Author Archives: lasvegashistorymuseum

Remember Bob Bailey #VegasHistory

Civil rights leader and entertainer Bob Bailey died Saturday at 87 of Parkinson’s. At 16, he graduated high school. When he was performing with his local band while studying at Morehouse in Atlanta, Benny Goodman discovered him and got him in touch with Count Bassie to be a featured singer for his band after graduating there. The new medium of television enchanted him, and he studied it in New York, but couldn’t find work even as a gofer due to his skin color. But, in 1955 he got his break at emcee and entertainment director at the Moulin Rouge, where he’s shown here at the top right. Hank Greenspun worked with him to emcee and produce a show for KLAS, finally getting him into TV. In the 1960s, he worked with Grant Sawyer to push to end formalized segregation/Jim Crow policies in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy UNLV Special Collections.

Congratulations to our Helldorado Winners #VegasHistory

Congratulations to Bo Boisvert for garnering the most votes of the photos submitted for Helldorado Days with his photo of cowboy actor Mike Steele in front of the Lucky Motel on East Fremont at the Helldorado Parade, circa 1957. Bo earned a $250 gift certificate to Yellowtail and a $500+ visit to The Bank.

And, Linda DiGiovanni was the winner of our random drawing for those who submitted photos. $150 gift certificate to Artistic Iron Works for her.

Vote on Helldorado photos #VegasHistory

This week is Helldorado week. We’ve gotten a few nice shots out of people’s shoe boxes and into our history. Vote for the one(s) you like here (sorry for requiring you to manually cut/paste this link)…

The photo with the most votes gets a big night out at Bellagio’s Yellowtail restaurant and The Bank nightclub courtesy of the Light Group. Plus, a random winner gets a $150 gift certificate to Artistic Iron works.




Celebrating Las Vegas’ birthday month #VegasHistory

Happy 109th birthday, Las Vegas! Tomorrow, May 2, we’re having a Cinco de Mayo/First Friday/Las Vegas birthday party. Come on by our office at 1114 S. Main St. Ste. 120 to say ‘hello’ if you’re in the area.

NHS-CL-627 Las Vegas Townsite Auction, Clark County, Nevada, May 15, 1905.  Selling  the lots that would become Las Vegas.  Credit:  Nevada Historical Society.  Glossy 5x7" gelatin silver copy print scanned with Epson Perfection V500.

On Monday, May 15, of 1905, just before 10am, Las Vegas was born when 6’6″ railroad attorney and Las Vegas Land and Water Company President C.O. Whittenmore introduced Los Angeles auctioneer Ben E. Rhodes, just north of the current entrance to the Plaza Hotel. The area up for auction was called Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite, and had been bought by U.S. Senator William Clark in 1902 from Helen Stewart to form a railroad town to support steam engines en route from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. Many folks had come from Los Angeles flush with cash, and had camped on her ranch or in tent ‘hotels’ for days for the opportunity to bid. Many lots sold for 4x the anticipated price. Highest-price lots were for the 3 parcels where the Golden Gate for $1.750, and an equal amount for the 3 parcels where Las Vegas Club now stand. The auction had to be cut short due to the heat at 3pm due to the heat which topped 110 degrees. Sales continued at scheduled prices at 8am the next day, totaling $265,000.

Got old Helldorado photos like this one? Help us and the Elks build an archive #VegasHistory

frank first televised helldorado

Here’s a photo from the first televised Helldorado parade, May 18, 1958, courtesy of Frank Valeri

Got old Helldorado photos (of the parade, rodeo, Whiskerino, etc.) for which you own the rights, or know someone who does? Las Vegas Historical Society is working with the Elks to put together a photo display next month for Helldorado Days. Entries will be entered into a photo contest with yet-to-be-determined prizes.

How Jayne Mansfield looked when she grocery shopped #VegasHistory

Jayne Mansfield was not shy when it came to photo ops in Las Vegas, gratefully. Here she shops! Appearing in Playboy and becoming a major Broadway star in 1955, a major Hollywood star in 1956, and a leading celebrity in 1957, she went on to have a nightclub/strip tease act at Tropicana Hotel with her husband (and previous Mr. Universe contest winner) Mickey Hargitay. Courtesy of SparkleJamesSparkle @ Tumblr.