Category: Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas, also know as Glittergulch, the areas around downtown include East Fremont, Symphony Park, and the Arts District.

On This Date: May 29, 2003 The Closed Moulin Rouge Caught Fire

May 29, 2017
Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge Neon Sign in West Las Vegas

The Moulin Rouge opened on May 24, 1955, built at a cost of $3.5 million. It was the first integrated hotel casino in the United States. Until that time almost all of the casinos on the Strip were totally segregated—off limits to blacks unless they were the entertainment or labor force.

The hotel was located in West Las Vegas, where the black population was forced to live. West Las Vegas was bounded by Washington Avenue on the north, Bonanza Road on the south, H Street on the west, and A Street on the east. The establishment was a model of eye-catching, 110 rooms, a gorgeous showroom, swimming pool, restaurant/coffee shop, dress-shop, and bar which was constructed of highly polished and expensive hardwoods. When it opened, the Moulin Rouge was fully integrated top to bottom, from employees to patrons to entertainers.

The hotel made the June 20, 1955, cover of Life magazine, with a photo of two showgirls. A veritable “A” list of performers regularly showed to party until dawn. Great black singers and musicians such as Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, and Count Basie would perform often. These artists were banned from gambling or staying at the hotels on the Strip.[1] In addition, white performers, including George Burns, Jeanette MacDonald, Tallulah Bankhead, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Frankie Laine, Maurice Chevalier, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker and Frank Sinatra, would drop in after their shows to gamble and perform. Eventually management added a 2:30am “Third Show” to accommodate the crowds.

In November 1955 the Moulin Rouge closed its doors, and by December 1955, the casino had declared bankruptcy. Nevertheless, to maintain its gaming license, the Moulin Rouge (like many closed properties) operates on a temporary basis for a state-mandated minimum of eight hours every two years, most recently on June 19, 2012.

On May 29, 2003, a fire ripped through the buildings, almost entirely gutting the complex.

After 2003 fire, what was left of abandoned hotel, burned down on May 6, 2009.

Photo by: Wikipedia

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On This Date: May 21, 2010, The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Opened

May 21, 2017
Lou Ruvo

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health – Designed by Frank Gehry

The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, officially the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, opened on May 21, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada that is operated by the Cleveland Clinic and was designed by world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry of Gehry Partners in Santa Monica, California.

The Lou Ruvo Center sits on the corner of  West Bonneville and South Grand Central Parkway in Downtown Las Vegas.

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On This Date: May 15, 1905 Las Vegas Was Born

May 15, 2017
Las Vegas Map 1905

Las Vegas Town Site Map in 1905

On May 15, 1905, Las Vegas officially was founded as a city, when 110 acres (600 plots of land) in what would later become downtown, were auctioned to ready buyers.  In two days, the 110-acres bounded by Stewart Avenue and Garces Avenue and Main Street and 5th Street (now Las Vegas Boulevard) were sold.

Union Pacific Steam Train No 844 Visits Downtown Las Vegas

Union Pacific Steam Train No 844 Visits Downtown Las Vegas November 22, 2011

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On This Date: May 6, 1950 Benny Binion opened the Westerner Saloon in Downtown Las Vegas

May 6, 2017
Photograph of the Westerner Gambling House (Las Vegas), circa 1950s

Photograph of the Westerner Gambling House (Las Vegas), circa 1950s

Before the famous Horseshoe, Legendary Texas gambler Benny Binion opened the Westerner Saloon & Gambling House at the location of the former Las Vegas Club, on May 6, 1950. The Westerner Saloon was located next to the Pioneer Club where the famous Vegas Vic neon sign still stands. Minion, then sold the Westerner Saloon in less than a year to buy the Eldorado Club and Apache Hotel where he opened the Horseshoe Club.

The Westerner Saloon & Gambling House had other owners until 1960 when it became Club Bingo.

The Westerner 21-23 Fremont St. Opened 1950 – Closed 1960

Photo by: UNLV Digital Collections

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Legendary Poker Rooms and Hands at Las Vegas Casinos

April 21, 2017

Vegas-Binionstable-WSOPWhen you think about the history of poker, an image of the Wild West and the river boats of the Mississippi might come to mind, not to mention Las Vegas’ most famous casinos!

We could say that most of the best hands of poker have been played at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino since it became the official venue of the World Series of Poker in 2005. Among these, the most memorable hand might be when Jonathan Duhamel collected close to nine million dollars at the Main Event after beating John Racener. However, other legendary casinos of Las Vegas have also seen great players at their tables make poker history.

The Bellagio, which is frequently visited by stars like Johnny Chan, Ted Forrest or Daniel Negreanu, who was even awarded the title of Greatest Ever Poker Hand in 2013, has hosted some memorable games and is often nicknamed “the office or home base” by the world’s top players who spend much of their time there when they visit Las Vegas.

Some of the city’s highest stakes are played during the Big Game, which is held at the renowned Bellagio’s Bobby’s Room, named after Bobby Baldwin. World Poker Tour events have also been hosted here and perhaps the most famous of these was when Tom Marchese won the $100k High Roller for $1.3 million in 2012. In fact, this New Jersey player has earned close to $12 million playing this game in Las Vegas. Carlos Mortensen has also played some legendary hands at this emblematic hotel on the strip during WPT editions. The Bellagio also welcomes amateur players, so if you visit it and feel like playing make sure you know the poker rules first and check out its website, where you will find a guide explaining all you need to know about its casino.

Of course that the former Binion’s Horseshoe, the Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel has to be included among legendary rooms and poker games. Formerly run by the unforgettable Benny Binion, it is the place where the first World Series of Poker was ever played almost half a century ago, with Carl Cannon, Crandell Addington, “Amarillo Slim” Preston, Doyle Brunson, Sailor Roberts, Puggy Pearson and Johnny Moss making it to the final table. This event alone makes the Binion’s poker room noteworthy so make sure that if you’re around Vegas you pay a visit to this spot. Although little is left of the original room, you can still take your picture with the famous 1 million dollar display that the Binion’s is also known for.

The Aria Poker Room is another more recent yet well-known spot that is often visited by top players. It has an exclusive space inspired by Phil Ivey – it is called the Ivey – which hosts $300/$600 mixed games. In spite of not being as historic as other casinos in the city, it currently hosts some of the most emblematic daily poker tournaments in Vegas, some of which will probably be remembered in the future as the best poker hands of this decade.

In addition these legendary venues, The Wynn, whose room opened with Negreanu as its poker ambassador, Caesar’s Palace, Venetian – which offers an ample selection of low limit games – and The Mirage are also among the venues that have hosted great poker games throughout their history and that are well worth a visit.

Photo Source: Wikimedia

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On This Date : March 20, 1931 The first gaming license issued in Las Vegas

March 20, 2017
The Northern Club on Fremont St. was the first establishment to be issued a gaming license in Clark County

The Northern Club on Fremont St. was the first establishment to be issued a gaming license in Clark County in 1931.

After the legalization of gaming in Nevada, the Northern Club received received the first gaming license in Las Vegas on March 20, 1931.  The Northern Club was located in downtown Las Vegas on 15 East Fremont Street. The license was issued by Clark County and was the first gaming license issued to a woman, Mayme Stocker.

Originally opened in the 1900’s as the Las Vegas Coffee House, Mayme Stocker renamed it the Northern Club in 1920 offering liquor and gaming while both were illegal.

The Northern Club casino was renamed in 1945 as the Monte Carlo Club by Wilbur Clark. In The Late 1970’s it was again renamed to the Coin Castle which later became the La Bayou Casino and is still in operation today.

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