Las Vegas History Timelines II
Added on April 30, 2014, in Las Vegas by Gambling Gurus
Las Vegas History Timelines II | 1935 to 1994
A number of other hotel-casinos soon began construction along what is called ‘the strip’ today. These first Hotel-Casinos were the Hotel Last Frontier, Flamingo Hotel and the Thunderbird. Only the Flamingo Hotel-Casino is still standing today.
The Flamingo Hotel & Casino was built by Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, a famous mobster of the era. This became one of the most popular resorts, attracting many celebrities.
This casino was recognizable by the pink flamingos on the lawn, and this also started the trend of flashy designed casinos on the strip.
Tumbleweeds still blow around the desert while smoke signals from the Native American tee-pees are no longer seen in the area.
1940 – Clark County population was 16,414. the City of Las Vegas population was 8,422. Major development occurred in the 1940s that was almost entirely due to the influx of scientists and staff from the World War II atomic bomb research era. Atomic bomb test watching parties were even thrown at times!
1941 – El Rancho Vegas opens on the Strip. The El Cortez Hotel opens in downtown Las Vegas. The El Rancho was later destroyed by fire 19 years after opening.
1942 – The ‘Last Frontier Hotel’ opens. It was later renamed ‘The New Frontier’ and then finally just the ‘Frontier’.
1944 – Liberace makes his Las Vegas Debut!
1946 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the infamous ‘Flamingo Hotel’ and the State levies the first gaming taxes. Guess they figured they needed to put the ole pinch on Bugsy. Impressive success of the city’s early casino businesses was owed to American organized crime syndicates.
1948 – The Thunderbird Hotel and Casino opens and Clark County buys Alamo Air Field and opens the first major Airport which was later named McCarran International Airport.
1949 – The Las Vegas News Bureau was founded by Maxwell Kelch.
1950 – Clark County’s population grows to 48,289. The City of Las Vegas population grows to 24,624. The Desert Inn Hotel and Casino opened and the Silver Slipper Casino opens for business.
1951 – The world famous ‘Vegas Vic’ (seen in the pic to the right) is erected on the exterior of The Pioneer Club on the corner of First Street and Fremont Street. The Pioneer Club no longer operates as a casino but the 40-foot tall “Vegas Vic” neon cowboy still stands tall there.
Also in 1951, Senator Estes Kefauver begins hearings on organized crime as the first televised senate hearings create a publicity bonanza for Las Vegas and in September 1951, Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert Inn.
1952 – The Sahara Hotel and Casino opened its doors as well as The Sands Hotel and Casino also opened for business.
1955 – Gaming control strengthened and the Gaming Control Board was created within the Nevada Tax Commission by the Legislature. The Riviera and the Royal Nevada Hotel and Casino opened its doors as well as The Dunes Hotel and Casino and The Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino.
1956 – The Hacienda Hotel and Casino opened it’s doors.
1957 – Tropicana Hotel and Casino opens for business.
1958 – The Stardust Hotel and Casino opens.
1959 – The Las Vegas Convention Center opens and the Nevada Gaming Commission is created by the State Legislature.
1960 – Clark County population is now at 127,016 while the City of Las Vegas is at 64,405.
1962 – The Tally Ho Hotel opened and too, The La Concha Motel opened. The La Concha Motel was designed by famed LA Architect Paul Revere Williams.
1963 – Westward Ho Motel Resort opens.
1964 – The Beatles arrived in Las Vegas and performed two sold out shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
1966 – The Aladdin Hotel and Casino and Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino opened for business. Also noteworthy for 1966, eccentric businessman, Howard Hughes arrived at the Desert Inn in Vegas to live in the penthouse. Hughes made his first impact in Las Vegas in the early 1940’s when he bought up the land that is now Summerlin to build an aircraft factory.
1967 – Nevada’s legislature passes a law allowing publicly traded corporations to obtain gambling licenses. The law is refined in 1969 and ‘The New Vegas Era’ begins.
1968 – Circus Circus Casino opens and the hotel follows and opens in 1972.
1970 – Clark County population now stands at 273,288 while the city of Las Vegas is now at 125,787.
1973 – The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino opened and was billed as the “Worlds Largest Hotel”.
1975 – Nevada gaming revenues for the first time break the $1 billion mark!
1977 – Clark County gaming revenues for the first time crack the $1 billion mark. The Nevada Legislature passes a foreign gaming law allowing Nevada based casino owners to operate casinos outside Nevada’s borders.
1980 – Clark County population hits 463,087 as the City of Las Vegas grows to 164,674. Las Vegas also celebrates its 75th birthday. The MGM Grand Hotel is consumed in a fire which is the worst disaster in Las Vegas History! That same year the Hilton Hotel Fire blazes away as well.
1981 – Las Vegas celebrates the Golden Anniversary of Gaming.
1985 – The first National Finals Rodeo is held in Las Vegas.
1989 – Steve Wynn opens The Mirage Casino Resort on November 22, with 3,039 rooms.
1990 – Clark County population has now grown to 741,459 and the City of Las Vegas is at 258,295. The Excalibur Casino and Hotel Resort opened on June 19, and when it opened, Excalibur was the largest hotel in the world with over 4,000 rooms and covering over 70 acres. As of 2009 it was the fifth-largest hotel (by total number of rooms) in Las Vegas, and the seventh-largest hotel in the world. Not to be confused though with the top billing of “The World’s Largest Casino Resort” based on sheer size.
1992 – The first Las Vegas Bowl was held at the Silver Bowl.
1993 – The Flamingo Hilton announced plans to raze Bugsy’s suite and office. The Dunes Hotel was sold to Steve Wynn’s Mirage Inc.; and the north tower and Dunes sign was imploded on October 27th. Total Money Won by Nevada Casinos tops the $6 billion dollar mark for the first time! ITT Sheraton Corp. purchased the Desert Inn Hotel from Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. The Dunes Hotel was imploded on October 27. The Grand Slam Canyon Adventure Dome opened for business on August 23th.
1993 Continued – The Luxor Casino Resort opened for business on October 13 with 2,526 rooms. Treasure Island Hotel opened on October 27th with 2,900 rooms. The MGM Grand Casino Resort and Theme Park opened December 18, with 5,005 rooms and a 171,500 square-foot casino; to date still the largest resort hotel-casino in the world by number of rooms. The current Number of Rooms are 6,852! The Nevada Legislature passes enabling legislation for financing of “The Fremont Street Experience”.
1994 – Buffalo Bill’s in Primm and Boulder Station Casino on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas opened. Plans to construct New York-New York Hotel Casino at the intersection of the Strip and Tropicana Avenue announced jointly by MGM Grand and Primadonna Resorts. Work began on the Fremont Street Experience. Downtown Fremont Street is permanently closed to automobile traffic on September 7. The first scheduled Condor charter flight to Las Vegas from Cologne, Germany lands November 7th at McCarran International Airport.