Old Las Vegas Logo


1968 View of Wynn's Encore Las Vegas Site
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1968 aerial view of the north Strip. The Frontier, Silver Slipper and the Stardust are seen on the left.
The area at bottom-right shows the current site of the Wynn Hotel and the old Desert Inn Hotel.
The Desert Inn opened in 1950. In 1963, the 10 story tower was built - with a second tower to follow.
The DI was remodeled in 1978 and again in 1997. It was imploded in 2004 to make way for Wynn's Resort.
The Riviera is seen just beyond the DI. The Sahara Towers are seen in the distance along with the Fremont
Hotel Tower located downtown. The Encore will soon open on the exact same site of the old Desert Inn.


A Photo-History of The Wynn Resort Location

This webpage is a photo history of the casino-hotels that formerly occupied the location on or around the
upcoming Encore Las Vegas property - starting in the early 1930s with Club Pair-O-Dice, then the
1942 Last Frontier Hotel & Frontier Village, the 1950 Desert Inn Hotel, the 1950 Golden Slipper and
Silver Slipper Gambling Hall & Burlesque Theater, the 1955 New Frontier, the 1967 Frontier Hotel,
the Desert Inn's various expansions and the building of the Wynn Encore Las Vegas Resort.

Click links above for the history of the Last Frontier, Silver Slipper, New Frontier and lots more on Desert Inn.


The Wynn & Encore Las Vegas Hotel Site

1942 Frontier Showing Wynn Encore Lot
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Sixty-six year old view of the entire vacant property now occupied by Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Hotel .
Eastward 1942 picture from the porch of the Last Frontier (the 2nd Strip hotel). In 1950, the Desert Inn (the 5th Strip
hotel) would be built on the land seen directly across the road - right where the Frontier's tourist stagecoach
is seen. 'Wynn's Encore Las Vegas' has been built on this same historic location and will open there in 2009.

1876 View of Sunrise Mountain
Frederick S. Dellenbaugh painting from the Nevada Historical Society & Museum

View of the Las Vegas Valley and Sunrise Mountain in 1876.

1942 View from the Encore Las Vegas Land
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Westward 1942 photo of the Last Frontier Hotel taken from the current location of the 'Encore Las Vegas' site.
The Desert Inn stood here for 54 years. The Encore's north entrance and porte cochere is now at this exact spot.

2008 View of the Encore Las Vegas Land
Photography Copyright 2008 by Erik Wunstell

ENCORE LAS VEGAS - 2008 PHOTOS


History of Wynn's Encore Las Vegas & Desert Inn


The Beginning of Las Vegas' Strip Hotels.

The first Strip casino, which opened in 1941, was Thomas Hull's 'El Rancho Vegas'. It started the era of the self-contained
resort that the Las Vegas Strip has marketed for over 67 years. Its innovation was in offering everything a vacationer
would need - all at one central location. The El Rancho was the first Vegas resort to offer hotel rooms, a casino, lounge,
all-night bar, showroom, a chuck-wagon buffet, fine dining, a gift shop, swimming pool and a 24 hour cofee shop. As odd
as it may seem now - all of this had never been offered in once place until the El Rancho opened. After the El Rancho's
success - all following hotel-casinos followed the same template of offering everything a guest would need in one place.

The opening of Steve Wynn's Encore Las Vegas (New Year's 2009) marks the resurgence of the area of the Strip once
occupied by the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino. The 1950 Desert Inn was a highly fashionable departure from the other
four hotels already built on the young Las Vegas Strip - The 1941 El Rancho, the 1942 Last Frontier, the 1946 Flamingo
and the 1948 Thunderbird. There were long distances between hotels until the DI opened across from Frontier.

The design of the Desert Inn featured one of America's first curved swimming pools. At the time this was a rarity and
a unique breakthrough in design - instantly demoting the 'square-shaped pools' of the older hotels to "Square" status.

The El Rancho and Last Frontier had used an Old West theme. The Thunderbird's theme was Navajo based. The overly
touted Flamingo's theme was based more on the Beverly Hills' hotel template of the forties. But, the Desert Inn was
truly the one hotel that represented and ushered in the 1950s era of 'South West Modern' and high-syle on the Strip.

By using a promininent fountain, in its front grass entryway, it set a trend that's been followed in Las Vegas to this very
day. It offered the first truly functional 'sky-room lounge' providing vista-views of the surrounding desert environment.
Although the Thunderbird had built a skyroom two years earlier, it was miniscule and without a public lounge.

