Las Vegas, Nevada

Sam Cohen and a group of Miami investors with mob ties developed and built the Riviera, an architectural departure for the Strip at the time with its five-story, white Miami modern façade.  


It opened in 1955 with Liberace as the headliner, who was paid the highest salary in Strip history. Within three months, the Riviera went bankrupt and was taken over by a new set of owners and operators.


Since then, the Riviera has shown great resiliency and has undergone continuous expansion, renovation, and re-theming, much of it the work of Martin Stern. All of the buildings, including the original, still stand and are incorporated into the current sprawling facility.


Photograph of the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, 1950s

Riviera Hotel,  1950s


Rendering of the Riviera Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas), proposed Riviera tower, c

Rendering, Riviera Hotel, circa 1981



Photograph of a pool scene at the Riviera, Las Vegas, circa 1955

Pool scene at the Riviera, circa 1955


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Location of Project

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  • 1954

    Riveria original construction by Roy France and Son for $8.5 million

  • 1955

    Riviera Hotel opens

  • 1955

    Gus Greenbaum of the Flamingo takes over management of the Riveria. Later he is murdered in Phoenix in 1958. 

  • 1962

    Riveria expansion by Harold Levitt

  • 1965

    Riveria south wing additions by Harold Levitt

  • 1965

     Riviera is bought out by Hotel Riviera, Inc. (with Broadway producer David Merrick as a partner and later vice-president).

  • 1968

    A small group of stockholders buys out the rest of the Riviera. Edward Torres, the former general manager of the Fremont, becomes the major stockholder of the re-organized company.

  • 1969

    Dean Martin becomes 10% owner of the Riveria

  • 1972

    Dean Martin sells out of Riveria ownership

  • 1973

    Riveria purchased by American International Travel Services of Boston, Edward Torres remains president of hotel

  • 1975

    300-room East Tower (Monte Carlo Tower) addition to Riveria by Martin Stern Jr.

  • 1976

    Riveria 6-story addition 

  • 1978

    Riveria conference center addition

  • 1979

    Riveria is purchased by Meshulam Riklis and Isador Becker

  • 1981

    Riveria front entrance renovated

  • 1982

    Riviera additions made 

  • 1984

    Riviera entrance and coffee shop renovations

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?