On This Date: September 2, 1948, The Thunderbird Hotel Opened on the Las Vegas Strip

September 2, 2017
Thunderbird Las Vegas

Thunderbird Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip (1950’s)

On September 2, 1948, the Thunderbird Hotel (1948-1976) was the fourth resort to open on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort had a Native American theme and featured portraits, a Navajo-based restaurant, the only bowling alley ever on the Strip, and a showroom.

The Thunderbird has the distinction of being the resort where singer Rosemary Clooney made her first appearance in Las Vegas in 1951, and where Judy Garland made her final Vegas appearance in 1965.

The Silverbird (1977-1981) opened on January 1, 1977. Four years later, Major Riddle sold the resort to Ed Torres, who also owned the Aladdin Hotel and Casino. Torres renamed the Silverbird to the El Rancho, named after the nearby El Rancho Vegas, which burnt down in 1960.

On August 31, 1982, the El Rancho Casino opened its doors.  Rodney Dangerfield opened the “Rodney’s Place” comedy club inside the El Rancho in 1982.

The El Rancho Casino closed on July 6, 1992 and on October 3, 2000, the old resort was imploded.

El Rancho

El Rancho once was the Thunderbird then the Silverbird

Photo by (Thunderbird): http://digital.library.unlv.edu:81/u?/sky,2171

Photo by (El Rancho): Wikipedia.org

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