The most notable feature of the Desert Inn was its 'Ranch-House-Modern' styling which incorporated large use of
glass to let it plenty of airy sunlight and provide views of swimmers at the pool. The hotel's central focus was on the
back pool area - while the El Rancho and Last Frontier's pool was placed in front, right at the edge of the roadside.
The Flamingo's square pool was set in back also, but its pool view wasn't incorporated in a focal way like Desert Inn's.
For lack of a better description - the Desert Inn was simply a sexier, more modern and upbeat hotel than all the rest.

From 1950 thru 2002 the Desert Inn remained one of the most luxurious and high-class hotels in Las Vegas.
It went thru at least 5 major remodelings and stayed ahead of the pack of even the more newly built Strip hotels.

This area of the North Strip was once the most vibrant and active location in all of Las Vegas. The Desert Inn was
across the street from the Silver Slipper and Last Frontier. Until 1950 the Big-Four Hotels had remained set unto
themselves without nearby neighbors. Walking the dusty road between casinos was basical unheard of at that time.

Unlike today, when Vegas Visitors walk miles-in-a-day trying to see most of the sights and adventures of over
20 Strip hotels and shops...in old Las Vegas the pace was much more leisurely and Strip guests spent most of
their time enjoying the self-contained hotel-complexes where they'd reserved rooms. Visitors usually waited
until evening to venture out and drive to see and enjoy the other Strip or Downtown casinos.

A walk from the El Rancho to the Thunderbird was a dusty and slightly dangerous walk along a highway without
sidewalks. The distance between the Thunderbird to Las Frontier, much less the Flamingo - would by necessity
involve driving one's own car or taking a taxi-ride - simply to avoid getting one's gown or dress-shoes dusty.

With the opening of the Desert Inn, across the street from the Last Frontier, guests could take a pleasant
walk across the Strip to see the sites and sounds of their neighboring casino. And the Last Frontier Hotel had
plenty to see - including shows, lounges and their Disney like mini-theme park called Last Frontier Village.

The nearness of these two large resorts kicked off the era of 'cross-patronization' between casinos and the
Last Frontier took advatage of the extra customers soon-to-come to their vacinity by building the
'Silver Slipper Gambling Hall and Showroom' in the same year Desert Inn opened.

In 1952, the Sands opened south of the Desert Inn and the Last Frontier. That same year, the Sahara opened
across the street from the El Rancho. It would take until 1955 before other neighboring casinos were built
in clusters. That year, the Riviera opened just south of the Thunderbird, the Royal Nevada casino opened
south of the Riviera and the Dunes opened diagonally across from the Flamingo.

In 1958, the Stardust opened just next to the Royal Nevada...while the 1956 Hacienda and 1957 Tropicana
opened way down at the south-end of the Strip. It would basically take until 1966, when Caesars Palace and
the Aladdin opened near the Flamingo and Dunes, before the cross-patronization of foot-traffic would begin
to take hold. Yet, even then it was rare for women in high-heels and men in suits to walk instead of drive .

With the opening of the Encore Las Vegas, this once vital area of the Strip will become a walker's paradise
between the Encore, Wynn Las Vegas, The Fashion Show Mall and maybe a trip across the bridge to see the
new Palazzo. But, 'the era of mini-cities' has arrived and guests at the Encore will be persuaded by all the many
close attractions to rarely need to venture off of the property at all. The Wynn Resort is entirely self-contained.

The Encore and Wynn Las Vegas will have an accumulation of so many restaurants, shops and attractions that
guests will probably not need or want to venture too far away. Which returns Las Vegas, once again, to a place
where people relax and enjoy all the self-contained amusements of their 'home hotel' - just like they used to.

1952 Las Vegas Travel Poster
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

When the Desert Inn opened it was the 5th casino built on the Strip. In 1952 the Sahara opened - soon followed by the Sands.

 Mid-Forties Aerial of Last Frontier, Wynn & Encore Las Vegas
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1942 aerial view of the entire Last Frontier Hotel-Casino complex. The Desert Inn would open, 8 years later
where the Encore label is seen. The 2005 Wynn Las Vegas Hotel now occupies the area across the Strip.

When the Last Frontier opened it was a spectacular oasis surrounded by miles of empty desert. That was its
original appeal. "Modern Splendor" in a formerly empty and barren desert. Few could then imagine that 47
years later Steve Wynn would bring Dolphins to the Desert at his 1989 Mirage Hotel - much less a tree
lined mountain lake to his Wynn Las Vegas Resort, 63 years after the Last Frontier opened.


The Desert Inn & Wynn Encore History.

Original Desert Inn Sign
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The Wynn Encore is opening on the site of the 1950 Desert Inn.

Front of Desert Inn & Wynn Encore Location
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The original front of the 1950 Desert Inn. The Skyroom would be expanded later.

Original Desert Inn Lobby
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Wilbur Clark's original 1950 Desert Inn Hotel lobby.

