Hotel spans decades as downtown fixture

From its roots as Hotel Nevada in 1906 to the property it is today, the Golden Gate, 1 Fremont St., has seen Las Vegas undergo major changes, especially downtown. The hotel has been through changes of its own, from the property’s name to renovations planned to be completed this month.

Mark Brandenburg, president and co-owner of the Golden Gate, said the hotel’s history makes it different among others downtown.

“Going back to the roots makes Golden Gate something very unique,” Brandenburg said. “The Golden Gate is the original Las Vegas hotel and casino. It gives a special meaning for us to be able to look back and preserve Las Vegas history.”

Land at 1 Fremont St. sold for $1,750 in 1905. The Hotel Nevada’s doors opened in 1906 with room and board costing customers $1 per day. The first telephone in Las Vegas was installed at Hotel Nevada in 1907 with the number “1.”

“When you think about the Golden Gate, it’s Las Vegas’ oldest building,” said Derek Stevens, one of the hotel’s majority owners. “It has that 1 Fremont St. address and the first telephone. These are things that are unique and can’t be replicated.”

In 1909, gambling was outlawed in Nevada. When it was re-legalized in 1931, the manager, John F. Miller, expanded and re named the hotel to Sal Sagev, which is Las Vegas spelled backward .

“With the hotel expansion going on, J.F. Miller changed the name, because at that point, he wanted something more specific to the city,” Brandenburg said. “It brought gambling back to the hotel.”

The Sal Sagev name stood until 1955, when partners from San Francisco took over the casino and renamed it Golden Gate for the Golden Gate Bridge. Italo Ghelfi, one of the original partners and Brandenburg’s stepfather, ran the casino for almost 40 years. Brandenburg said his stepfather and his partners thought of the hotel as a gateway to Las Vegas.

Ghelfi and his partners, however, brought more than a name change to downtown’s oldest hotel. In 1959 he instituted the Golden Gate’s famous shrimp cocktail, which was served in a large sundae glass with Ghelfi’s original cocktail sauce.

“My stepfather was from the Bay Area, and he liked to think about food,” Brandenburg said. “He tried to think about something different from the desert and wanted to do something different in a big way. He thought about Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and started selling the shrimp cocktail.”

The shrimp cocktail sold for 50 cents for 32 years. Brandenburg said the price increased to 99 cents in 1991, when the hotel was losing $300,000 a year on its shrimp cocktails. Customers can purchase the cocktail for $1.99 today at the hotel’s San Francisco Shrimp Bar & Deli.

Other than the price of the shrimp cocktail and its past names, the Golden Gate has seen little change – that is, until its recent renovations. The hotel still has its original 106 rooms, but two penthouses and 14 suites are slated to open this month. A new hotel lobby, elevators and bars also are featured additions in the renovation.

“Mark and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the key elements with these renovations are,” Stevens said. “We have the old slot machines, the old bottles of booze, which are part of the cool, rich history we want to maintain and show off. There are certain amenities that are more 2012. I think it gives us the ability to provide (frequent) customers with the history they enjoy and modern-day amenities while bringing new customers downtown.”

Brandenburg said although the Golden Gate is receiving a face-lift, its history will continue to be visible in the new additions.

“I think we’re presenting aspects of unique architectural design themes that really span the century (in which) the hotel has been here,” Brandenburg said. “We’re getting ready to start a new era. This is the year of downtown. People are talking about the downtown renaissance, and we’re here to remind people that renaissance means the rebirth of a classic.”

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at or 383-4686.

NFR dirt is the most important part of the rodeo
NFR has bull riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and bareback riding but one of the most important part of the rodeo according to construction maintenance manager Allen Rheinheimer is the dirt that they all take place in. Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney chats with Rheinheimer and ground man John Jamison to get an inside look at the dirt in Thomas & Mack at the National Finals Rodeo.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 8 Highlights
Highlights from round 8 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR - Wyatt Denny Talks About Representing Nevada
NFR Bareback Rider Wyatt Denny talks to host Cassie Soto about being the only Nevada representative in the NFR this year and his skiing talent.
Junior NFR Offers Breakaway Roping for Girls
Unlike the NFR at the Thomas and Mack Center, the Junior NFR at the Las Vegas Convention Center offers breakaway roping for girls 19-and under. This event allows the young women of rodeo one more event to participate in, aside from barrel racing.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-Cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
NFR Time Lapse 2018
Watch Thomas & Mack Center transform from a basketball court to an arena fit for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Events.
RJ's Mark Anderson on the UNLV loss
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joel Ntambwe on performance against Illinois
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about the 18 points he scored against Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Amauri Hardy on loss at Illinois
UNLV guard Amauri Hardy talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on loss at Illinois
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition. Roman was born Dec. 13, 2017 and has been at Sunrise Children Hospital with a rare heart condition since. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
NFR 2018: Unique Gifts At Cowboy Christmas
Before you head over to the Thomas and Mack for NFR, be sure to check out some of the unique and one of a kind items at Cowboy Christmas!
NFR: Dale Brisby
Day two of the National Finals Rodeo has started and Premier Vegas Sports host Cassies Soto interviews social media influencer Super Puncher Dale Brisby.
103-year-old celebrates birthday at gym
Joe Rosa of Las Vegas celebrated his 103rd birthday celebration at 24 Hour Fitness in Summerlin Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. After being the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Rosa's medical team told him he would never walk again. Rosa credits physical therapy and a personal trainer at the club for his return to health. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson native Mason Clements finished second in NFR bareback go-round
Mason Clements discusses his second-place bareback ride on opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like