that are old glass refrigerator doors and the bar stools are made of steel and sway from side to side. The top of the bar is brass, and the ceiling is made of stamped tin purchased from a factory in Missouri. The saloon is powered by solar, stored in batteries and run through inverters.
The bridge was the next big project built in 1991 and dedicated in October of the same year. the church was started in 1993, completed in 1996, and dedicated in October 1996. the church is made of solid steel and the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used in the saloon. The names inscribed on the plaques in the church are people who donated money to help build the church. The church is a unique place for weddings, and a great photo spot. There are no services held in the church and all religions are welcome.
Across from the saloon is an outside bar and cooking area. The tall structures you see on the property, including Ken's house located across from the parking lot, are cooling towers. They work similiar to an evaporative (swamp) cooler, except that they don't have a fan. When you wet the pads on top, cool air falls and you get a nice cool airflow.
Beside the outside bar is a horseshoe pit, on the side of the bar is a stage for live music. They have live music October through March, depending on the weather. Music is on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Nellie E Saloon in Parker, AZ known by most as simply the Desert Bar is located 5 miles off the cienaga Springs Rd. exit on Hwy 95, approximately 5 miles North of the town of Parker, AZ. They are open Labor Day weekend through Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, high noon to sunset, and most holidays. The bar is closed for the summer. They are open one night only, New Years Eve, if it falls on a weekend. Dueing the President's Day weekend in February, they host the Desert Dash, which is a 5K run/walk and a 5-mile bike ride to the bar for charity. Thanksgiving weekend they are open Thursday through Sunday with music on Friday and Saturday.
Ken has big plans for a future town, so be sure to visit every year. He is always working on a new project.
The bar is closed during the week, so PLEASE no visitors and obey the No Trespassing signs.
FULL BAR AND GRILL- TAKE WATER!-DRIVE SAFE!-ID REQUIRED