DI Pool on Wynn Encore Site
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The 1950 Desert Inn pool was the first curved pool built for a Las Vegas hotel. Earlier pools from the 1940s
(El Rancho, Last Frontier, Flamingo and Thunderbird) were square shaped. The Wynn Encore entrance sits here now.

Desert Inn Showgirls
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1950 showgirls, orchestra and audience in the Desert Inn's 'Painted Desert Showroom'. The Wynn Encore site
has provided fabulous Las Vegas styled entertainment throughout most of its 58 year history.

1950s - Fifties DI Las Vegas Showgirl
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1950s' Desert Inn showroom advertisement.

Desert Inn Pool 1965
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The 1963 expansion of the Desert Inn included additional room-wings on the south side of the property (left).

Desert Inn's First High Rise
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The 1950 Desert Inn expanded (in 1963) by building its 10 story highrise addition just north of the DI Skyroom.
Notice the expansion of the Skyroom. The new Encore is located on this exact spot.

Sunset at Desert Inn
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Sunset at the Desert Inn - showing the new, 1963 ten story tower.

1978 Desert Inn Remodeling
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1978 photo showing the newly remodeled Desert Inn (on right) with its mirrored-glass front and sign.
This was the first casino-hotel's use of mirrored glass - now a common feature in many newer casinos.
The Wynn Encore will open in 2009 on this very same site as the old Desert Inn. See photo below.

Wynn Encore Las Vegas Erection
Photo Copyright by Erik Wunstell 2008

2007 view from the exact same location as photo above. The new Wynn Encore is seen rising on the former
site of the Desert Inn. The Trump sales office is seen occupying the corner of Fashion Show Road and the
Las Vegas Strip. The Frontier Hotel closed its doors, in July 2007, to make way for the Plaza Project.

Desert Inn 1978
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1978 'Before' view of the remodeled Desert Inn - formerly located where Wynn's Encore topped-off on Feb. 17, 2008.

Desert Inn 2003
Photography by Erik Wunstell 2008

2003 'Before' view (50 yards west of above photo) of the 1990s remodeled, Mission-Styled, Desert Inn Hotel.

Wynn Encore on Strip 2008
Photography by Erik Wunstell 2008

February 2008 'After' view of the completed Wynn Encore (from same location seen in the two photos above).

1959 Strip Las Vegas Wynn Encore Location
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

View from 50 years earlier of the same location - showing the Desert Inn (where the Encore now stands)
and the Standard gas station (which is the approximate site of the current Wynn Las Vegas front entrance).

Desert Inn 1971
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1971 view of the 1963 Desert Inn Tower - where the Wynn Encore has now been erected.

Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1980s (southward) view of the Desert Inn. The 1963 tower can be seen on the left (covered in mirrored glass) along
with the later high-rise addition - which replaced the original 1950s low-rise Desert Inn (as seen above on right).

Aerial of Las Vegas Strip 1969
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1968 view of the Strip showing the congestion of motels, gas stations and gift shops. Yellow line
marks the current Wynn properties of the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and the Encore Las Vegas.

Aerial of Current Venetian, Palazzo, Encore & Fashion Show Mall
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This close-up view was taken with a telephoto lens which compresses objects making them seem closer together
than they actually are. Yet, during the late 1960s this area of the Strip actually was packed with many buildings.

The Sands Hotel is partially seen at the far right. This area is now the north, goldola lake of the Venetian.
The current 'Treasure Island-to-Venetian Bridge' now stradles the Strip where the $6 sign is seen, extending
to the palms trees area on right. The Palazzo Hotel now occupies the area on the right where the Black Forest
Restaurant is seen (later called Rosewood Grill). The Palazzo extends over the former sites of the Tam O'
Shanter Motel, the Imperial 400 Motel, the Richfield Gas Station and Pussy Cat Club (seen on the right).

The current Wynn Las Vegas Hotel is located where the Colonial House motel's triangular roofs once stood. Its
current Strip entrance is exactly where the Standard Gas Station sign is seen on the right (directly across from
the Frontier marquee reading 'Phil Harris & Jack E. Leonard'). The Desert Inn sign marquee is seen further
on the right reading 'Pzazz '68'. The original 1950 Desert Inn Skyroom can be seen set-back from the street.
The first six floors of the ten story 1963 tower are also seen at right. Beyond that is the Monaco Motel, the
Flame Restaurant sign and the Morocco Motel. Beyond that are the Riviera and Sahara Hotel's high-rise towers.

