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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 5:48 AM
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What was once is no more: Las Vegas 1990

At the close of the 1980's Las Vegas began to transform itself from a mere gambling mecca, to a city of destination themed casinos. My grandfather took me on a trip there in 1990 to 'cash in some change'. As a building lover and having never been there, I was kind of blown away.

Nonetheless, as a blossoming 13 year old building geek, I had some fun and took a few photos while grandpa was hittin the tables.

What's fascinating is that these photographs are just less than 20 years old, and a huge number of the buildings in them either don't exist or have been vastly overhauled.

Sorry about the lousiness of the photos...as I said I was 13 and didn't operate my borrowed Pentax SLR as well as I might now...

Vegas World...I think this became the Stratosphere? Not sure...


The Landmark, a true architectural loss for the city...


The Sahara...


Circus Circus (pre-giant purple lighted tent thingy)


An Arizona Bank no less...


Downtown Las Vegas from the parking garage at McCarran Airport...


Security Pacific Bank...dead since '92...


Desert Inn...


The Riviera...


The Frontier...


The Plaza in downtown Vegas (pre Fremont Street Experience)...


First Interstate...I miss that logo...


Fitzgerald's Casino...still the tallest in the CITY of Las Vegas I think...


Again from McCarran...


The Mirage, the newest (along with the Excalibur) mega casino on the Strip, circa 1990...


I saved the best for last...this is an expansion to the Stardust...this building was actually torn down about two years ago...amazing...
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 5:49 AM
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Also, two panoramics which I'm quite sure fit together at one time (I seem to be missing some of the middle pictures)....



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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 6:05 AM
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Plinko, those are awesome! I remember visiting Vegas frequently around that time. My family and I stayed at places like the Dunes, the Stardust, the Sands, Circus Circus, Tropicana, Flamingo, etc... Of course, the first three of these are gone, along with so many others, replaced by even more enormous mega-casino resorts (shit, I think the Venetian/Palazzo complex took up at least two old hotel sites!)... I remember the Landmark, and yes, Vegas World was where the Stratosphere is now...

Brings back many old memories. Thanks for posting these!

Aaron (Glowrock)
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 6:12 AM
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I would say things have changed.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 6:22 AM
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Man, thats awesome. as a frequent visitor to Vegas my whole life, its just crazy to see all the change. I think whats also interesting is that in the last picture, the freeway has grass landscaping. I think all of the freeways in Vegas now have desert landscapes.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 7:02 AM
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Cool pics, and 1990 was the first year I ever took a road trip! We drove from Sacramento to Las Vegas in my brand new 1990 Ford Probe. (Good car, bad name) I remember my first impression of Vegas was that it was cheezy and low-class. The tired, worn-out, alcohol and gambling addicted were ubiquitious. High-end shopping seemed to be few and far and limited to places like Caesars Palace. Of course, by the 2000 all that had changed.

One night, after drinking, five of us "crashed" at a Liberace impersonator's desert home. He had booze, drugs, show girls and down right trashy people coming in and out of his mc-mansion.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 7:06 AM
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Pretty incredible, especially being only 20 years ago. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 7:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan View Post
Man, thats awesome. as a frequent visitor to Vegas my whole life, its just crazy to see all the change. I think whats also interesting is that in the last picture, the freeway has grass landscaping. I think all of the freeways in Vegas now have desert landscapes.
I believe that's the main entrance into McCarran Airport, LosAngelesSportsFan, not a freeway per say. I think that's the Paradise Road entrance, which I'm not sure if it's still landscaped that way or not right now.

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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 8:10 AM
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This is just awesome for someone like myself that also experienced Vegas regularly in the 90's, though, probably three years into the decade.

Yep, Vegas World is what became Stratosphere. Vegas World was probably the funkiest casino I ever witnessed.

