Wendel has had many names over the years. In the 1860s, it was referred to as Upper Hot Springs to distinguish from the Lower Hot Springs. In 1890, when the Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad (NCO) extended its line to Amedee, the Lower Hot Springs took on the name of town established next to it. Upper Hot Springs simply became known as Hot Springs. In 1899, the NCO extended its line further north and at Hot Springs established a new station named Boyd. When T.F. Dunaway became General Manager of the NCO in 1900, he renamed the Boyd station to Smithon. Two months later, in January 1901, he again renamed it to Hot Springs. It would be another fourteen years before the place became known as Wendel.