Flamingo Hilton, Las Vegas, circa 1975

Flamingo

Las Vegas, Nevada

The original idea for the Flamingo Hotel which opened in 1947 was Hollywood nightclub owner Billy Wilkerson’s, but will ever be associated with his partner/financier, Hollywood gangster, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. Unlike the earlier western-themed El Rancho and Last Frontier resorts, the Flamingo was themed California Modern to appeal to the glamorous Hollywood-types they sought to attract, including Howard Hughes.

 

After a series of owners and renovations, Kirk Kerkorian purchased the Flamingo in 1967 and had Martin Stern design a new facade which required the demolition of the famous champagne tower. Kerkorian used the Flamingo to train the staff for his new International Hotel, then sold them both to Barron Hilton. Martin Stern did later remodels of the original buildings. Although the original building plans have not survived, Homer Rissman created a set of drawings from an on-site survey of the buildings included here, when Hilton considered incorporating the original buildings into a later high rise tower phase as a Bugsy Siegel “museum.” The idea was scrapped and the buildings were demolished. The modern high rise towers built in six phases from 1976 to1993 are Rissman’s signature on the Strip skyline. The Flamingo signs have been persistent Strip icons.

 

Photograph of the Flamingo Hotel's Champagne Tower and marquee, after 1953

Photograph of the Flamingo Hotel's Champagne Tower and marquee, after 1953

 

Film transparency of the Flamingo Las Vegas lobby, Las Vegas, 1950-1959

Film transparency of the Flamingo Las Vegas lobby, Las Vegas, circa 1950s
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Location of Project

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Timeline
  • 1947

    The original owners of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino are Billy Wilkerson and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. Gus Greenbaum takes over after Siegel is murdered.

  • 1947

    The Fabulous Flamingo Hotel opens

  • 1955

    The Fabulous Flamingo is purchased by local investors led by Tommy Hull of the El Rancho and Al Parvin

  • 1960

    The Fabulous Flamingo is purchased by Morris Lansburgh and Sam Cohen of Miami

  • 1967

    The Fabulous Flamingo is purchased by Kirk Kerkorian who renovates in 1968; Martin Stern is his architect

  • 1967

    The Champagne Tower is demolished

  • 1967

    Kerkorian uses the Flamingo to train the staff for his new International Hotel, which opens in 1969

  • 1972

    Kerkorian sells the Fabulous Flamingo to Barron Hilton of the Hilton Corp.

  • 1974

    The Fabulous Flamingo is renamed the Flamingo Hilton

  • 1980

    Four towers are added in the 1980s

  • 1998

    The Flamingo Hilton becomes part of Park Place Entertainment

  • 2000

    The Flamingo Hilton becomes the Flamingo Las Vegas

  • 2004

    Park Place Entertainment becomes Caesars Entertainment, which merges with Harrah's Entertainment

Skyline Comments
Photograph of a rendering of the International Hotel (Las Vegas), circa 1968:
This is a great image. Thanks
Photograph of men playing faro in a Fremont Street casino (Las Vegas), circa 1930:
I love this picture and the other one you have on the Faro Game. Please let me know How I...
Film transparency of the swimming pool and patio of the Thunderbird Hotel (Las Vegas), circa 1950s:
The 1950'S images are great! Do you have more like this and how can I order reproductions?