Gaming and Tourism

Las Vegas Strip: The First Boom

Since the late 1980s, the Las Vegas Strip has been in a manic building boom, creating some of the world's largest hotels and giving southern Nevada more than 130,000 hotel rooms. The ongoing boom is the latest in a series of transformations that began in the 1940s and 1950s. The concrete realities of doing business and the marketed image of a resort with illicit overtones have influenced every reincarnation of the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas Showgirls

Showgirls were tall, statuesque figures featured prominently in casino showroom productions. They had a role distinct from that of a dancer, and they were sometimes referred to as mannequins because they appeared partially nude and did not dance.

Las Vegas Shopping

A shot glass with the "Welcome to Las Vegas" logo. Maybe a cheap T-shirt or a deck of used playing cards. Or for those favoring the terminally tacky, how about a famed dice clock? Those were the types of gifts tourists hauled home for decades. Or if purchasing something for themselves, figure on something gaudy, heavy on the sequins if you will.

Las Vegas News Bureau

After World War II the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to boost tourism, launched a Live Wire Fund promotional campaign. Steve Hannagan and Associates, the last of three public relations agencies to handle the publicity effort, established the Desert Sea News Bureau in 1947, which changed its name to the Las Vegas News Bureau in 1949. When Hannagan did not have his contract renewed, the bureau became a division of the Chamber of Commerce and was later renamed the Las Vegas News Bureau.

Las Vegas Mob

Few American cities are more mythic than Las Vegas, and no issue has been more central to the creation of those myths than organized crime. Thanks to entertaining if historically dubious films—The Godfather trilogy, Bugsy, and Casino stand out—the public developed an image of what the mob meant to Las Vegas.

Ward Charcoal Ovens

The Ward Charcoal Ovens are the main attraction of a state park in White Pine County fifteen miles south of Ely. The ovens take their name from Thomas Ward who founded a local mining district in 1872. The local gold and silver ore required the high burning temperature of charcoal for milling, inspiring the construction of the ovens in the mid 1870s. The design of the beehive ovens caused heat to be reflected back on the wood as it slowly burned to produce charcoal. Each of the six ovens stood thirty feet tall and was twenty-seven feet in diameter at the base.

Las Vegas Illusionists

In October 2003, a white tiger attacked magician Roy Horn onstage at Las Vegas's Mirage Hotel-Casino, nearly killing him and subsequently ending the storied careers of Horn and long-time partner Siegfried Fischbacher. After nearly 6,000 shows at the resort, the duet billed as Siegfried & Roy had proved a point by erasing a long-held misconception about the potential Strip success for the art of grand illusion.

Las Vegas Family Fare

Casinos and "kids"—namely anyone younger than the legal gambling age of twenty-one—have long been at odds in Las Vegas. Even so, some resorts offer large arcades, thrill rides, elaborate swimming pools, and other youth-oriented distractions, hoping to attract parents toting tykes. But, following the more traditional approach, many newer hotel-casinos discourage parents who opt to bring their offspring along for a Las Vegas getaway. "No Strollers Allowed" is a common posting at upscale resorts, and a 10 p.m.

Las Vegas Entertainment Headliners 1980-2000

The Strip malaise of the 1980s—characterized by older crowds and aging artists—prompted hotel entertainment executives to ponder an uncertain future. True, there was the one-time specialty act in the Tropicana, Folies Bergere, the Stardust's Lido de Paris production shows, and Siegfried & Roy, who proved that magic and white tigers could combine for an audience-drawing show. And in 1982, "Beyond Belief" opened at the Frontier Hotel.

Las Vegas Entertainment Headliners 1960s-1980s

Las Vegas has earned its status as "Entertainment Capital of the World," thanks to big-name entertainers who have accented the city's luxurious hotels, myriad gaming options, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But it did not earn that status overnight.


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