We all knew this day would come, we just weren’t sure when it would. And now that day is here. Vietnam flight surgeon, retired neurosurgeon, former lieutenant governor and Vegas mega pack-rat, Lonnie Hammargren gave in to his whiny neighbors. Lonnie promised that October 31st would be his last Nevada Day Open House
Lonnie has opened his home(s) to the public every year to celebrate Nevada Day – October 31… the day Nevada became a state. Yes, Halloween is considered a state holiday!
So consider this your warning: For anyone who has a fixation on Las Vegas, this may be the last time for you to take a very unique trip down Vegas history. A trip down memory lane with the man who lived it or knew the people who did it!
To refresh your memory, this is the man who in 2007 held a funeral for himself after his bypass surgery, because he wanted to hear what everyone would say about him after he died. The funeral was complete with a Mardi Gras jazz band that marched the funeral precession to his house for a “wake” and celebration that made world news.
- His second floor observatory was subpoenaed in a divorce case
- Yes, that is the roller coaster from the Stratosphere in the backyard
- if its Vegas history and not in a museum, chances are you will find it here!
On a personal note, Lonnie Hammargren was the very first person we ever interviewed for The Vegas Tourist. And still the most memorable interview. For us it was supposed to be a quick fifteen-minute interview, which turned into an hour-long interview. After which we followed Lonnie on a personal tour through a forty-year collection of memorabilia. Most of it Vegas focused, touch of other fascinating stuff he collected from his trips around the world.
If it isn’t in a local museum, you may want to look for it over at Lonnie’s place. Or on second thought, check Lonnie’s place first. Parts of the stratosphere roller coaster? Check. Dunes welcome sign? Yup, it’s here. Shuttle mock up? It’s here. Liberace’s staircase? You just walked up it. Walk it up to the observatory. The “crapper” from the Howard Hughes suite at the Frontier? Got it.
Actually it’s a three home residence complex called “Casa Del Sol,” connected by his always-growing eclectic collection of Vegas centered and world renowned items aka or junk!
So What’s the Problem?
The politically connect neighbors. Most have moved in to the neighborhood after he started his collection and now complain that he is a nuisance to the neighborhood and they want it stopped. They want “their” quiet neighborhood to be left alone from all the gawkers and the embarrassment of saying they live next door to the Vegas pack rat!
This obviously is not a view shared by many people outside of his neighborhood. Ask most people about it and the common answer is “Move!”
A logical answer I must agree with.
Here is Our Interview with Lonnie Hamargren in 2006: Enjoy!