Lady Luck/Hacienda

Las Vegas, Nevada

The early south Strip was primarily developed by southern California hotel developers. Efstonbuilt Co., a Chicago restaurant fixture contracting company which had relocated to Los Angeles, developed an idea for a resort hotel in Las Vegas on the undeveloped south end of Highway 91. James Efston had invited his Chicago friend, architect Homer Rissman, to California to remodel the coffee shop and drugstore in the Long Beach Wilton Hotel. This association with Efston led to Rissman’s designing the Lady Luck, his first Las Vegas hotel in 1954. The Lady Luck, which was bought while still in design by the California Hacienda Motel chain, eventually opened as the Hacienda in 1956.


Rissman’s records and drawings from this project fully document its design and construction history. The original concept drawings for Efston’s generic “proposed structure” looked more like a high school or factory than a hotel. The drawings morph through a series of totally different design concepts; first into the Lady Luck, then into the Hacienda with its distinctive façade, pylon sign and Vaquero Rider.
The Hacienda resort initially opened in 1954 without a casino.  Warren “Doc” Bayley was unable to get a gaming license because of issues surrounding Jake Kozloff, his intended casino manager, formerly of the Last Frontier. The Hacienda resort closed briefly, but re-opened in 1956 when Kozloff was removed from license application. The Hacienda resort owned its own fleet of airliners for its ambitious air travel promotions.  The Hacienda was also one of the first Strip hotels to market to families and budget travelers.
Film transparency of the front exterior and parking lot of the Hacienda Hotel, L

Front exterior of Hacienda Hotel, circa 1950s
Photograph of an artist's rendering of the proposed Hacienda courtyard, Las Vega

Artist's rendering of Hacienda courtyard, circa 1955
  • 1954

    Construction on the Lady Luck/Hacienda begins

  • 1956

    The Lady Luck opens as the Hacienda

  • 1957

    Hacienda 266-room addition

  • 1963

    Hacienda 214-room addition

  • 1979

    Hacienda adds 11-story tower convention hall

  • 1996

    The Lady Luck/Hacienda is imploded to make way for Mandalay Bay

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?