Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mid Strip - Now and Then - City Center, Aladdin and Paris

Before and After on the Mid-Strip
Click on any photo for a larger view.


1999 view looking south-west towards the current location of City Center, taken from the 4th floor of the Barbary Coast parking garage (now Bill's Gambling Hall). The Paris Hotel's Eiffel Tower is seen rising (on left). The Bellagio had opened on October 15th, 1998 and Paris would open on September 1st, 1999.

The original Aladdin Hotel had been imploded on April 27, 1998 and construction on the New Aladdin had just begun, with a Year-2000 opening date scheduled.

The east-to-west pedestrian bridges had been completed at this point, but the north-to-south bridges had yet to be started. Pedestrians are seen crossing at street level.

April 2010 photo taken from the same location - shows the Boardwalk Hotel & Casino had been imploded and removed, the Eiffel Tower and the new Aladdin were completed. Ballys added their corner roadsign, the Bellagio added its south hotel addition, a north-south bridge had been built (see the third photo below) and City Center opened in the space of 11 years since the photo above was taken at the parking garage of Bill's Gambling Hall (which bought-out the Babary Coast).

1999 view of the Boardwalk Hotel- Casino and New York, New York

2010 view from the same location as photo above,, shows Ballys' roadsign has been removed, the Paris Hotel and Eiffel Tower have been completed and opened plus the Mandarin, Harmon and Cosmopolitan Hotels are built.

This 2010 photo is from a few feet to the right of the one above. It shows the Aria Hotel completed along with two, of the four, pedestrian bridges at Flamingo Road and The Strip.

City Center Aerial & Satellite Views
1950 - 2008

July 1950
This aerial view shows the Los Angeles Highway and the Flamingo Hotel (which opened in 1946). The photos below show a 48 year progression of the Las Vegas Strip and traces the City Center property thru its various stages.

Notice the 'thumbtack icon' that is labeled 'City Center'. Progression photos, such as these, can be obtained by using Google Earth's new 'History' feature - which allows you to see the changes that have taken place in certain geographic locations over the years.


Red-dot shows the Sands (opened in 1952), dark-purple-dot shows the future location for the (1989) Mirage, dark-blue-dot shows the location of (the later 1966) Caesars Palace Hotel, the light-purple-dot across the road shows the (1946) Flamingo.

The light-blue-dot show the (1955) Dunes Hotel (where the Bellagio is now). The light-green-dot show the site of the (1973) MGM Grand (now Ballys). The dark-green-dot shows the (1999) location of the Paris Hotel. The yellow dot shows the (1962) location of the Tally-Ho (later to become the 1964 King's Crown and then the 1966 Aladdin Casino and then the 2010 Planet Hollywood).

The light-orange-dot shows the Tropicana Golf Course across the street from the Tropicana Hotel. The golf course later became the site of the current MGM Grand (which opened in 1993). Across the street - the orange-dot showsthe location of the (1957) Tropicana Hotel.

City Center's site was vacant at this point, but the Dunes Hotel's Golf Course can be seen alongside the construction of the I-15 Freeway. The (2009) Vdara Hotel sits on the former site of the Dunes' Golf Course.

Small stores can be seen across the street from the 'thumbtack icon' that shows City Center's future location. The original (1973) MGM Grand had been built at this point. The (circa 1972) Jockey Club is seen across the street (below the Dunes).

The Maxim Hotel opened (in 1977) across the road (behind the Flamingo) from the original MGM Grand. The following year the small motel ( below the Flamingo) called the Desert Villa was replaced with the construction of the (1978) Barbary Coast.

The Marina Hotel opened, on the corner of The Strip and Tropicana Road, in 1975 across from the Tropicana Hotel. The Marina is now the west-wing of the (1993) MGM Grand.

The Holiday Queen Motel opened in 1969 at the current site of City Center. In 1993 it became the Boardwalk Holiday Inn Hotel. The Boardwalk was imploded in May of 2006 to make way for City Center.

*Note: Notice Google's easy-to-use 'History Line' feature in top-left.
August 2004
This 2004 satellite photo shows the former location of the Boardwalk Casino-Hotel. The Boardwalk can be seen where the purple-dot has been placed. A good reference point for locating the Boardwalk, in photos, is the 'tent-like' , white structure (see red-dot) of the Hawaiian Marketplace.

This 2008 photo shows the (purple-dot) former location of the Boardwalk Hotel across the street from the (red-dot) Hawaiian Marketplace. The Boardwalk was basically located where the entrance driveway to City Center is now located (and possibly occupied a slight bit of the Mandarin location). The Boardwalk extended northward into the area that is now Crystals' Mall.

2008 - Looking Westward
This additional photo is used to show more of the former Boardwalk's location. This satellite photo was taken in January and the result is that the winter-sunlight casts high-contrasting shadows which make it hard to distinguish certain things.

