Bugsy Siegel started out in Las Vegas in the 1940s. He took some already existing properties and just added to them. In 1941, the El Rancho Vegas was built among these properties almost right across the street from where the Sahara Hotel is located now.
Las Vegas was promoted as the Wild West combined with glamour. Hollywood’s connection helped the town grow and become a playground for celebrities. In 1947, Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel and its showroom boasted many headline entertainers. There were Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
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Hotel growth was phenomenal during the 1950’s. The town was moving from a frontier type to an entertainment type of place. Entertainers such as Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen brought an elegance with them and builders started to add golf courses and tennis courts to the hotels. In 1952, the Binion Horseshoe Club would opened and would later become famous as the home of the World Poker Series. In 1955, the Showboat Hotel opened that not only had the best buffets in town, but also had a bowling alley and twenty-four-hour bingo games.
In 1956, Elvis Presley appeared at the New Frontier, but his fans were too young at the time to appreciate the shows. In 1958, the 1,065 room, 10 million dollar Stardust hotel was opened. The show that opened there “Lido de Paris” was the longest running show ever in Las Vegas.
Competition for tourist monies also brought sporting events to the town. The 1950’s saw the start of the PGA Tournament of Champions for golfing. Also, the wedding venue took off and Las Vegas became a popular destination to go and tie the knot. A lot of celebrities sparked this takeoff in weddings getting married there themselves. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are just one of the couples that took advantage of the chapels in Las Vegas.