Gaming and Tourism

Herb McDonald

In the three decades after World War II, hotel publicists played a critical role in promoting Las Vegas as an appealing tourist destination. One of the most successful was Herbert "Herb" McDonald, who gained renown not only for his work as a publicist, but also as a civic leader.

Harvey Diederich

Widely regarded by his peers as one of the best publicists in Las Vegas, Harvey Diederich had a career in the Nevada resort city for nearly four decades. In his innovative uses of publicity and in his effective collaborations with the staff of the Las Vegas News Bureau, Diederich sought not only to promote his employers' properties, but also the general prosperity of Las Vegas.

Harolds Club Roaring Camp Gun Collection

Roaring Camp was a specific room in Harolds Club, but it was more than that: It was the name of general manager Raymond I. "Pappy" Smith's floating tribute to antique guns, a massive collection of weapons displayed throughout much of the casino.

Harolds Club Mural

In 1949, Harolds Club commissioned a mural honoring the pioneers of the Old West. The design was created by painter Theodore McFall, and the mural itself was constructed by artist Sargent Claude Johnson of San Francisco, California, then fired into porcelain by Mordecai Wyatt Johnson at the Paine-Mahoney foundry in Oakland, California. Late that year the work was installed on the exterior of the casino.

Harolds Club Innovations

Harolds Club in Reno was the first modern casino in Nevada. Although it struggled financially following its opening in 1935, it soon began to flourish, due in large part to several innovations that changed the nature of the state's relatively new business of legalized gambling.

Harolds Club

On his twenty-fifth birthday, February 23, 1935, Harold Smith Sr. opened a tiny gambling club in Reno, Nevada. He had come to “the biggest little city” because California was cracking down on the carnival games his family ran in the Bay Area, and in 1931 Nevada had legalized gambling. Smith called his place “Harold's Club”—with an apostrophe—and it was to become one of the most famous gambling place of its day and one of the first modern casinos.

Hacienda Hotel

By the mid-1950s, Warren "Doc" Bayley, a former travel writer and one-time farmer from Wisconsin, owned a small but profitable chain of motels under the name Hacienda in California. Bayley used a model unusual for the cut-rate motel room business, providing his patrons—mostly traveling motorists—with things like room service and bellhops. During the resort-building boom in Las Vegas, Bayley decided to try a similar approach on the Strip, this time adding a casino to the mix.

Guy McAfee

Born in Winfield, Kansas, in 1888, Guy McAfee eventually joined the Los Angeles Police Department. He rose to the rank of vice squad captain in his twenties and became acquainted with the proprietors of nightclubs, illegal gambling operations, and brothels.

McAfee eventually decided he could make more money in vice and left the police department to run nightclubs. By the 1920s, while liquor was banned during Prohibition, he established himself as a businessman on the Sunset Strip in West Los Angeles, a nightclub district where illegal alcohol was served discreetly.

Golden Gate Corner

[VR Morph by Howard Goldbaum]

Watching this morphing animation, you might think downtown has changed a lot. So it has, but not entirely.

Fremont Street

Like the city it long has symbolized, Fremont Street was built and transformed within the span of a single century. Long known as "Glitter Gulch" for its bright lights, Fremont Street is the heart of downtown Las Vegas and, next to the Strip, the second most recognizable street in southern Nevada. It also is central to an effort to redevelop downtown; a necessity arising from the Strip's overwhelming success and the decline that afflicts most of America's older urban areas.


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