The far left of this photo shows the westside of the Strip. The Standard (left) Gas Station sign, Budget Car
Rental, cowgirl gift shop sign and Mobil Gas Station signs are now the location of the Steve Wynn's 1989 built
Mirage Hotel. The Castaways Hotel became the site for Wynn's 1993 Treasure Island Hotel. The Pirate
Show is now exactly behind the Castaway's sign (where the Coppertone billboard is seen). The current Fashion
Show Mall Plaza is in the area between the Golden Nugget billboard and the Frontier's 'Phil Harris' marquee.
Take into consideration the compression factor of the telephoto lens. This area was more spacious than shown.

Aerial of Current Wynn & Encore Location
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Circa 1959 view of the Strip showing the area of the current Wynn & Encore Las Vegas on the right. The Standard gas
station sign is where the current front entrance is to Wynn Las Vegas. Mid-way down (on right) is the Desert Inn
stone and wood entrance and sheet metal roadsign, directly across the Strip from the 1955 New Frontier addition.
The 1942 'Last Frontier' and the 1955 'New Frontier' co-existed, side-by-side. Both were later demolished in 1965
to make way for the 1967 'Frontier' - which spead over the two former sites all the way to the 'Silver Slipper'.

1968 View of the Wynn & Encore Las Vegas Sites.
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 1968 photo shows the location (on right) of the current Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas Hotel sites.
The Colonial House (not seen) formerly occupied the south area of Wynn Las Vegas where the mini-lake sits next
to Sands' Road. The area on the right - showing Sill's Steakhouse, the Santa Anita Race Book, the Variety Club
and the Bain's Restaurant - is where the Wynn Mountain now stands. The Standard gas station sign is where the
Wynn Strip driveway entrance is located. Just beyond is the Desert Inn roadsign, where the Encore Las Vegas
Hotel has just been completed. The Frontier Hotel property is now vacant for the first time since 1942.

1977 View of Desert Inn and Encore Las Vegas
Photo by Erik Wunstell Copyright 1977-2008

This 1977 photo (taken 100 yards north of above photo) shows the new Wynn Encore location (on the right).
The sheet metal, palette shaped, roadsign is where the Encore hotel has been built. The Wynn property extends
to the area where the Monaco Motel is seen. The Fashion Square, Texaco, Silver City and other roadsigns,
up to the Riviera, have since been removed.

1950 Desert Inn Roofsign
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The 1950 installation of the Desert Inn's roof-sign

1950 Desert Inn Roadsign
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Athletics in front of the original Desert Inn roadsign.

Desert Inn Sign 1977
Erik Wunstell Photography 1977-2008

The original roadsign was replaced by this third palette shaped sign with a larger, square marquee.

Desert Inn Glass Phase
Photo courtesy of Beautiful Las Vegas 1980-2002

The Desert Inn roadsign went thru 5 different designs over its 50 year history. In 1978 the sheet metal palette
was replaced by this glass-mirrored, executive office building style, later replaced by a Spanish Mission style.

1949 Architectural Rendition of the Desert Inn Hotel
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Ken Sawyers 1949 architectural rendition of the Desert Inn resort showing fountain, main building and back room-wings.
Wayne McAllister was the main architect for the El Rancho & DI. He went on to design the 1952 Sands and 1956 Fremont.


Desert Inn Aerials & Strip Views

Aerial View of Desert Inn's 1960s' Towers
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Mid-Sixties aerial of the DI. The 1963 Tower can be seen in front, squeezed in between the two-story room wings
In 1963 the covered driveway (porte cochere) was also added. The South Tower (right) was added 3 years later.

Aerial View of Desert Inn's Golf Course
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Aerial view of the huge DI Golf Course. Encore Las Vegas is located where the DI Hotel is seen (lower right).

1957 Aerial View of Las Vegas Strip
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 1957 aerial view shows the Desert Inn (top right) the 1955 New Frontier (mid-right) the 1950 Silver Slipper and
the rodeo grounds of the Last Frontier. The Stardust is seen under construction and would open in 1958. Before the
Stardust opened, they bought-out the 1955 Royal Nevada Hotel & Casino and used the casino space for the Stardust
Auditorium. The Royal Nevada pool and room-wings were, there-after used to house high-rollers and showgirls.

The Stardust was created by Tony Cornero - the Las Vegas developer who opened the first official Vegas resort in 1932.
His Meadows' Casino had gaming areas, showrooms, hotel rooms and restaurants. It pre-dated the El Rancho by almost
a decade and set the template that would later be used on the Strip. Its location on Boulder Highway and its short
life keep it from being considered the first Las Vegas resort, but it definitely made an impact on all that followed.

After the closing of the Meadows, Tony Cornero remained influential in the gaming scene and Las Vegas. He operated two
popular gambling boats off the Southern California coast from the mid-30s thru 1942. When gaming-ships were outlawed he
moved his S.S Rex casino from the Pacific Ocean right into the bottom floor of the Apache Hotel in 1944. His S.S. Rex was
later sold and became the location of the El Dorado and then the Horseshoe and finally Binions.

