The 1990s in Nevada were a time of massive growth, major change and notable news. From the birth of mega resorts to the deaths of world-famous entertainers, the Battle Born State broke through numerous barriers in the ‘90s – even the sound barrier.
1. 1990: The Excalibur Hotel & Casino opens on the Las Vegas Strip signaling the start of Sin City's family-friendly era
During the 1990s, additional themed resorts pop up on the Las Vegas Strip including MGM Grand (‘93), Treasure Island (’93), Luxor (’93), Stratosphere (’96), Monte Carlo (’96), New York-New York (’97), Bellagio (’98), Mandalay Bay (’99), Venetian (’99) and Paris (’99).
2. 1990: Sammy Davis Jr. dies, followed by fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin (‘95) and Frank Sinatra (‘98)
The lights on the Las Vegas Strip are dimmed in Sinatra’s honor.
3. 1990: Nevada is the fastest growing state in the country, according to the U.S. census
4. 1990: The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team crushes the Duke Blue Devils, wins coveted NCAA Championship title
The team was led to victory by late coach Jerry Tarkanian. “Tark the Shark” puppets are a temporary craze during the 1990s.
5. 1990: Las Vegas elects its first female mayor, Jan Laverty Jones (now Jan Jones Blackhurst)
6. 1991: The word “Nevada” is added to the state flag
7. 1991: Copper mining sees resurgence in Ely
Magna Copper Co. purchases mining rights for old Kennecott property at Ruth and establishes a state-of-the-art mill for copper mining throughout the 1990s. It shuts down in 1997.
8. 1991: The Tailhook Scandal in Las Vegas brings the U.S. military's misogynistic practices to light
Hundreds of U.S Navy and United States Marine Corps aviation officers become embroiled in sexual assault allegations during a symposium at the former Las Vegas Hilton. The investigation leads to sweeping changes and policy encouraging the advancement of women throughout the U.S. military. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominates the first female U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Sheila E. Widnall (pictured above).
9. 1992: Nevada becomes a little less “radiant,” puts an end to nuclear testing
10. 1992: Whoopie Goldberg stars as a Reno lounge singer disguised as a singing nun in the film, “Sister Act”
11. 1993: Johnny Cash records his own version of the song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” and mentions Winnemucca in the first verse
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12. 1993: The Dunes is imploded with fanfare and fireworks
More implosions follow during the 1990s, including The Landmark (‘95), The Sands (‘96), The Hacienda (‘96) and the Aladdin (’98).
13. 1994: A portion of Fremont Street is permanently closed to traffic, making way for the pedestrian-friendly Fremont Street Experience
14. 1996: Footage from the 1995 implosion of the Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas is used in Tim Burton’s film, “Mars Attacks”
15. 1996: Rapper Tupac Shakur is fatally shot in Las Vegas
16. 1997: Boxing takes a Van Goghesque turn when Mike Tyson bites off Evander Holyfield’s ear during the WBA Heavyweight Championship in Las Vegas
17. 1997: A jet-propelled car sets the first supersonic land speed record, officially breaking the sound barrier in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert
18. 1998: Las Vegas casino mogul Ted Binion’s death is the subject of controversy
One of two suspects in the possible murder is caught digging up a vault in Pahrump containing Binion’s secret silver treasure.
19. 1998: 59 percent of Nevada voters support the legalization of medical marijuana
20. 1999: Former mob attorney Oscar Goodman is elected mayor of Las Vegas
Later that year, his likeness was placed on $5 and $25 casino chips at the Four Queens hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas.