Stuart Jay Mason (1935-2012) was a 47-year resident of Las Vegas and builder of some of the most iconic hotel casinos on the Strip. The Mason family construction company, Taylor International Corporation, is responsible for the Riviera (1955), the Tropicana (1957), Caesars Palace (1966), and the Stratosphere (1996). Mason built the then-largest hotel in the world four times: the International Hotel (opened in 1969, now called the Westgate), the MGM Grand at 3645 Las Vegas Boulevard (opened in 1973, now called Bally's), the MGM Grand at 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard (opened in 1993), and the Las Vegas Sands-owned Venetian/Palazzo complex (the Venetian opened in 1999 and the Palazzo opened in 2008).
Mason was born on December 19, 1935 in Columbus, Ohio. In 1937 his family moved to Coral Gables, Florida. He worked summers at his father’s construction company and went to high school at Staunton Military Academy of Virginia. Mason met his future wife Flora Esformes in 1956 at a college fraternity party. The couple got married in 1958 after he graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in philosophy. For seven years he traveled to Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and Grand Bahama building hotels for his father’s company.
Stuart’s father Morry Mason acquired Taylor International Corporation in 1940 and built many iconic hotels in Miami, Florida. In 1954 Morry Mason went to Las Vegas to build the Riviera, and in 1964 he was approached by Jay Sarno to build Caesars Palace. Morry moved the whole company to Las Vegas and Stuart went along to work on Caesars. Stuart’s wife and children followed shortly after and the family decided to move to Las Vegas permanently. Eventually Stuart replaced his father Morry as head of Taylor International, and then in 1997 passed the company on to his two sons, Jim and Bill. After many years in the family business, Stuart was hired by Sheldon Adelson to work for Las Vegas Sands Incorporated as the Vice President of Development for the Venetian.
Stuart Mason served as President of Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas from 1983 to 1984 and helped build the congregation’s new synagogue in 2000. He was also president of the Nevada State Contractors Board, Trustee of Clark County Library, and board member of the Great Basin National Park Foundation. Mason and his wife Flora founded the Nevada chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 1970. In 2006 the couple helped to create the UNLV Libraries Mason Undergraduate Peer Research Coach program for motivated students who are identified as statistically unlikely to graduate. Stuart Mason passed away in Las Vegas on April 28, 2012.
1935: Born on December 19 in Columbus, Ohio.
1937: The Mason family moves to Coral Gables, Florida.
1940: Morry Mason acquires Taylor International Corp.
1958: Stuart Mason graduates from University of Miami.
Stuart Mason marries Flora Esformes on December 20 in Miami.
1964: Stuart Mason moves to Las Vegas to build Caesars Palace for Taylor International.
1970: Flora and Stuart Mason found the Nevada chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
1997: Bill and Jim Mason buy Taylor International from their father, Stuart Mason.
Stuart Mason is hired as the Vice President of Development for the Venetian.
Flora and Stuart Mason help found the UNLV Libraries Mason Undergraduate Peer Research Coach program.
"Stuart Mason Obituary." Las Vegas Review-Journal, accessed January 28, 2015. http://obits.reviewjournal.com/obituaries/lvrj/obituary.aspx?pid=157361983.View Related Items View Collection Guide View Oral History