Las Vegas, Nevada

The Sahara began as Club Bingo, a small casino built on the outskirts of Las Vegas in 1947. In 1952, the original owner, Milton Prell, who would also build the downtown Lucky Strike and The Mint, formed the Sahara-Nevada Corporation and built the Sahara on the former site of Club Bingo.
When Max Maltzman, the original general contractor became ill, Del Webb, who had just finished building the Flamingo, took over both the construction and then ownership. Martin Stern designed the first high rise hotel tower on the Strip in 1959 for the Sahara which went through continuous expansion through the 1970’s adding room towers (its 1963 tower was the tallest building in Nevada at the time), a convention center, and its famous YESCO sign.  
The Sahara was a major nightclub and entertainment venue rivaling its neighbor the Sands for its celebrity headliners including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Louis Prima. The Beatles stayed there when they performed at the nearby Las Vegas Convention Center.
Photograph of the pool area and hotel tower of the Sahara, after 1959

Pool area and hotel tower, Sahara, circa 1959
Postcard showing the Sahara Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, mid 1970s

Postcard of Sahara, mid 1970s
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Location of Project

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  • 1947

    Sahara opens as Club Bingo

  • 1952

    Original Sahara site plan by Max Maltzman 

  • 1952

    Sahara Hotel opens

  • 1954

    Louis Prima and Keely Smith open one of the first late-night lounge acts on the strip at the Sahara

  • 1959

    Sahara Hotel expansion makes it the first high-rise hotel on the Strip.

  • 1961

    Del Webb takes over Sahara-Nevada Corp.

  • 1962

    Don the Beachcomber restaurant opens at the Sahara

  • 1963

    Sahara's newest tower is the tallest in Nevada

  • 1967

    Sahara Convention Center and Hotel addition

  • 1977

    342-room high rise addition to Sahara

  • 1979

    Sahara 625-room addition 

  • 1980

    Sahara Showboat Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City proposal

  • 1980

    Yesco installs at Sahara the tallest free-standing sign at the time

  • 1982

    Sahara sold to Paul Lowden (Archon Corporation)

  • 1987

    27-story tower addition to Sahara

  • 1995

    Sahara sold to Bill Bennett

  • 1997

    New porte-cochére built at Sahara

  • 1999

    Nascar Café and Speed-The Ride roller coaster added

  • 2007

    Sahara sold to Sam Nazarian (Stockbridge Real Estate Group)

  • 2011

    Sahara closed

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?