This view is the same location as seen above, but the camera was turned for a better glimpse. I lightened the shadow cast by the Mandarin Hotel to get a better glimpse of the driveway.

The purple dot shows where the Boardwalk was located (as referenced by the red-dot location of the Hawaiian Marketplace).


The Boardwalk Hotel-Casino formerly occupied the spot where City Center's driveway is now located. The Boardwalk (possibly) extended from near the Mandarin Hotel - across the driveway and into Crystals current location. I'm not 100% certain. I could be off by 50 yards or so.

This April 2010 view shows the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (left), the City Center driveway and a portion of Crystals' Mall. The Boardwalk formerly occupied this area until 2006.

Another 2010 photo (about 200 yards north of the camera location seen above). The Boardwalk possibly extended into the space to the right of the Louis Vutton store. You can view the satellite photos to reach your own conclusion.

April night-view of City Center's driveway, the Mandarin, Veer Towers, Aria and Crystals. The former Boardwalk occupied the area just beyond the George Wallace billboard.

This 1975 aerial photo shows the Las Vegas lower Mid-Strip. The Tropicana Hotel is seen at bottom right, before they added their hotel tower, the following year. The Jockey Club can be seen at top-left and Aladdin-Planet Hollywood at mid-top (as marked).


This circa 1974 photo (judging by the gas price of 47 cents a gallon) is looking north-easterly from a location that might currently be seen if looking out from one of the Veer Towers.

The Dunes and (1973) MGM can be seen, along with the former site of Little Caesars and Churchill Downs Sports & Race Book in the mini-shopping mall (currently the site of the Paris Hotel). The edge of the Aladdin can be seen at the mid-right of this photo.

I am not too sure where the Harmon and Cosmopolitan Hotels line up exactly. They currently are across the street from the southern end of Planet Hollywood's property. This is roughly the spot where they are located (and these are the closest photos available, of the location,to show). The hotels might actually be about exactly where the camera position was for this photo.

This photo shows the former Texaco and Oasis gas station just south of the (1980) Dunes tower addition (seen behind these remains of the gas station's car-port and behind Denny's Coffee Shop). The Cosmopolitan and Harmon Hotels are currently located just south of this former gas station spot.

By the way. That former Denny's was an excellent spot to see celebrities after 2am. And yes. That $1.15 price for gas would place the date of this photo at around 1980 according to the Dept. of Energy's website.

Current view of Crystals, the Harmon Hotel and Cosmopolitan.

This 1966 photo shows the new I-15 freeway, the Dunes' Golf Course, Caesars Palace (yellow-dot), Flamingo (purple-dot), Dunes (dark-green-dot), vacant lot for the future 1967 Bonanza Casino and 1973 original MGM (light-green dot), the future Paris Hotel property (orange-dot), the Aladdin (pink-dot) and the northern edge of the current City Center's Cosmopolitan and Harmon (red-dot).


This pre-1980 view is from the Dunes Golf Course (looking north-easterly towards Caesars, the Jockey Club Towers and the Dunes).

The (2009) Vdara Hotel is located almost exactly on the spot of the Dunes' Golf Course (seen above). The camera angle is looking north towards the Bellagio (former Dunes).


View of the 1966 Aladdin after it bought the non-gaming (1962) Tally Ho property.

View looking east at the Aladdin Casino with its former Tally Ho room wings. Harmon Avenue is seen at right, with the Carriage House at top-right. The Aladdin remained a low-rise property until it built its 27-floor tower in 1975.

The (1975) tower at the Aladdin.

The Aladdin was imploded on April 27, 1998 to make room for the New Aladdin.

1999 view of the New Aladdin and Eiffel Tower under construction.

April 2010 view of the Planet Hollywood Hotel occupying the former New Aladdin Hotel.


A mid-eighties view of the current Paris Hotel property when it was a small shopping center. Little Caesars and the Chruchill Downs' Race and Sports book were formerly located in this mini-mall. This is where Bob Stupak placed and won his Million Dollar, Super-Bowl bet.

1966 view of The Strip (south of Flamingo Road). Caesars is nearing completion. The Three Coins Motel was located on the lot where the MGM/Ballys label is placed. The Galaxy Motel is seen at lower-right (just about where the north property line of the Paris Hotel is at now). Kerkorian's 1967 Bonanza Casino would open at the Galaxy motel, a year later.

The Dunes' Dome-of-the-Sea Restaurant and Denny's make good reference points for locating the Paris property in old photos.

1978 photo shows the original MGM Grand (red-dot). The yellow-dot shows the Barbary Coast under construction. The front of the Bonanza Casino can be seen added onto the former Galaxy Motel. Kerkorian sold the Bonanza Casino (blue-dot) around the time he opened the MGM.

Ballys current South Tower Addition (built in 1986) now occupies the area near the blue-dot. The green-dot shows the Churchill Downs Shopping Center. Paris Hotel now sits on the area of the green-dot.

