10 – The Dr Lonnie Hammargren Interview

So you think you know Las Vegas, do you?  You know where all the good stuff is hidden.  Right?  You figure the museums and pawn shops?  WRONG!!  The Good Stuff is sitting in the backyard and storage sheds of the Las Vegas most famous pack rat…

This was our very first interview and as with anything we do, the first one had to be a real unusual one.  So we sat down to talk with Las Vegas’ history pack rat, former neurosurgeon and former Lieutenant Governor of Nevada Dr Lonnie Hammargren about his amazing collection and get his take on what made Vegas – Vegas!

Dr Lonnie Hammargren

How do you describe this one of a kind Las Vegas gem??

Lonnie Lee Hammargren  is an American politician and a retired neurosurgeon who spent several years as a NASA flight surgeon (amongst other notable doctor duties). He was elected a member of the non-partisan Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education; Dr Hammargen is also the former 31st Lieutenant Governor of the State of Nevada.

Dr Hammargen is known by Vegas Tourist regulars for his “eclectic collection of artifacts, including old casino signs and an Apollo space capsule.”

Remember when Roy Horn (Siegfried and Roy) had his near near-fatal tiger mauling in 2003?  it was Dr Hammargren who spoke up to correct a lot of the misinformation in the media about the procedure Horn had received.

As of 2008, Dr Hammargren was the honorary consul for the country of Belize.

His Claim to Fame

Lonnie Hammargren built his house he named “Castillo del Sol”  in 1969. Since then it has grown to include two neighboring homes and a private museum to Vegas’ past that he used to open to the public for tours on October 31 – Nevada Day. Among his latest acquisitions is the High Roller roller coaster from the Stratosphere. His home has been featured on the Travel Channel’s show Vegas VIP Homes.

After several heart attacks and surgeries,  Lonnie Hammargren took a cue from the movie “Tuesdays with Morrie”  and held an “Awake Wake” for himself, in which he had a mock funeral service, complete with a New Orleans-style Jazz Funeral March back to his house, and buried himself in his sarcophagus in the Egyptian tomb in his garage. He emerged an hour later.

Now You Need to Listen to the Podcast for more of this lovable character…

Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony is The Vegas Tourist! Popular Tourism Ambassador, a frequent contributor to Las Vegas forums as well as travel media and bloggers. Loves to help people discover new things to see, do and experience while visiting Las Vegas and Beyond!

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