I’m off to Las Vegas again for an event this weekend…yay! I’m only spending 3 nights in Vegas and then back to cold cold Canada I go. Got to save up those vacation days for VIVA Rockabilly weekend. While we are there we are staying at one of my favorite hotels, the “Golden Nugget“. I adore this hotel so very very much, it just screams old school Vegas. I also love Fremont Street that the hotel is on, so much fun to just wander from casino to casino, bar to bar exploring everything.
I thought for this post it might be fun to explore a bit about the Golden Nugget and see what we can unearth about one of my favorite hotels.
Brief History of the Golden Nugget
The Golden Nugget was originally built-in 1946, making it one of the oldest casinos in the city. It was designed as a casino only as opposed to a combination casino and hotel. It’s original bullnose and signage was designed by Young Electric sign designers Kermit Wayne and Hermon Boernge. The 1905 on the sign (under the small Golden Nugget name) 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 (Source: Classic Las Vegas).
When the casino opened it was the largest and most luxurious casino in downtown Las Vegas. It had mahogany bars, imported marble floors and crystal chandeliers (seen below).
In the 1960s more properties beside the Nugget were purchased but no expansion ever happened and it continued to remain as just a casino. That all changed though in the 70s when Steve Wynn purchased the casino and turned it into the hotel/casino we know it as today (note: it is no longer owned by Wynn and has gone thru some dramatic face-lifts but it’s still a hotel/casino and very beautiful inside).
Some fun facts about the Golden Nugget
- In keeping with its name the Golden Nugget is home to the worlds largest gold nugget-“The hand of Faith” weighing 61 lbs., 11oz.
- Frank Sinatra in 1984 at the twilight of his career performed at the Nuggets theater ballroom, a room that he actually inaugurated along with Willie Nelson. It was also rumored that he nicknamed the ballroom-” the dungeon” because it was so small but it must have not been too bad because it was his home for 3 years.
- Negotiations to build the Golden Nugget took 30 minutes.
- From 1946 until 1950, poker players dealt their own cards in no-limit games. The Golden Nugget was the first casino to introduce the center deal (a dealer who deals the cards to players).
- The bar was a reproduction of an actual Carson Street bar during the Comstock boom, and each piece was hand fitted and carved.
- The Golden Nugget was designed to replicate the original Golden Nugget built on San Francisco’s Barbary Coast.
- 20,000 guests were invited to the opening.
- A ribbon was wrapped around the Spa Tower for its 1984 Grand Opening (Source: Golden Nugget website).
Such fun facts!
I hope you enjoyed my little post on the Golden Nugget and now I’m off to pack and head off to enjoy my own Vintage Vegas experience just like the below picture.
Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis
Have you been to Las Vegas and enjoyed the Golden Nugget? Any tips on some great Vintage Vegas places to check out?