Las Vegas, Nevada

The second resort on the Strip after the El Rancho, the Last Frontier Hotel opened in 1942 built by movie theater chain owner R.E. Griffith.

The Frontier went through various design, theme and name iterations from its original western village to a space-aged “New Frontier”, until Homer Rissman completely redesigned it in 1966.

Elvis Presley made his first Vegas appearance at the Frontier in 1956 and bombed.  The hotel later became home to Siegfried and Roy. Mort Saiger, known as “Mr. Frontier,” was the longtime unofficial “host”.  Known as the Last of the Pony Express Riders, he escorted guests on horseback riding outings.

Its later history under anti-union owner Margaret Elardi was dominated by a lengthy and bitter labor dispute. It was demolished in 2009 to make way for a vacant lot.


Photograph of the New Frontier Hotel porte cochere, Las Vegas, circa 1955

New Frontier Hotel porte cochere, circa 1955


Artist's rendering of the Frontier Hotel, circa 1964

Artist's rendering of Frontier Hotel, circa 1964


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Location of Project

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  • 1939

    Original site of Guy McAfee’s 91 Club; later site of Frontier

  • 1942

    Last Frontier Hotel and Casino opens

  • 1942

    The original site plan is designed by Griffith's nephew, William J. Moore, and Dilbeck, a Dallas architect. Moore soon quits as architect and becomes the hotel's general manager.

  • 1951

    Bought by Belden Kartelman of the El Rancho and Jake Kazloff of the Golden Nugget

  • 1955

    Kazloff and Guy McAfee sell the hotel to Maury Friedman and Irving Leff of LA, who finish rebuilding the hotel as the New Frontier.

  • 1956

    The New Frontier is leased to Warren Bayley of the Hacienda and Vera Krupp.

  • 1965

    Bought by Baylye's executor, Bankers Life, who brings back Maury Friedman to tear down the old New Frontier and build a new 500-room Frontier.

  • 1967

    The Frontier Operating Company is established, with Steve Wynn taking over the lease. The new owners are accused of mob affiliations, and Howard Hughes purchases the property.

  • 1967

    Rebuilt Frontier opens

  • 1988

    Margaret Elardi, owner of the non-union Pioneer Hotel in Laughlin, takes over.

  • 1991

    The Frontier declines after a 61 month strike by the Culinary, Bartenders and Teamsters Unions; the unions continuously picket the property.

  • 1997

    Phil Ruffin settles Frontier strike

  • 2007

    The ELAD Group purchases the Frontier

  • 2009

    The Frontier is imploded

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?