Updated July 11, 2022 - 4:13 pm
Garry Hart talked to his sister, Linda Hart, over speaker Monday afternoon while standing across the street from the storied Hartland Mansion.
“I almost came there to see it because it’s just hard to imagine all this history can just go away in a few minutes,” Linda Hart said, speaking from her home in Connecticut.
“It’s probably best that you aren’t here,” Garry Hart told his sister. “I’m here, documenting it for the family.”
At that moment, a growling backhoe was wiping out what was known for decades as Hartland Mansion on South 6th Street in downtown Las Vegas. The Mansion’s signature outdoor architectural effect — its entry dome — was part of Monday’s demolition. Larry and Garry Hart designed that dome, modeled after the legendary Dunes Dome of the Sea restaurant, as a regal add-on to the property.
The work was being done on the 11th anniversary of the death Hart family patriarch, Ralph Hart. He and his wife, the late Toni Hart, envisioned the Mansion and the parties it would inspire.
The property expired quickly. Longtime Las Vegas entrepreneur Lanny Love of the Adult Superstores chain bought the Mansion in May and has authorized the structure’s inglorious take-down. Love now owns 3.6 acres in that neighborhood, including the Adult Superstore on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The original building was finished in 1940. The Hart entertainment family bought the property — and added to it — in the early 1980s. Garry Hart sold to Gene Campbell of Epic Venues in 2018. Campbell renamed the estate Mansion 54 and continued to hold wedding ceremonies and events at the venue.
Love has not specified her plans for her new acquisition, only to say she is not a property developer. She’s not one for massive close-out sales, either. By the looks of Monday’s demolition, most of the interior’s effects (spiral staircases, decorative light fixtures, even the washer and dryer) are being hauled away.
Hartland Mansion was a party haven for years. CeeLo Green and Gene Simmons of Kiss filmed music videos on the property. Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Ginger Rogers and even Elvis himself were said to have held court in the Mansion. The Harts have even loosely referred to it as the “Elvis Mansion.”
The Mansion’s razing should be completed within three days to a week. Larry Hart is still interested in purchasing the parcel and possibly opening a hotel-casino on the site. A mixed-use high-rise property has been discussed, too, but Love holds all the cards and the deed to the property.
Watching his former residence be chewed apart, Hart said, “It’s progress, and progress means things sometimes get taken down, no matter the history.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.