5 things you didn’t know about the Stratosphere

When the Stratosphere hotel-casino-tower was being built in 1995, it didn’t require a very clever marketing scheme. It was pretty hard to miss, standing at more than 1,000 feet tall in the center of the city.

Now, the 19-year-old casino stands as an icon of the Las Vegas skyline.

Here are five things you may not have known about the Stratosphere:

1. It takes the space of the former Vegas World Casino

Vegas World was owned and operated by Bob Stupak, and opened in 1979. It lasted until 1995, making $100 million a year in gambling revenues at its peak, according to Wall Street Journal.

The casino was known for being a little … odd. It claimed to feature the world’s largest mural, had a showroom filled with Elvis impersonators and had $1 million dollar in bills on display in the casino.

In an original iteration of the casino, “Bob Stupak’s Famous Million Dollar Historic Museum and Casino,” the walls were wallpapered with real money. Stupak was seen trying to save the bills when the casino was badly damaged in a fire.

When Stupak opened the Stratosphere, he incorporated the hotel as the initial hotel tower.

2. It was supposed to be taller

An original plan aimed to make the tower 1,815 feet, the same height as Toronto’s CN Tower, according to Todd Ford, the hotel-casino’s director of marketing.

Even when the 1,149-foot tower was proposed, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would present a hazard for traffic control. Now, air traffic controllers just have to work around it, especially with north- or southbound flights.

“The Stratosphere itself actually caused quite a few difficulties for us,” Del Meadows of the FAA told the Review-Journal in 2008.

3. It’s the tallest observation tower in the U.S.

Because the Stratosphere isn’t totally habitable, it’s not really considered a building. However, its still considered the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, and, obviously, the tallest in Las Vegas.

The tallest structure in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2,722 feet — almost three times larger than the Strat.

4. It’s the only Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino in Las Vegas

In case you weren’t already aware, most of the Strip and surrounding area is part of Paradise, not Las Vegas. Therefore, it’s not technically the city, it’s Clark County.

The Stratosphere sits right at the border of Sahara Avenue on the way to Downtown Las Vegas. So if you wanted to get the (technically) Las Vegas experience at a major hotel-casino, you’d have to be at the Stratosphere.

In case you’re wondering, the City of Las Vegas border extends west to Red Rock Canyon, through Downtown Las Vegas to Nellis Boulevard, and throughout the northwest valley, ending north of Floyd Lamb State Park.

5. The restaurant at the top spins

This isn’t a secret, but many visitors don’t know it. On the 106th floor of the tower, 800 feet up, is a fine dining restaurant that actually spins so you can see the entire valley.

The entire restaurant turns 360 degrees every 80 minutes. Check it out:

*Honorable mention: Is one of its legs crooked?

Legend says there was a mistake in the construction of the Stratosphere, leaving one of the tripod legs crooked, or in some iterations, that the entire tower is uneven, ready to topple at any minute.

Most anyone can see a little kink in the line of the east leg, purportedly from a measurement mix-up, but you don’t have to worry about the building being unsafe.

“We didn’t own the property when it was built, and cannot verify this,” Ford said. “We can tell you we hire a local engineering firm to perform periodic inspections of the legs to verify structural integrity.”

Just stick that one in with the other silly things people believe about Las Vegas.

Contact Kristen DeSilva at 702-477-3895 or Find her on Twitter: @kristendesilva

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