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OneAngryDwarf
OneAngryDwarf
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
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December 4th, 2010 at 6:58:19 PM permalink
Just a quick question for all Vegas historians on the board.

By "oldest," I mean the actual structure itself, or a major part of it. I.E. The Flamingo is the oldest "name" on the Strip, but very little if any of Bugsy Siegel's original building still exists, so it's out.

I don't know enough about the Sahara or Riviera to say whether any of the original construction is buried underneath all the new facades and towers that they've added over the years...any ideas? I've seen some pictures of the "old" Riviera that suggest they might still be there, but I can't say for sure.

If they're out, I would guess Caesars Palace as the next most likely candidate.
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dudestupid
dudestupid
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December 4th, 2010 at 7:22:14 PM permalink
I have heard it is the Little Church of the West. It's a wedding chapel a bit south of Mandalay. Wikipedia confirms this, for what that's worth. Since 1942. As far as original casino building, I'm not sure.
teddys
teddys
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December 4th, 2010 at 9:45:09 PM permalink
El Cortez.

Edit: Oops.
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Wavy70
Wavy70
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December 4th, 2010 at 9:50:47 PM permalink
Quote: dudestupid

I have heard it is the Little Church of the West. It's a wedding chapel a bit south of Mandalay. Wikipedia confirms this, for what that's worth. Since 1942. As far as original casino building, I'm not sure.



It started on the grounds of the Last Frontier.
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wildqat
wildqat
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December 4th, 2010 at 10:43:08 PM permalink
Quote: OneAngryDwarf

I've seen some pictures of the "old" Riviera that suggest they might still be there, but I can't say for sure.


Yeah, the two Riviera pics on this page suggest that as well. The 1953 construction picture shows the beginnings of a right-angled building that looks like the north and back wings of the hotel complex in the 1974 pic (left side of the picture, where the entrance canopy is).

Conversely, this page on the Sahara suggests that the original room there are gone. The photo history has an overhead shot from 1968 that shows the old motel-style rooms enclosing the pool area in front of the Tunis and Alexandria towers. The overhead shot with the remodel plans shows that that whole area doesn't exist anymore; it looks like they built the current casino in that area.

Or you can look at this page that shows the plans (not official, but reasonably accurate) for the expanded casino and possible new tower (never built) where the old motel rooms and pool area were. Either way.

So yeah, it looks like the Riviera has the oldest surviving C/H structure on the Strip.
kenarman
kenarman
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December 5th, 2010 at 9:25:16 AM permalink
10 of the original bungalows from the El Rancho were relocated to various locations some of these locations were apparently on the strip. Some of these buildings could still exist/or not. The bungalows were built starting in the late 40's and moved in the 60's several years after the main casino burnt down.
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pacomartin
pacomartin
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December 5th, 2010 at 12:47:41 PM permalink
The original buildings of the Flamingo were completely destroyed. Not a brick exists. I don't think there is anything left that was not built before the '70s.

Some of the original Sahara buildings still exist, so they are the oldest casino buildings on the strip. Sahara is older than the Riviera.
I somehow doubt if the bungalows from El Rancho are still in existence.

In downtown, El Cortez is the oldest purpose built casino with rooms. The Bayou was one of the four original licenses in 1931, and I assume the building is still the same (but completely remodelled). It is a very small slot club now, but they had card games originally.

In 1940 Las Vegas' population has grown to 8,422.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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December 5th, 2010 at 2:14:59 PM permalink
Didn't one of the newer resorts (MGM maybe?) keep the hotel that was on location and just add a facade, and build up around it?
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dudestupid
dudestupid
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December 5th, 2010 at 2:47:57 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Didn't one of the newer resorts (MGM maybe?) keep the hotel that was on location and just add a facade, and build up around it?



I think you are thinking of Bally's, which used to be the MGM Grand. But it's not as old as the Sahara or Riviera.

This page is pretty useful.
http://library.nevada.edu/arch/casinosbytime.html
kenarman
kenarman
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December 5th, 2010 at 2:59:40 PM permalink
The MGM Grand incorporated the Marina hotel into it when it was built it is now the west wing. The Marina was built in 1975 so not all that old.
Be careful when you follow the masses, the M is sometimes silent.

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