October 31 is Nevada day. On this day in 1864 Nevada became a state. Yes, Halloween is a state holiday. It used to also mean the one day a year that Dr Lonnie Hammagren and his wife Sandy would open up their home(s) to the public while raising money for a worthy charity. Lonnie Hammargren is called a lot of things, but the one thing most everyone agrees on is that he is the State’s best pack rat. If it relates to our state’s history and it’s not in a museum, it’s probably at Lonnies house!
Final Tour Days
The Hammagrens have been very loudly letting everyone know that this is the absolute (maybe) last year they will be doing this. Nov 1&2. Saturday and Sunday. Details Here
Thank You Dr Lonnie and Sandy for all you have done for the State of Nevada and Our Country!!!!
In Honor of this occasion, I thought it was time to repost our interview with Dr Lonnie Hammargren…
It was Podcast #10 – 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…
If you look carefully to the photo, you will see the yellow seats from the roller-coaster that was once atop the Stratosphere!
(Photo: Flickr – Creative Commons )