Memories remain after many Las Vegas skyline changes

What goes up must come down. It’s the Vegas way.

In a town that traces its beginnings to the dawn of the 20th century — and has gone through incarnations as a railroad town, the gateway to Boulder (now Hoover) Dam and home to wild Western gambling halls, classy "carpet joints" and today’s high-rise, high-style megaresorts — it’s hardly surprising that Las Vegas fixtures turn over faster than a flip of a card or roll of the dice.

Little wonder, then, that the town’s focus always has been on the latest and greatest, leaving the stupendous sights of yesteryear languishing in the shadows — if those sites manage to survive at all.

More often, Las Vegas landmarks of all stripes don’t survive to crumble before our eyes; they’re blasted to smithereens, replaced by newer, shinier updates designed to catch the eyes — and the cash — of the millions who crowd the Strip every year, hoping Lady Luck will smile on them.

But those of us whose Las Vegas stays extend decades, not days, observe the ever-changing skyline — and recall past attractions, persistent ghosts that materialize whenever a reminder of what used to be surfaces once again, as in these few random pages from the Vegas scrapbook of our minds. Here’s looking at you, kids — and thanks for the memories.

VANISHED HOTELS

We all know how explosively exciting Las Vegas can be. And, as if compelled to demonstrate that fact, some of Las Vegas’ most storied edifices have gone out in successive blazes of glory. In addition to the Desert Inn, the Sands (the fabled "Place in the Sun" that served as Rat Pack central) bit the desert dust where The Venetian now stands. The oasis known as the Dunes made way for the Bellagio. Other destructo-Vegas casualties range from the sparkling Stardust and the no-longer-a-Landmark to the Frontier, the Hacienda, the Silver Slipper, Castaways, Slots-a-Fun and, on Boulder Highway, that bowling mecca known as the Showboat.

SPACE-AGE ARCHITECTURE

Once upon a time, in the fabulous ’50s, Las Vegas celebrated the Atomic Age — and its proximity to the Nevada Test Site, where Cold War-era bomb blasts triggered viewing parties and related celebrations of America’s nuclear prowess. More space-age fallout: out-of-this-world edifices that resembled flying saucers, including the towering Landmark (which invading Martians blasted in 1996’s "Mars Attacks!") and the Las Vegas Convention Center’s signature rotunda, replaced by a hardly blastoff-worthy exhibit hall.

AMUSEMENTS PARKS/ATTRACTIONS

Remember Quark’s Bar at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Star Trek: The Experience? The Sky Screamer at the MGM Grand Adventures? How about the MGM’s walk-through "Wizard of Oz" attraction? Wet ‘n Wild, which spent 20 seasons on the Strip cooling off summer visitors with the Lazy River, Surf Lagoon, Raging Rapids and Der Stuka’s plunging 76-foot slide? They’re all gone, along with such fellow casualties as Luxor’s simulated Nile Cruise, Excalibur’s Jester’s Stage, Cranberry World, Caesars Palace’s Magical Empire (alias Caesars Tragical Empire) — and Fremont Street before the Experience.

MASCOTS

The Dunes’ 35-foot sultan stood tall for three decades until he lost his head (and the rest of him) in a 1985 fire. Aladdin’s lamp sparkled until the casino became Planet Hollywood; the Silver Slipper’s namesake footwear twirled above the casino until its 1988 shutdown. At least the lamp and the slipper survive as part of the neon signs on display along Las Vegas Boulevard North, which is more than we can say for Treasure Island’s Long-Gone-Silver marquee; in a spectacular "Yo ho" no-no, the casino sent its grinning buccaneer skull to Davy Jones’ Locker — just before the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie made pirates boffo box office once again.

MOVIE THEATERS

From old domes (the Cinerama Dome on Maryland Parkway and Caesars Palace’s domed Omnimax) to those newfangled multiplexes — the original 11-screen Red Rock on West Charleston, one of the first multiscreen theaters in the U.S. — Las Vegas has plenty of gone-but-not-forgotten movie palaces, downtown’s El Portal and the streamline Huntridge among them. We also mourn the loss of the very first in-casino theater: the Gold Coast Twin. But there’s one theater we miss even more: the clubby theater at the old MGM Grand (now Bally’s sports book), where you could watch more stars than there are in heaven (Cary Grant! Judy Garland!) in surroundings as classy as the movies themselves.

MUSEUMS

The Liberace Museum’s 31-year run proved almost as legendary as its musical namesake. When it closed last year, the piano palace joined a variety of institutions, some more cultural than others. At one end of the spectrum: The Venetian’s two Guggenheim museums and the Las Vegas Art Museum. At the other: Elvis-A-Rama. Somewhere in between: Debbie Reynolds’ Hollywood memorabilia bonanza, home to costumes worn by everyone from Judy Garland to Marilyn Monroe.

ONLY IN VEGAS

Oh, for the days when you had to feed real coins into slot machines, hoping to hit so a cascade of same (silver dollars to pennies) would spill forth, making metallic music and announcing your jackpot to fellow gamblers. Or for the days when you could toast the good times from the Top of the Dunes, or the Top of the Landmark, or the Top of the Mint. Feasting on the Green Shack’s fried chicken. Cruising Glitter Gulch — before Fremont Street got Experience. These are a few of our favorite things that may be gone — but remain on permanent deposit in our souvenir Vegas memory bank.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Lights FC coach Eric Wynalda lost his home in California wildfire
Eric Wynalda, coach of the Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team, talks about losing his home in the deadly California wildfires during an interview in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women face issues from Essure birth control implants
DeVonna "Kat" Normand said she had complications from the Essure birth control implants. Normand uses her Sin City Heat show at 22.3 TakeOver Vegas Radio internet radio station in Las Vegas as a platform to raise awareness about Essure and connect with other women who have used the device. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Truancy and Clark County schools
Tony Stark, one of 23 attendance officers with the Clark County School District, have a tall order tracking down students who aren't in school.
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Life
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like