« A Brief History of Downtown (cont.) | Main | A Brief History of Downtown (cont.) »

A Brief History of Downtown (cont.)

The Golden Nugget (western corner):

The Golden Nugget now takes up the entire block between First and Second but it hasn't always.  On the corner of First and Fremont once stood the California Club which had an animated bear that moved its head up and down.  In the mid-1960s, the bear would be replaced by an animated chaser bulb arrow.  In 1969, the Golden Nugget expanded and put a small bullnose on the corner.  In 1978, the Friendly Club opened on the corner but within two years, it closed and reverted back to being part of the Golden Nugget.

In about the mid-section of today's Nugget, once stood the Oasis Cafe.  This was a popular restaurant with both the locals and people passing through.  The Oasis gave way to the Las Vegas Sweet ShoppeThe Sweet Shoppe was a popular after school hang out for students from the Grammar and High Schools.  The Sweet Shoppe ultimately closed and the White Spot Cafe opened in its place.

In 1954, the White Spot gave way to The Nevada ClubThe Nevada Club, like most of the gaming halls on Fremont Street had air vents on the floor in the doorways.  You could come in out of the heat, stand there and be blasted by cool air.  The floor vents are still in the doorways but that rush of cool air no longer hits you like it used to.  The Nevada Club gave way to Diamond Jim's.  Finally, around 1970s, it too became part of the Golden Nugget expansion. 

Between the Nevada Club and the original part of the Golden Nugget stood a small clubs: the Fortune Club which became the Frontier Club.  The Frontier Club became the Lucky Strike with its massive neon and flicker bulb pylon sign shooting into the sky.  The Lucky Strike shortened its name to the Lucky Club before being annexed by the Nugget in 1968.

 The Golden Nugget (eastern corner of Second and Fremont):

This originally was a two story Post OfficeRobert Griffiths was the postmaster in 1926.   Next to the Post Office was the Majestic Theater which may have been owned by Ernie Cragin before he built the El PortalCragin and Pike Insurance had an office upstairs above the Theater.  The Post Office and Majestic Theater gave way to the Mission Bar.  It was only in business a short while before it became the Kiva Bar.  The Kiva gave way to the Golden Nugget.

It's original bullnose and signage was designed by Young Electric sign designers Kermit Wayne and Hermon Boernge.  The 1905 on the sign led many to believe that the Golden Nugget had been part of the original development of Fremont Street but that was a myth.  Because of its bullnose and signage, the Golden Nugget became one of the most photographed buildings on Fremont Street.  "Everyone knew the Golden Nugget sign" said the late president of the LVCVA, Manny Cortez.

Steve Wynn bought the Golden Nugget and gave the building a total make-over.  Some of the smaller signage is in the Neon Museum boneyard but the original large rooftop sign was destroyed.  There is reported to be a small model of the original bullnose and signage in the Smithsonian.

Outside on Second Street for many years was Sammy's Newstand that carried papers from around the world.

Fremont Street Postcard 1960s day copy.gif 

Frontier Club night copy.gif 

Nevada Club Postcard copy.gif 

 

 

Golden Nugget eastern bullnose.jpg 

 

 

 

 

Fremont Street 1950s dusk color copy.gif 

 

bttn_prev-arrow.gif                                                                                  bttn_next-arrow.gif                                                         

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (15)

regarding the Golden Nugget sign; the corner bullnose with the nugget was designed by Kermit Wayne, the larger and older sign above "Golden Nugget - Gambling Hall" was designed by Hermon Boernge before Kermit joined YESCO.
February 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim Boernge
My Great Grandfather was one of the original builders/owners of the Golden Nugget. I am trying to collect as much factual information of it's history as I can to pass on to future generations other than sitting around and telling stories. One of the questions is what was the underlining meaning of the 1905 on the sign. Any and all information or stories will be greatly appreciated.
June 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSasha
Sasha, Who was your great grandfather? My father was one of the 4 original owner/builders of the Nugget, too. They were Guy McAfee, Bill Green, Buck Blaine, & Mat Martin (my dad.) I can't tell you about "1905," but I might know who to ask.
December 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Martin
1905 is the year that Las Vegas was established as a city. It is not the address of the casino as commonly thought.
May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSlex
My great grandfather was Bill Green. My father used to valet at the nugget his name is Ronald Gary Green. I am looking for more information on either Ronald or Bill Green please forward me any information you might have.
I appreciated reading some of your articles. Kermit Wayne is my grandfather, and it's always interesting to see him from another perspective. Thanks.
March 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa Gordon
My grandfather was William "Bill" Greene. I lived in Las Vegas while attending UNLV and worked for my grandfather at the Golden Nugget Casino. I would welcome contact from anyone who knew my grandfather. Additionally, I would welcome contact from Wade Carroll (Gary Greene). Ron Greene.
December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon Greene
I do genealogy research. Bill Green was "married into" a part of my Oklahoma family. This info might be of interest about him: http://www.michelegreene.com/history.html Michele's paternal grandparents, Tennessee Cochrane and Thomas Greene, were of Irish descent and came into Oklahoma in a covered wagon when it was still Indian territory, settling near Stigler. They were Okie farmers who ran a general store on the highway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Their ambitious eldest son, Bill Greene, heard about a little town in the Nevada desert where gambling was allowed and hit the road. He became one of the original owners of the Golden Nugget Casino on the first Las Vegas Strip. Michele's father, Roland, the youngest of the family, joined his brother upon his release from the army in the Korean war.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
I do genealogy research. Bill Green was "married into" a part of my Oklahoma family. This info might be of interest about him: http://www.michelegreene.com/history.html Michele's paternal grandparents, Tennessee Cochrane and Thomas Greene, were of Irish descent and came into Oklahoma in a covered wagon when it was still Indian territory, settling near Stigler. They were Okie farmers who ran a general store on the highway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Their ambitious eldest son, Bill Greene, heard about a little town in the Nevada desert where gambling was allowed and hit the road. He became one of the original owners of the Golden Nugget Casino on the first Las Vegas Strip. Michele's father, Roland, the youngest of the family, joined his brother upon his release from the army in the Korean war.
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
My Great grand father is bill greene.I want to see more history and i think we all are related.My grandpad is pete barbee and we live in oregon. Did we sell the golden nugget?
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon Thompson
I am Michelle Barbee Serres married now. My dad is Audie Barbee (Pete Barbee) and his mom was Thelma Greene who is was her dad William Bill Greene, I am looking for more of my family history, I See above from Ron Greene and Cindy looks like we are related, my family was from stigler, and i would love to talk to some more of my relatives, please contact me. Michelle@echoeshub.com
June 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
My great aunt was married to Bill Green. she was from Hichita OK and her name was Althea (Alta)Sessions.
July 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjeannie
I am heading to vegas this weekend Nov 8-9 for the Thunderbird air show, I am the grand daughter of Bill green, please contact me i would really like to meet my family and have my kids meet there cousins :). I have picture of my grand father and alta on a white bear rug, and pictures of him at ceasors i believe with another man not sure who it is. please email me and i will contact you back with my number. or you can find me on facebook michelle (barbee) serres, eagle point oregon. I wanted to go to grandma alta/williams house but i understand they sold it or selling it? any family please contact me :)
November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMICHELLE (BARBEE) SERRES
We had great times in the 80's at the Frontier. We esp. loved Michelle's dining. Does anyone know how to get the recipe for the bread pudding? My husband has been craving it for years.
October 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Shamel
Frontier club has been one of best dinning places that i ever been to it have so much history starting all the way from 80's.
December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShowbox For iOS

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.