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.
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.
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. http://lasvegashistoricalsociety.org/submit-photos
Street performers have battled the city for years for their right to showcase their talents, or at least their look. The real KISS has embraced our town with frequent performances and owns KISS Monster Mini Golf on the South Strip. Photo courtesy of Mathias Hielscher
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.
Mickey Rooney ties the knot on September 10, 1966 to Marge Lane in Las Vegas. His son Tim, is also present. Courtesy of Bo Boisvert.
Jimmy Hoffa and his party at the opening of Caesar’s Palace in 1966. Caesars founder Jay Sarno relied heavily on Hoffa’s Teamsters’ pension fund to make it happen. Courtesy of UNLV Special Collections.
Shirley MacLaine and Dean Martin on the sound stage filming Ocean’s 11 at Sahara Hotel. Courtesy of Frank Valeri
After helping President Kennedy get elected in 1960, Governor Grant Sawyer was taken aback when he learned from Nevada Attorney General Roger Foley that US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy/FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover planned to conduct raids on Vegas casinos looking for Mob connections. Sawyer also wanted to rid the state of Mob influence, but didn’t want to break the law with such a lacking-of-probably-cause dragnet. After serving two terms, Sawyer went on to be a founding partner with Las Vegas law firm Lionel Sawyer Collins.
The Lockheed booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the early 1960s. The rep holds a camera which allows a video transmission onto the adjoining black and white television.
Sending a postcard of your home is unusual, but Cary James, Liberace’s last lover, sent this post card to Anna Nateece, as he was being evicted from Liberace’s Palm Spring’s home. Cary most likely contracted HIV from Liberace, and Liberace wanted to support Cary after Liberace died in 1987. According to Anna, The Liberace Foundation’s trustee was changed just prior to Liberace’s death, and didn’t honor Liberace’s wishes to take care of Cary long term. Anna stayed very close to Terry until his death in 1996. Courtesy of Anna Nateece.