BTW, interesting fact, but The Strasophere is the only major Strip casino actually located in the City of Las Vegas. I also seem to remember that earlier in construction, the Tower was actually known as Stupak Tower, and I also in the city when the tower, still under construction, caught fire after having been struck by lightening. I was also in the city, a few blocks away, in 1994 when the Hilton Hotel sign was blown down in a freak windstorm. The sound of crashing, bending metal I'll never forget.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 8:15 AM
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^isn't the Hilton sign about 6 stories tall?

Anyways hot damn!, thanks for sharing that. My family and I went to Vegas in 1992. We stayed at the 4 Queens in downtown.

Though its never been in the top of my list for serious destinations, I think I'd like to visit Vegas some time. I haven't been back since then.
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Last edited by mthq; Dec 16, 2009 at 8:42 AM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 8:42 AM
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Interesting tidbit: Bob Stupak, besides being the owner of Vegas World, was also part owner of the Stratosphere (as LMich alluded to) for which a statue of him once presided in the lobby. Bob died this year btw.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 9:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mthq View Post
^isn't the Hilton sign about 6 stories tall?
I really don't know much about the new sign, but I know the old one was a beast; the largest freestanding sign in the world, in fact. The new one may be bigger, even.

Yeah, I belive what happened was that Bob began building the tower and casino, ran out of money, and was bought out before the tower was complete. It was really his last hurrah as Vegas World had been hurting for some time. That location has always been bad for business. It's located in a very rough area of Vegas. The property exit, at least one of them, outlets right inot a ghetto, though the area has been very quickly changing, this decade.

This is one quirky town, and it gets infinitely more interesting once you learn a little about it outside the Strip.

EDIT: I just remembered where we were the Hilton sign fell down: Silver City Casino eating dinner. Another small "family" casino that's not there, anymore.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 3:26 PM
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Great pictures! After visiting Las Vegas in 2004, I became really interested in the city, and was surprised to see how fast things are replaced. I wish I had a chance to see the old Vegas. Your pictures do a good job showing what Las Vegas was like before the mega-casino boom really hit. Even your pictures that might not show much show a lot; for instance, your Valley Bank Cetner picture has some cool old neon signs in the foreground.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 11:10 PM
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Very cool pictures. The first time I went to Vegas was 1997 and by then it looked a hell of a lot different than it did in those pictures 7 years prior. In those 7 short years that city changed dramatically.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 11:13 PM
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Very cool
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Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 12:59 AM
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1990 just doesn't seem like that long ago. But in these pix it looks like a lifetime ago. Thanks for sharing these, plinko.
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Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 3:59 AM
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They already tore this one down?? I can only imagine what else they might tear down with in the next 20 years!! Great pics BTW

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Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 4:44 AM
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My first visit was in 1986, and I was expecting a classy city. But as someone else said, it was pretty cheesy and low class. I went back in 1990 and it was a little better, but not much. I was there again last April (just for a couple of hours), and obviously it had really changed, at least the strip.

In 1986 we stayed at the Flamingo Hilton, and in 1990 we stayed at the Barbary Coast. Anyone know right off hand if those two hotels are still there?
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  #19  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 4:50 AM
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They already tore this one down?? I can only imagine what else they might tear down with in the next 20 years!! Great pics BTW

Even younger buildings have been destroyed in Las Vegas. The Palm Tower ans St. Andrews Tower at the Desert Inn were built in 1997 and were demolished in 2004 to make way for the Wynn.
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Old Posted Dec 17, 2009, 4:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Denson View Post
My first visit was in 1986, and I was expecting a classy city. But as someone else said, it was pretty cheesy and low class. I went back in 1990 and it was a little better, but not much. I was there again last April (just for a couple of hours), and obviously it had really changed, at least the strip.

In 1986 we stayed at the Flamingo Hilton, and in 1990 we stayed at the Barbary Coast. Anyone know right off hand if those two hotels are still there?
Both are still there. Flamingo is no longer a Hilton, but it's still doing well, and has been recently updated. Barbary Coast is now Bill's Gamling Hal, and it looks pretty much how it did 20 years ago.

Aaron (Glowrock)
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