The Las Vegas Strip began its life as Route 91, which explains the name of one of its first nightclubs: the 91 Club. Back in the 1940s 91 Club struggled to compete with Downtown, and visitors weren’t attracted to squandering their spare time on what was regarded as the Los Angeles Highway. This moved on with the opening of El Rancho Vegas in April 1941. This casino hotel, developed by a man called Thomas Hull, included shops, restaurants, shows, horse riding, a pool, and sixty-three rooms. It was the start of the modern Strip as we know it. The way to mega-resorts delivering rooms, restaurants, entertainment, sport and finally Las Vegas Strip Condos was in motion. You can check next
Following in T, Hull’s career path was developer R.E. Griffith who purchased 175 acres on the highway and built the Last Frontier. Upon opening in the October of 1942 this was Las Vegas’s first themed casino and its homage to the wild west proved popular. The Carrillo Bar was named after the sidekick to the Cisco Kid, and there were stuffed animals all over the hotel.
Next was a hotel that individuals erroneously consider was the beginning of the Strip. Billy Wilkerson, owner of the Hollywood Reporter, bought 33 acres south of the Last Frontier in 1945 and commenced construction of the Flamingo in April of 1945. Wilkerson had Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway as partners despite their connections to organized crime, but the major problem was that he was a degenerate gambler. He bet on the building itself when he began it without sufficient money to finish it, and he also lost thousands of dollars of his money as he gambled in casinos during the period of construction. The project ran out of funds, and crime boss Meyer Lansky came in with $1m to invest.
Soon after Lansky’s cash contribution one of his representatives, Benjamin Siegel, arrived to oversee the investment. Bugsy Siegel first divided the development with Wilkerson, and then moved on to take the whole thing over. But Bugsy was no real estate investor, and budget overruns and design changes resulted in a delayed opening in December 1946. It launched without the rooms being finished and hence the casino could not generate the funds to pay for operations: the Flamingo shut just one month following its opening.
It was in March 1946 that the Flamingo reopened with 93 rooms complete. It pretty quickly started to produce profit, but it appears that the mafia had not let slip from memory the cost overruns: in June 1946 Bugsy was murdered, and Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway stepped in to run the business. In the tale of Las Vegas it is easy to forget the acclaim owed to the real pioneers: Thomas Hull and R.E. Griffith. In the story of the Flamingo it is very easy to forget the importance of Billy Wilkerson’s initial vision, and the operational smarts of Greenbaum and Sedway. For many people it will always be Bugsy who created the Las Vegas Strip.