Wayne McAlister's Googie design for the original Sands

Sands

Las Vegas, Nevada

In 1952 the Café la Rue, a proposed restaurant on the Strip, was bought out by a group of business investors fronted by New York nightclub director Jack Entratter, Cleveland casino boss Cark Cohen, and Texas gambler Jake Freeman. The remodeled and renamed Sands Hotel which opened in 1953 was the work of Googie California architect Wayne McAllister.

 

Entertainment director and Vice President Jack Entratter, of the famous New York Copacabana Club, put on Las Vegas' most popular floorshows with his hand-picked Copa Girls. Stellar headliners such as Danny Thomas, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Red Skelton and most famously, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and the Rat Pack made the Copa Room at the Sands the premier entertainment venue in Las Vegas in the 1950-60s.  The Sands broke the racial barrier in the 1950s when it allowed Nat King Cole to stay at the hotel.

 

Howard Hughes bought the Sands in 1967, the same year Martin Stern Jr. completed the distinctive Sands Tower. By the 1980’s The Sands was overshadowed by the newer Strip hotel casinos and was acquired by hotel and convention mogul Sheldon Adelson in 1988. After adding an extensive convention center, Adelson demolished the hotel buildings in 1996 to make way for the Venetian Hotel.

 

Architect's rendering of the Sands Hotel exterior, Las Vegas, circa 1952

Sands Hotel exterior, circa 1952
Photograph of a woman drawing in front of the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, mid-1950s

Woman drawing at Sands Hotel, mid-1950s
Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, aerial view of the tower, after 1967

Sands Hotel, aerial view of tower, circa 1967
Architectural drawing of Sands Hotel, December 1963

Architectural drawing, Sands Hotel, 1963

Related Links:
Welcome Home Howard Las Vegas page

Martin Stern Jr. Special Collections page

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Location of Project

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Timeline
  • 1952

     
    Original construction of Café la Rue by Wayne Mcalister on Sands site

  • 1952

     
     
    Café la Rue purchased for $5,500,000 and renovated to become the Sands; original owners were Jake Friedman, Jack Entratter, Carl Cohen (and associates)

  • 1952

    Sands Hotel opens

  • 1955

    Dunes Hotel opens

  • 1955

     
    Silver Queen Bar at the Sands opens

  • 1958

     
    Sands stage is renovated

  • 1959

     
    Sands Lobby area is expanded and renovated

  • 1960

     
    “Summit at the Sands” performances given at the Sands by the Rat Pack while filming Ocean’s 11

  • 1964

    Sands Tower and casino expansion by Martin Stern begins

  • 1967

    Howard Hughes purchases the Desert Inn, Sands, Frontier, Silver Slipper, and Landmark hotels

  • 1967

     
    Renovated Sands opens

  • 1981

     
    Sands purchased by Inns of the Americas

  • 1982

     
    New sign provided by Yesco for the “Sands Grand Reopening”

  • 1988

    Sands purchased by Kirk Kerkorian who immediately sells to Sheldon Adelson 

  • 1993

    Dunes Hotel imploded to make way for the Bellagio

  • 1996

    Sands imploded to make way for the Venetian

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?