I decided to start off the New Year looking back at what we lost when the Las Vegas real estate market took off and some of the iconic hotels that made our city famous were sacrificed on the alter of development. Many of the famous names from the 1950s that hosted the Rat Pack or infamous mobsters like Jimmy Hoffa and Bugsy Siegel have been torn down to make way for the new Las Vegas high rise condos projects that line the Las Vegas Strip .
Some of my own fond memories of the Ghosts of Casinos past:
** The Landmark Hotel was the first casino I ever dropped a nickel into a slot in 1979. I walked away a winner with an extra $2.15.
** I saw my very first Las Vegas show at the Stardust Hotel, The Lido de Paris, also in 1979. At that time Siegfried and Roy were just one of the variety acts sandwiched in between the lavish costume numbers (along with Bobby Berosini and his Orangutans and the magnificent Lipizzaner horses), and no show since has ever measured up to that first magical extravaganza.
** Later I got to see Siegfried and Roy when they first opened up at the Frontier Hotel.
** During my early years in Las Vegas I worked for a tourist center on the Strip next door to the Aladdin Hotel where my co workers and I used to hang out almost every night after work. It was a great place to people watch and periodically we would see celebrities or "suspicious" looking tough guys.
** My husband worked at the Sands in the dice pit until right before it closed.
And I will never forget the night they imploded the Dunes. I had just gone to see my first ever hockey game, The Las Vegas Thunder, at the Thomas and Mack Center. The enthusiastic fans
were yelling and cheering after an exciting win with lots of body checking action and some bench clearing brawls. But as we came out the exits, the news swelled among the crowd that they were about to bring down the Dunes. A solemn hush came over 15,000+ raucous hockey fans as the Dunes fell gracefully to the ground in the City's first ever implosion.
So for the nostalgia buffs amongst us, here is a link to the implosions of some of the most majestic casinos to ever grace the Las Vegas skyline. Las Vegas Hotel Implosions Viva Las Vegas and we will never forget you!