Thru the 1940s Tony Cornero maintained his ties with prominent Las Vegas gaming developers. He also maintained close
relationships with influential Los Angeles nightclub owners, such as Billy Wilkerson - and later helped Wilkerson in
the early development of the Flamingo Hotel.

In the early 1950s, Cornero started plans for his all-new Starlight casino idea. It was aimed at the low-budget crowd
and its design was also planned in a low-budget style (as can be seen by the warehouse-type layout of the rear room
wings). A comparison to the Desert Inn's room wings and design shows the differing styles.

Tony Cornero had budgeting problems mid-way thru the building of his Starlight casino and construction was halted. He
died on the gaming floor of the Desert Inn in 1955 - and his project was bought out and opened in 1958 as the Stardust.
In later years, the Stardust and Royal Nevada were merged into one giant casino complex. The Stardust closed in 2006.
(You can read more about Tony Cornero, The Meadows & Stardust on upcoming webpages from In Old Las Vegas.com).

2007 Satellite View of Wynn Las Vegas Encore
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 2007 satellite view (from Google Earth) shows the same area as seen above. Wynn Las Vegas is seen, along with the
construction of the Encore. The Frontier and Stardust have since been imploded and new developments are under-way.
Red Letters show the names of the old sites and Yellow Letters show the names of the new hotels.

1958 Aerial View of Las Vegas Strip, Dunes & Flamingo
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 1958 aerial view is looking north, up the Strip. The Dunes and Flamingo are seen in foreground. The Yellow Dot
marks the location of the New Frontier. The Red Dot is the current location of Wynn Las Vegas. The Blue Dot marks the
former location of the Desert Inn and the new Encore Hotel. The Green Dots mark the boundary of the Wynn Golf Course.
The immense golf course, behind Wynn & Encore Las Vegas will be developed over the next decade with a lake and 3 hotels.

1958 Las Vegas Strip
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This aerial view shows the following locations: 1941 El Rancho, 1942 Last Frontier, 1946 Flamingo, 1948 Thunderbird, 1950
Silver Slipper, 1952 Sahara, 1952 Sands, 1955 Dunes, 1955 New Frontier, 1955 Royal Nevada, 1955 Riviera, 1957 Sans
Souci (formerly the 1931 Red Rooster Nightclub and later becoming the Castaways in 1964 and part of the north site of the
Mirage in 1989 and the southern site of Treasure Island in 1993), 1958 Stardust, 1959 Convention Center, 1966 Ceasars
Palace, 1968 Circus Circus, 1969 Landmark, 1969 International (now Hilton), 1969 Bonanza (later becoming the site of the
original 1973 MGM Grand and then Ballys in 1986), 1973 Holiday Inn (former site of the 1949 Tumbleweed Motel and later
becoming the 1992 Harrahs), the 1979 Barbary Coast (on the site of the former 1950 Desert Villa Motel), the 1979 Imperial
Palace (built on the former location of the 1952 Flamingo Capri) and the 1996 Stratosphere (formerly the location of 1974
Vegas World). Caesars Forum Shops extended out to the street by 2005. The upcoming MGM City Center is seen at right.
(The red, green and yellow lettering has no significance here. It was used merely for visibility reasons).

1965 Aerial View of Las Vegas Strip, Dunes and Flamingo
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 1965 aerial photo shows the new 1965 Dunes Tower. Across the Strip (bottom right) is the 1964 Galaxy Motel (now the
site of the Paris Eiffel Tower) and the 1963 Three Coins Motel (later the 1969 Bonanza, 1973 MGM Grand and 1986 Ballys).

Above the Dunes (left) is the vacant land where 1966s' Caesars Palace is just beginning construction (the arc shape
is seen having been already carved into the grounds. Across from Caesars' lot is the 1950 Desert Villa Motel. At that
time Flamingo Road just went to the Strip. A few years later, a westside street (called Dunes Road) would continue onto
the I-95 freeway. Above Desert Villa is the 1946 Flamingo. The curving 1952 Flamingo Capri Motel is just above that.

The next large plot of developed land (mid-right) is the site of the 1952 Sands Hotel. It's 1966 circular Tower is not seen
(hence the reason this photo is deemed as having been taken in 1965 -just after the opening of the 1965 Dunes Tower and
right before the building of the 1966 Caesars Palace and Sands' Tower). Across from the Sands (mid-left) are a few small
buildings and gas station (where the 1989 Mirage would be built). Just above is the site of the Castaways Motel. Treasure
Island would be built on and just beyond the Castaways site (on the vacant lot).

