Sixty years ago, when the Riviera debuted on the famed Las Vegas Strip, she was the cutting edge of modern technology. Nine stories tall, the first high-rise on the Strip and a mid-century lovers dream come true. She opened on April 20, 1955 with 291 rooms, a pylon sign that "skewered the thin porte-cochere like a toothpick through a cheese canape" according to our friend Alan Hess and a second V-shaped marquee sign at the roadside entrance to the hotel.
The Treniers opened the Starlight Lounge. The lounge, just off the lobby, had a 150-foot free-form stage bar and the lighting fixtures were brass in a starburst design against a teal blue sky canopy.
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When I was much younger while growing up in Las Vegas I never dreamed that the city I know could change as much as it has. I always thought the front of Caesars would be turquoise and the Dunes sign would always being shooting neon into the sky. Even after we lost the train depot back in the late 1960s, it never dawned on me that one day we would lose the Mint, the original galaxy front of the Stardust and that many of original hotels that had been instrumental in the popularity and growth of the famed Strip would be erased from the landscape. It finally hit home when the Dunes was destroyed and the front of Caesars turned off the turquoise light, and got rid of the Sarno block privacy screen in its march to become the Strip's version of the Winchester Mystery House.
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The Blue Angel Motel, long a staple on East Fremont street, with its iconic Betty Willis angel hovering over the neighborhood for over sixty years, is being demolished. The new owners swear the sign will remain.
Stay tuned! More to come!
We recommend this terrific new book.
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Hard to believe it is time to ring in the New Year already. Seems like it was just Labor Day earlier this week instead of Christmas.
We have all the listings for New Year's Eve fireworks celebrations as well as what they have planned for the Fremont Street Experience that evening.
It's all here: Classiclasvegasblog.com