Nevada August 25, 2017
Most People Don’t Know The History Behind The Las Vegas Strip In Nevada
The words “Las Vegas Strip” evoke many images in one’s mind: neon lights, skyscrapers, huge hotels and casinos, and traffic. However, many people don’t really know the long and illustrious history behind the Las Vegas Strip. Please allow me to provide a little lesson. This is a long one, folks, so make some popcorn and enjoy.
The first resort and casino on the Strip was the El Rancho Vegas. Opened on April 3, 1941, this hotel had 63 rooms.
The Hotel Last Frontier was the second on the Las Vegas Strip, opening on 30 October 1942 with 105 rooms. Here, a picture of the Hotel Last Frontier's gas station circa 1940's.
Janice Waltzer/Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps the most famous of the early Strip hotels is the Flamingo that opened on 26 December 1946.
Originally called the Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino, this $6 million, 40-acre, 105-room resort was mobster Bugsy Siegel's baby; however, a mere two weeks after its grand opening, the Pink Flamingo closed. It reopened on 1 March 1947 as the Fabulous Flamingo.
Today, the Flamingo Las Vegas is owned and operated by Harrah's Entertainment.
This historical property provides a whopping 3,626 hotel rooms and a 77,000-square foot casino. Oh, and an amazing
you must visit. If that's not enough of a draw, Bugsy's ghost is said to haunt the hotel.
Following the opening of the Thunderbird and Desert Inn hotels, the first major Strip casino - the Silver Slipper - was constructed in September, 1950, on the grounds where the Hotel Last Frontier previously stood.
The Silver Slipper was originally named the Golden Slipper Saloon and Gambling Hall (because there was already another Silver Slipper at the time.) After the original Silver Slipper was purchased and closed, the hotel changed its name. In 1968, Howard Hughes purchased the Silver Slipper because he feared that the toe of the rotating shoe was spying on his Desert Inn penthouse. Following repeated attempts to get the shoe taken down, he simply purchased the hotel and sealed the shoe with concrete. The casino was demolished on 29 November 1988. Today, the slipper adorns Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.
The 1950s were a busy time for the Las Vegas Strip.
Following construction of the Desert Inn (where the Wynn stands today) and Silver Slipper, the Strip welcomed the Sahara (now the SLS), the Sands (imploded and replaced by the Venetian), the Riviera (closed in 2015), the Dunes (imploded and replaced by the Bellagio), the Hacienda (imploded and replaced by Mandalay Bay), the Tropicana, and the Stardust (imploded in 2006 after continuously operating for 48 years.)
The remains of the Hacienda before construction began on Mandalay Bay, 1997:
An aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip, circa 1960s:
The Las Vegas Strip circa 1970s:
Another aerial view of the Strip in 1978. Points of interest include the Galaxy Motel, Churchill Downs Shopping Center, Liquor Locker, Little Caesar's Casino, Marina Hotel Casino, Royal Palms Motel, and Hacienda Hotel Casino - none of which stand today.
The Las Vegas Strip, circa 1980s. It's amazing to see how much it has changed over the years.
The Strip's first motel (and largest motel in the world) was the Westward Ho on the northern end of the strip across from the Sahara. The Westward Ho's interior was used for the film Leaving Las Vegas and, subsequently, closed on November 17, 2005.
The Las Vegas Strip, circa 1990.
Construction never ceases on the Strip with new hotels and attractions seemingly appearing weekly.
Among the newest Strip hotels are the Linq (2014), Delano (2014), SLS (2014), Cromwell (2014), Nobu (2013), Cosmopolitan (2010), Aria (2009), and Encore (2008). Additionally, other originals have undergone renovations such as the Tropicana that enjoyed a $180 million revamp in 2011.
In addition to the Tropicana and Flamingo, other long-time hotels which remain today include Caesars Palace, constructed on 6 August 1966 and which is currently undergoing another multi-million dollar renovation...
...and Circus Circus, built in 1972, which has also been oft-renovated, including construction of its epic
Adventuredome amusement park.
The Las Vegas Strip today:
As you can see, the Las Vegas Strip has enjoyed quite a long and prolific history. From its gangster roots to its current world-class accommodations, the Strip has undergone considerable change.
For me, having been coming to Las Vegas since I was seven (and now living here), I have witnessed so many changes myself. At least the
I would love to read about your experiences with the Las Vegas Strip. Please comment below.