Designer Michael Travis (extreme left), designer Anna Nateece, Cary James (Liberace’s lover), Liberace (seated, and informally dressed, after returning from the dentist), and Terry Clarkston (Liberace’s chauffeur and protege), circa 1985, inside the Dunes Hotel. Courtesy of Anna/Michael Nateece.
Indy sprint cars raced on the Joe W. Brown dirt track where the International Hotel (later Hilton and now the LVH) was built in the 60s. The same track also served as Las Vegas Park for horse racing, but the sport never met the town’s (or project financier’s) expectations. Courtesy of Bo Boisvert
This is the front of Fashion Show Mall on February 15, 1981 (one day after its grand opening). If these people were walking here today, they’d be under the 479′ x 160′ Cloud canopy and projection screen. The Sands can be seen in the background. Courtesy of
Who’s cooler than these two? Bridget Bardot and Gunter Sachs, shortly after marrying here on July 14, 1966. Courtesy of Bo Boisvert
Jackie Gaughan passed away today at 93 year of age. His leadership helped form our town. Mid-career, he, Sam Boyd, Frank Scott, and Howard Cannon built the Union Plaza at the location of the Union Pacific Railway Station in 1971, the epicenter of Vegas at the time. Thanks Jackie! Photo courtesy of UNLV Special Collectoins
Anthony Spilotro, nicknamed The Ant, was an enforcer for the Chicago Outfit here in Las Vegas during the 70s and 80s. He and his crew were responsible for monitoring ‘the skim’ for the Outfit and other Midwestern Mob investors. In 1976, Spilotro and his brother formed “The Hole in the Wall Gang”, which was named so because they would drill holes in the walls and ceilings of the places they robbed to gain access. This and other nefarious activity ran him afoul with both the law, and more importantly, with top Mob management, which resulted in his death in January 1986. Here he is seen with his attorney, Oscar Goodman, who would go on to become Mayor of Las Vegas in 1999. Courtesy of UNLV Special Collections/North Las Vegas Library
Bruno Bernard (aka Bernard of Hollywood) shoots twins on a sled on Mt. Charleston. Bernard had a doctorate in philosophy from Keil University in Berlin, but fled there in 1937 since his name as on a Nazi hit list for being the secretary of a Jewish youth organization. Once stateside, his skills in photography increased after he worked with pinup artist Alberto Vargas. Bernard adopted the same artistic techniques, only to photos. He fought obscenity charges for his work which often bordered in soft pornography. He had a local office here in Las Vegas and took thousands of celebrity shots here over the years. Courtesy of Frank Valeri
Oran Gragson road the rails from Oklahoma during the depression to work on the dam. His wife Bonnie, also pictured, had no interest in Las Vegas, but Gragson coaxed her to stay. He built up a furniture store on Main St. from 1939 to 1959, but when the police force began robbing the store using a duplicate key, he made a run for mayor. He served from 1960 to 1976, the longest term ever for a Las Vegas mayor, and ushered in great civil rights reforms for the town, and presided over Las Vegas when casinos began to be owned by corporations and the mob influenced waned. Photo courtesy of Bo Boisvert.
The EPA set up a test farm around 100 miles north of Las Vegas to learn how nuclear testing fallout had affected the soil in the area. Here’s a shot of the farm from 1972.
David Lee Guss won the photo contest as selected by visitors to our First Friday exhibit. For this effort, he’s been awarded a $100 gift certificate to Artistic Iron Works. Thanks David, and thanks to all who entered!