The road (at mid-left) is the current location of Spring Mountain Road (though the road now curves south at the Strip to
merge into Sands Road). The Red Dot marks the location of the Desert Inn and current Wynn Encore. At top-right, the 1953
Las Vegas Speedway's oval track can be seen (where the Hilton is now located). The 1959 Convention Center's dome is also
seen. The Space-Needle type Landmark Hotel is also seen as constructed (though the interior wasn't). The Landmark Project
took over 5 years to complete by 1969. At top-left is the former Royal Nevada-Stardust Auditorium, and above that are the
straight room-wings of the Stardust Hotel. The former Desert Inn and current Wynn Golf Course is plainly seen extending
from Sands Road all the way to Desert Inn Road. This Wynn property may eventually surpass the MGM City Center project.

1967 Aerial View of Strip, DI and Frontier
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This north-westward view shows the newly completed 1967 Frontier Hotel located across the street from the Desert Inn.
In order to decipher the original boundary lines of the 1942 Last Frontier and the 1955 New Frontier addition, it helps
to view where the DI's roadsign and porte-cochere line-up with parts of the Frontier. In 1955, the Desert Inn's
porte cochere and NF roadsign lined up exactly. The cross-walk (seen above) at the 1967 Frontier is where
the former New Frontier's pylon roadsign stood. A little bit north of the crosswalk is seen a dark brown
area in the facade. This is the location of the New Frontier's former front entrance. The 1942 Last Frontier
was actually located to the south (left) of the 1967 Frontier's porte cochere - in the front parking area.

(See the New Frontier photos - below - for more on this subject).

Aerial View of the Frontier Hotel
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Westward aerial view showing the 1963 front Desert Inn tower (bottom) and the 1967 Frontier hotel across the street.
Notice the Silver Slipper buildings (at right). The Silver Slipper was located just north of the prior New Frontier.

Aerial View of Desert Inn and Frontier
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Late Fifties advertisement for the Hacienda Hotel's charter flights. Notice the Desert Inn's arc driveway just below the
plane's propellors. The New Frontier's tall,pylon roadsign can be seen just under the plane's first window and nose.
The direct line-up of the New Frontier sign and the Desert Inn sign are key elements in determining the hotel's boundary.

Night View of North Las Vegas Strip
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Northward circa 1955 view showing the newly completed New Frontier Hotel and roadsign, almost exactly across from the
Desert Inn entrance and roadsign. The 1955 Riviera - nine story highrise is seen at further up the Strip (right) and
Royal Nevada crown roadsign is slightly seen on the left side of the Strip.

2006 View of the North Strip from Wynn Vegas
Photography Copyright 2008 by Erik Wunstell

Northward 2006 view of the Strip from the approximate same location as above (60 yeards south).

Desert Inn Fountain
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The Desert Inn was the first Las Vegas casino to use a front water display fountain, followed in
1966 by the fountains at Caesars Palace, the fountains at Circus Circus in 1968, the 1989 Mirage
Volcano water show, the 1993 Treasure Island Pirate Lagoon, the 1998 fountains at Bellagio and
the 2005 lake and fountains of Wynn Las Vegas.

The fountain likely remained in place until it was replaced by the cloud and cactus front roadsign
and the porte cochere and tower addition in 1963.

Encore Las Vegas and Wynn Las Vegas
Photo by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

The Encore Las Vegas Hotel is now nearly completed on the former site of the original Desert Inn. Wynn Vegas is on right.

Aerial of Desert Inn Pool
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Aerial view of the Desert Inn pool shows the current location of the Encore Las Vegas hotel.

2006 View of the Encore Las Vegas Site
Photography by Erik Wunstell April 2006

This 2006 parking lot photo is where the Desert Inn's first pool was located (see photo above). The
black-topped area is where the Encore has been built. This north-easterly photo was taken from the
current Wynn Hotel parking garage. The 1990s DI parking garage (mid-left) has since been imploded.


The Colonial House and Wynn Las Vegas

The 1950s Colonial House Motel at Wynn
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This image is of the former Colonial House Motel. During the 1950s it was one of the largest non-gaming
motels on the Strip. It was located on the north-east corner of Las Vegas boulevard and Sands Road on the
south part of the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel property - where the current Strip fronting lake and entry to the
Wynn Esplanade are now situated. Just north of the Colonial House were the Sill's Steakhouse the Santa Anita
Race Book, the Variety Club, Bain's Restaurant and the Standard gas station - where the Wynn Mountain
now stands. Those buildings can be seen in other photos near the top of this webpage.

The Colonial House was a very popular night spot due to its Colony Club Showroom Lounge and close
vicinity mid-way between the Desert Inn and the Sands' Hotel.

Current Wynn Esplanade Entry
Photography by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

The Wynn Esplanade now occupies part of the location of the, formerly famous, Colonial House Motel.