NOW - 2008
The Paris Hotel's plaza fountain as seen two years ago, on the location of the former mini-mall.

NOW - April 2010
The Paris balloon and Arch of Triumph as seen from the top floor of the Bellagio's parking garage (located north of the Cosmop).

NOW - April 2010
View showing Ballys and Paris hotels

More 'Now and Then', Mid-Strip Photos Coming Next Week of:


* Original MGM Grand and Current Ballys

* Desert Villa Motel, Barbary Coast & Bill's Gambling Hall

* Caesars Palace Construction and Expansion

Mid-Strip - Flamingo Now and Then

Click on any photo for a larger view.

This is a view of the 1953 remodeled front of the Flamingo Hotel (originally built in 1946). During the 1950s Las Vegas patrons mainly traveled from casino to casino by car, since the distances between casinos were far apart and there were few sidewalks to walk on.

This 'Vegas Now and Then' post will try showing how the Strip has evolved and how developers now consider the needs of our pedestrian visitors and the need for designs to pull more foot traffic into the various casinos.

Sidenote: Flamingo's Champagne Tower was once the first major piece of neon signage on the Strip that greeted vehicular traffic arriving from Los Angeles. The tower was installed during the 1953 remodeling of the Flamingo. When Caesars Palace was built (in 1966) their fountains were located exactly across the street from the Champagne tower.

1946 aerial photo of the original Flamingo Hotel. The top of the photo shows the future (1966) location of Caesars Palace. The 'yellow dot' (mid-top of photo) shows the approximate camera location used for the 1953 photo (seen above).

From this photo, you can see the approximate location where the 1953 Champagne Tower was later installed next to the front driveway (purple dot) right on the Strip. The 'orange dot' shows the location of Flamingo's current circular entryway.

Through the years, the Flamingo would expand its casino all the way to the street. The photos below chronicle this expansion and show how the Flamingo has now become more accessible to pedestrian foot-traffic.

This photo shows the Flamingo's 1967 remodeling (as seen in 1969 after Hilton bought the hotel). The Flamingo's Champagne Tower was removed during Flamingo's 1967 remodeling and the hotel-casino's entry was made to be parallel to the boulevard .

The big part of the remodeling was the construction of the Flamingo's second story skyroom restaurant, which looked out onto Caesars' fountains and provided beautiful views of the desert sunsets behind the western La Madre Mountains.

This aerial photo shows the basic layout of the Flamingo (showing its original hotel and pool). Notice that additional room wings had been added to the 1946 layout. The 1967 remodeled front and its new porte cochere now lined up with the Strip and its skyroom restaurant now looked out towards Caesars.

Las Vegas re-modelings, like this one at the Flamingo, usually take place whenever a new casino opens up (like Caesars did in 1966) and neighboring hotels feel the need to spruce themselves up to keep pace with the changes.

The Flamingo did its first (1953) remodeling after the opening of its new Strip competitors - the 1950 Desert Inn Hotel and Silver Slipper casino, and the 1952 Sahara and Sands' Hotels.

During its second (1967) remodeling, the Champagne Tower was removed (its former location was near where the 'red dot' is). The 'white dot' marks the location of its current, circular entry way. The 'blue dot' represents the location of the 1977 south-side addition of the Flamingo's second porte cochere and its new neon sign, which can be seen below - on the day it was installed on April 10th, 1977.

Construction of Flamingo's south entry and neon sign installation April 10th, 1977. This south entry was originally used as a second, covered vehicular driveway (notice the porte cochere and mirrors over doorway).

The south entry of the Flamingo, 33 years later, on April 10th, 2010. The porte cochere (covered driveway) has since become a pedestrian entryway. This entry is located just 70 feet north of Bill's Gambling Hall. The conversion of the entry and the addition of a wide sidewalk and mini-plaza encourages pedestrian strolling and easy entry into the Flamingo.

This 1999 view, from the front of Caesars shows the current face of the Flamingo as it has expanded its hotel room towers and extended its casino right up to the sidewalk.

The south-side entry and neon sign can be seen at the far right of this 1999 photo.

The addition of lots of trees and plenty of pretty foliage provides much needed shade and makes the Strip seem like less of a desert than it actually is.

The Mid-Strip block of Harrahs' casinos and their consideration of foot traffic allows visitors to the Strip to comfortably walk from one casino to the next - from Planet Hollywood, past Ballys, Bills, Flamingo, O' Sheas, Imperial Palace and into Harrahs.

With the well-planned addition of over-head bridges to the Strip, foot traffic can easily make its way west to Caesars or south to Ballys, Paris (and MGM's Bellagio on the south-west corner of the Mid-Strip).

The pedestrian bridge (on left) leads to Caesars Palace's new plaza areas and sidewalk oriented restaurant. In the photos, coming later this week, you'll see how Caesars has changed through the years, with the remodeling of its original hotel, and the addition of new towers to the property.

More Mid-Strip, Now & Then Photos Coming Here This Week!