By the time some of you read this, some of downtown Las Vegas most famous buildings will be going dark. Ok, not THE most famous ones, but a series of some of the more historical ones go dark. And the one question that remains is “What About Vegas Vickie?” You know? That Neon Cowgirl sitting atop of Glitter Gulch?? That’s her. And what about her neighbors. What’s their story?
What am I talking about?
Earlier this year, downtown casino moguls Derek Stevens and his brother Greg Stevens purchased the properties owned by Steve Burnstine (Granite Gaming Group). That is, they bought Glitter Gulch, Mermaids, and La Bayou. Three old-time popular Vegas haunts that will close on June 27, 2016. Add to this the fact that they purchased and closed the neighboring Las Vegas Club earlier, gives them a pretty big piece of the Fremont Street Experience that will be empty (dark??) until they announce what exactly they plan to do with them. All that has been revealed is that they plan a major redevelopment of that block.
So I thought it was time to shoot a little video giving the history and background of these places as well as the history of the neon cowgirl herself. Clearing up some internet myths and misconceptions about her past. After all, she is married to probably the second most photographed Vegas icon, Vegas Vic.
The casino famous for cheap eats. 99 cent deep fried Twinkies and Deep Fried Oreos!
1956-1964: Silver Palace
1974-1976: Gambler’s Hall of Fame
1976-1980: Sundance West
At this point, a popular, yet controversial name in modern Las Vegas history, Herb Pastor buys it, remodeled the place then names it for his kid’s babysitter, “Sassy Sally”
1980-1999: Sassy Sally’s
1999 – 2016: Mermaids
Home to Vegas Vickie
1931-1934: 21 Club
1934-1938: Barrel House Club
1955-1958: Golden Slot
1958-1966: Cecil Lynch’s Fortune Club
1966-1970?: Goldie’s (Rumor is that it was also a topless club)
1975?-1980: Mr. Reed’s
1980-1981: Bob Stupak’s Glitter Gulch
Bob Stupak, the man who brought us the Stratosphere, owned and operated Glitter Gulch for one year before selling it to Herb Pastor who owns the Golden Goose next door. Both casinos are made into one.
1991-2016: The Girls of Glitter Gulch
“The Neon Cowgirl, aka Vegas Vickie, was designed by Jack Dubois and Charles Barnard of Ad Art for Bob Stupak’s Glitter Gulch in 1980
Now before you hit the comment button to tell me you know she was called “Sassy Sally” or “Vegas Vicky”, let me assure you, I thought the same thing and several “expert” Vegas tourism websites even state the same thing. However, when you research Ad Art or the designers, you will find references to the name “Vegas Vickie” and to call her “Sassy Sally” doesn’t make sense because Sundance West will not change to Sassy Sally for another year. Even Herb Pastor referred to her as “Vegas Vickie” when speaking of his casino holdings.
Las Vegas Club
1905-1961: Overland Hotel
1928 – first documented use of a neon sign in Las Vegas
1949: Las Vegas Club moves from across the street into the hotel’s first level
1961: Purchased by Jackie Gaughan and business partner Max Exber, incorporated into Las Vegas Club.
1949-2015: Las Vegas Club
1920-1942: Northern Club
1931 – first gaming license in Las Vegas
1943-1945: Turf Club
1945-1956: Monte Carlo Club
1970-1999: Coin Castle
1999- 2016: LaBayou
Most people are thinking that the Stevens brothers will incorporate LaBayou into the Golden Gate. Hopefully keeping it a casino to keep its Vegas history as being the first gaming license for Las Vegas. Some us like that sentimental feeling of a place! They do have a “classic Vegas” slot section on the second floor of The D, this would give them another opportunity to move the low rollers out of the Golden Gate. Something they have been trying to do since they remodeled the place a few years back.
The Las Vegas Club seems destined for a nongaming rebuild. Since the hotel towers could be doubled in size without any new clearances from the FAA. Maybe create a shopping district that is less touristy and more of an urban feel as well as a spa or sports lounge. Things dearly needed to make the Fremont Street Experience less like a trailer park and more like a tourist destination it once was.
The one thing we don’t need is for all that real estate to be dark. As in no lights on at night. Currently, the Las Vegas Club has some its canopy lights on, so its not too bad. But if that whole block goes dark, it will not be a pretty sight.
Back when Binions was having their issues, Mayor Oscar Goodman made Becky Binion settle or do something to keep the neon glowing when she was forced to close the casino. Thats back when we had a mayor people listened to and respected…. The good old days…
The Fate of Vegas Vickie?
Derek Stevens hasn’t really said much about their intentions for all this new real estate they acquired. But from previous business ventures like The D and the Downtown Events Center, I can believe it will be something special and needed for Downtown. I am hoping that they will work to keep Vegas Vickie where she is and not shipped off to the Neon Boneyard. She is married to the old neon cowboy across the way, Vegas Vic, so maybe that will bring her some bargaining chips in the plans for her future??
FYI: Vintage Downtown Las Vegas is seen often in the 1971 Sean Connery James Bond film Diamonds are Forever