Wynn Las Vegas' Southern Lake
Photography by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2007

The Colonial House Motel formerly stood where this Wynn lake is now located, near the South-east corner
of the Wynn Las Vegas poperty (at Sands Road and Las Vegas Boulevard)


Desert Inn/ Wynn from the Sands/Venetian

1964 Aerial View of Strip Northward
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Northward 1964 view of the Las Vegas Strip from the current area of the Venetian. The location of the
Colonial House Motel can be seen just above the letter 'S' in the Sands' sign (red triangular roofs).
A bit further down (on left side of Strip) the tall New Frontier pylon roadsign can be seen. The current
Wynn property extends from the red roofs of the Colonial to the location of Desert Inn & New Frontier.

This photo is quite informative in locating current hotels. The Venetian now occupies the former Sands
property. The north Gondola lake is now where the former Sands' sign and entry once were located. Across
from the Sands (at left) is the area where the Mirage now sits. The Budget-Rent-a-Car (5 cent) sign would
now sit in the Mirage's Volcano Lake. The Mirage lot extends to the Mobil gas station - almost to the Castaways
sign. Treasure Island's Buccaneer Way street and porte cochere is right about where the Castaways' Hotel
once stood and extends thru the vacant lot, where the three billboards are seen. This is now the Pirate
Ship area. Across from that lot is the current Palazzo Hotel.

The Sands' entryway is still the exact same entryway for the Venetian. The first Musso Italian Restaurant
sign (that advertises 'Italian Dinners') is now the approximate area of the Madame Tussaud's Wax
Museum entryway with the Sephora Shop and Denny's Restaurant perhaps 25 yards south.

Steet Level View of the 1963 Las Vegas Strip
Photo by Wayne Violette Copyright 2008 Camden Communications

This photo (taken about one year before the photo above) shows a circa 1963 view of the Strip looking
northward. The location of the station wagon exiting the Sands is still the current driveway into
the Venetian Hotel. Across from the Sands, can be seen the roadsign for the Sans Souci Motel. In 1964
the Sans Souci became the Castaways. Looking farther up the Strip (near center-left) is seen the tall
New Frontier's triangular, pylon roadsign. The Desert Inn and the current Encore Hotel would be located
directly across from the New Frontier sign. The 2007 photo below shows almost this same exact location.

Photo by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

This 2007 view (from the same location as above) shows how the Venetian (right) occupies the former Sands'
site - along with the erection of the Palazzo Hotel and Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore rising (seen
just above the green signal light).

The Mirage's arched entry gate is located directly across from the Venetian entryway - and is located
exactly where the Mobil gas station sign is seen in the colored 1964 picture (two photos up). Treasure
Island can be seen located on the former sites for the Castaways and vacant lot billboards.


Good-Bye Desert Inn - Hello Wynn Vegas & Encore

1950 Desert Inn Front Entry
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This photo is of the 1950 Desert Inn's north gate.

Desert Inn's South Gate
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This photo is of the Desert Inn's south gate.

Fifties Desert Inn Hotel
Graphic Restoration and Enhancement by Camden Communications

This pre-tower photo of the Desert Inn can be dated to have been taken after 1957 (judging from the
circa 1957 Buick - but definitely before 1963, when the 10 story tower was built and the Desert Inn
sign was moved to the top of the ten story tower.

2004 View of Wynn Las Vegas
Photography by Erik Wunstell 2004

This 2004 photo shows the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel rising. This photo is from the Stardust's south parking lot.
The former 1967 Fontier Hotel's green gabled roofs can be seen - along with the red, mission roof (left)
of the previous Desert Inn's incarnation. The Encore now occupies the area on the left.

The Frontier closed in July 2007 to make way for the Plaza Hotel, which will make this section of the Strip
an entirely new and revamped area with the recent opening of Trump Tower and the upcoming openings of
the Encore Hotel, Echelon Place (on the former Stardust lot) and the Plaza (on the former Frontier site).

2007 View of Encore Las Vegas Rising
Photography by Erik Wunstell 2007

This 2007 view shows the Encore Las Vegas halfway thru its building process. It has since reached its full
height and its interior spaces are now being filled in. The hotel will open at the start of 2009.

For 59 years, this former site of the Desert Inn has been a highly influential part of Las Vegas history
and development. With the opening of the Encore and the developments on the golf course a new era begins.


Wynn's Historic Neighborhood

Site of the Former Desert Inn & Location of Encore Las Vgas
Photography by Erik Wunstell April 2006

This black-topped location for the new Wynn Encore (as seen 2 years ago) was the former site of the original
1950 Desert Inn. Across the street (left side of photo) is the green-gabled roof of the Frontier - where the
former New Frontier had been torn down. The second green roof is where the Frontier's theater was located.

