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A Brief History of Fremont Street

The North side of Fremont Street from Main to First:

The Las Vegas Club:

This is the second location of the Las Vegas Club.  Before its owners moved to it over here, it was the Overland Hotel.  Pictures of the Overland Hotel dating back to 1906 can be found on old postcards and at Special Collections and the Nevada State Museum.  John Wisner bought the property at the 1905 land auction for $1,750. (Don't ya wish you had a time machine?) and built the Overland Hotel.

In 1911, the Overland had a devasting fire and burned down.  The firefighters lacked equipment except for some fire
hoses and a cart.  This event was a turning point in the city decided to incorporate later that year.

They rebuilt the Overland bigger and better.  It now had a free sample room where traveling salesmen could display their wares.  George Foley, Sr recalls a trip to Las Vegas with his father in 1926 when George was just a boy.  They stayed at the Overland and George remembers "I looked out the window that night and Fremont Street was only lit by one bare light bulb and I remember feeling very afraid".

The Overland briefly became Frank Donovan's Chatterbox Club as well as the Talk of the Town Bar before, in the late 1940s, Kell Houssels, Sr decided to move the Las Vegas Club across the street, perhaps thinking that the Club might do better being right across Main Street from the Train Depot.  The Overland continued as a hotel above the Club.  The Overland had a separate neon sign with a train engine that hung above the second floor.

In 1961, Jackie Gaughan and Mel Exber bought the Las Vegas Club and redid the facade, adding much more neon.  They also bought out the Overland and the Las Vegas Club became a hotel and a casino.

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Next door was a Cut Rate Drugs with a Buy War Bonds sign painted on the side.  It became a Sav-Rite Drugs in 1950.   The Las Vegas Toggery moved across the street as well, settling in two door east of the Las Vegas Club.

Where the Golden Goose stands today, was originally the State Cafe, one of the most popular places to eat on Fremont Street.  It later became Buckley's, a slot joint at 20 Fremont Street.  When Buckley's closed it became the Mecca Casino before finally becoming the Golden Goose. 

The Glitter Gulch, also currently closed, was originallyt the Las Vegas Bar-B-Que.  It later became the Copper Grill, then the Golden Slot.  The Fortune Club also moved across the street and had a giant neon slot front and cowboy head and took over the Golden Slot lease.

Next door is a Shoe Store and G&G BlowoutG&G Blowout was originally the Dixie DeliIn 1952, the Deli closed and Vegas Loans opened.  Vegas Loans soon became Ace Loans and resided there until recently. 

On the corner of First and Fremont where Mermaids is today, was the first drug store in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Pharmacy.  It was owned by the Ferron Family.  It was originally a wood structure but that gave way to a large three story brick building with an imposing facade.  The facade likely wanted to project the image of security and stability. 

The La Bonita Hotel was upstairs above the Pharmacy and the Pioneer Club had a giant neon roof top sign with Vegas Vic's face and a pink arrow pointing to its building across the street.

In 1957, the Pharmacy was torn down and it likely marked the passing of an era to long-time residents.  In its place was built the Silver Palace with its pink, gray and blue tile facade and the color scheme was carried out to the sidewalk around the Silver Palace.  Today all that is left of that tile can be found under the Soda and Water machines on North First Street.

In the mid-1970s, it became the Gamblers Hall of Fame for about two years until in 1977 changed ownership and became Sundance West.  in 1979, it changed hands again and became Sassy Sallie's complete with a high kicking neon cow girl on the roof.  Vegas Vic now had a girlfriend, Vegas Vicki.

While the Fremont Street Experience was under construction and before they took Vegas Vicki down, she and Vic were married in a ceremony covered by the local newspapers and news stations.  In 1999, Sassy Sallie's became Mermaids home of the deep fried twinkie and long plastic go cups.  On North First, just down the block is the old freight elevator for the Silver Palace.

On North First was also the Silver Cafe, owned by the Fong Family, which provided Chinese and American food to sit down customers and small trays of food to the small gambling halls on the block in the 1930s and 1940s.  Also down this street were a Leather Shop, Brady's Watch Hospital, Square Deal Loan Co, Backline Sam's Cafe, Reliable Cleaners and Hatters with a neon sign, Log Cabin Bar, Tivoli Tavern, a Chrysler Dealership and the Idle Hour Pool Hall and Cafe. 

 

Special thanks to UNLV's Special Collections, Nevada State Museum, Allen Sandquist and Eric Lynxwiler for the use of photos, postcards and matchbooks on this page.

 

Coming Up: More History!  Fremont Street from First to Second Street 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

.
I find your posts very informative and worth reading while I'm searching for fun on Goolge. Some are entertaining as well.
I like your topic.
Thanks for the good review about the history of Las Vegas
January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally

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