Not every historic casino in the Las Vegas Valley is imploded. Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino, the oldest operating casino in Nevada, plans to celebrate its 80th anniversary Monday.
"We escaped the implosions," said Keith McDonald, a spokesman with Railroad Pass, 2800 S. Boulder Highway. "We were the fourth licensed (casino) in Nevada. The first (license ) was a test run, and the other two have gone under, leaving us the longest-operating casino."
Railroad Pass's history dates to 1890, when a railroad was proposed as a shortcut from Las Vegas to Searchlight.
Even though that railroad was never built because the mines were not producing enough gold to make the project worthwhile, the name stuck.
According to Mark Hall-Patton, administrator with the Clark County Museum, the first dirt road was made in 1929 even though the area had been used as a passage between the Eldorado Valley and the Las Vegas Valley.
"This was done to facilitate travel to the Colorado River in anticipation of construction on the Hoover Dam," Hall-Patton said.
A different railroad project was built by Union Pacific in 1931, connecting the U.S. government r ailroad that went into Boulder City.
That same year, developments such as the first gas station opened. The gas station opened Feb. 12 and was destroyed by a fire in 1935.
On June 4, 1931, construction began on a 6,000-foot dance hall and casino, which was to be named Railroad Pass Club .
The casino was l icensed July 7, 1931, and opened Aug. 1.
Progress continued as a new gravel road through Railroad Pass leading to Boulder City opened Sept. 11, 1931.
Hall-Patton said the area even had its own school district until a 1956 law merged all smaller school districts into one. From 1942 to 1945, Basic High School in Henderson was referred to as Railroad Pass High School.
Even though the casino had several owners from 1936 to 1975 and even faced closure more than once, it has survived the test of time.
"We have made the typical changes over the years," McDonald said.
Railroad Pass was incorporated into MGM Resorts International in May 2005.
The casino has 120 hotel rooms, 331 slot machines and six table games today.
McDonald said that at 11 a.m. Monday , the casino plans to host an anniversary celebration . The nine other MGM Resorts International properties, including Mandalay Bay and MGM, are slated to make a cake in honor of the anniversary.
McDonald said VIP guests are expected to judge which cake is the best.
"We will also be serving our famous strawberry shortcake," McDonald said.
For more information, visit railroadpass.com.
Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-5201.