These prime locations of the former Desert Inn and Frontier are among the most historically important sites
on the Las Vegas Strip. The Encore is now nearly completed and the Plaza Hotel will soon start building
several tall hotel towers on the former site of the recently demolished Frontier.

1967 View of the Las Vegas Strip
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Southward view looking down the 1967 Las Vegas Strip towards the Frontier Hotel. The Desert Inn, Standard
gas station and Colonial House Motel are see on left - where the Encore and Wynn Las Vegas Hotels are now
located
. The Sands Tower is also seen on left - where the Venetian is currently located. On right is the original
Stardust globe sign, the Stardust Auditorium (previously the site of the Royal Nevada) and the Strip's only
Greyhound Bus Station. Every piece of neon has since been removed as the area again transforms itself.

1968 View of Silver Slipper and Frontier Hotel
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

This 1967 view of the Strip (looking south) shows the Desert Inn sign (left) and the Frontier's 1967 roadsign,
which set the world record as the tallest free-standing sign, at the time.The current Encore is now
located where the Desert Inn's roadsign is seen - announcing the 'Pzazz '68' show.

See the 'After' photo below to view the current Wynn Las Vegas Hotel from the nearly exact location in 2007.

2007 View of Frontier and Wynn Las Vegas
Photography by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

September 2007 photo from 50 yards north of the 1967 image seen above. The Wynn Encore is located
where the former Desert Inn once stood. The Wynn Las Vegas Hotel is across from the Frontier sign.
The Venetian is now located at the former Sand's location.

2006 view of the Fontier Hotel's Entryway
Photography by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

2006 view of the Frontier property, located across the street from the Wynn Las Vegas property. This section
is the site of the 1942 Last Frontier. In 1967 The Frontier (as seen here) was opened and remained in place
for forty years until its closure in July, 2007 and implosion in December 2007.

2008 View - Wynn Hotel Area & Vacant Frontier Lot
Photo by Erik Wunstell Copyright 2008

March 2008 view shows the former Frontier property, now vacant for the first time in 66 years, ready for
the start of construction for the Plaza Hotel. This historic area (both left and right) was once the site
for many important Las Vegas buildings - including the Pair-O-Dice Club, Players Club, Colony Club,
Last Frontier, Desert Inn, Silver Slipper, New Frontier and the final Frontier. A new Vegas is coming.

The Desert Inn & Neighbors

1950 DESERT INN

1942 LAST FRONTIER

1950 SILVER SLIPPER

1955 NEW FRONTIER

1967 FRONTIER

Click these links for the full history of this neighborhood from 1942-1980.


VISIT THE ENCORE

Copyright 2008 By Erik Wunstell

WYNN ENCORE LAS VEGAS PHOTOS


In Old Las Vegas - Photo & Poster Store

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To see hundreds of photos of Old Las Vegas visit WestVegas.com's all-new Website:

IN OLD LAS VEGAS

Golden Nugget Casino - 1966
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

A COMPLETE PHOTO-HISTORY OF LAS VEGAS

Remodeled 1953 Flamingo Hotel Vegas
Graphic Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1953 remodeling of the 1946 Flamingo Hotel's front entrance. Its cylindrical, 'champagne bubles'

Caesars Palace & Flamingo - Color 1977
Photography by Erik Wunstell 1977-2008

April 1977 view of Caesars Palace and the Flamingo - looking north (before the Forum Shops, Mirage, TI & Venetian).

Welcome To Las Vegas - Entrance Sign
Copyright 2008 By InOldLasVegas.com & Camden Communications

Two views of the 1959 'Welcome To Las Vegas' sign (designed by Betty Willis).
Left view is from 1965. Right view is from 1999.

IN OLD LAS VEGAS.com


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Photography by Erik Wunstell 2007

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WEST VEGAS

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The History of Erik Wunstell



Favorite Las Vegas History & Gaming Links

UNLV SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

The best research center for Las Vegas historians. Also accepts memorabilia donations.

UNLV GAMING RESEARCH CENTER

The leading center for Gaming Studies and Research. Plus daily Gaming Industry News.

'DIE IS CAST' BLOG & WEBSITE

The gaming blog website of David Schwartz - Director of Gaming Reasearch at UNLV.
Gaming consultant, speaker and author of 'Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling',
'Cutting the Wire' & 'Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip'

'ROLL THE BONES: THE HISTORY OF GAMBLING'



IN OLD LAS VEGAS


WEBSITE & IMAGES by WestVegas.com & InOldLasVegas.com
Website Copyright 1999-2008 By Erik Wunstell & Camden Communications
6120 W. Tropicana A16-303 Las Vegas, NV 89103
Phone (702) 340-3925