Center for Gaming Research

Every cowboy's dream...

Welcome to the El Rancho Vegas Online Exhibit.  The El Rancho Vegas was the first casino resort built on what would become the Las Vegas Strip.  It opened on April 3, 1941 and closed after a catastrophic fire on June 17, 1960.

This online exhibit has two aspects:

In the first, visitors can browse a website extolling the comforts and amenities of the El Rancho Vegas.  If the El Rancho Vegas had survived into the Internet age, its website might have looked something like this.

The most historically significant four tables on the Strip, and much more.

Enjoy the Round-Up Room or Opera House, depending on the year. See the Strip's first buffet!

Thrill to headliners from Abbot and Costello to Zero Mostel!

Stay in the rooms where William Saroyan "slept the drunken sleep of the losing gambler."

See the health club, the trellis, and the yacht.


The second half of the exhibit contextualizes the first, and showcases many artifacts, physical, photographic, and literary, of the El Rancho Vegas.  It is more like a traditional exhibition display, telling the history of the storied Strip resort:

Read the incredible story of the El Rancho Vegas, 1941-1960.

See the El Rancho Vegas through a series of promotional postcards.

Genuine advertisements from local and national media.

Real stuff from the El Ranch Vegas--just don't call it memorabilia.

Writing about the El Rancho Vegas, from Saroyan to Best & Hillyer.

The Fire
Pictures and a description of the mysterious blaze that toppled the windmill. Arson or accident? You be the judge.

About this exhibit
How and why the El Rancho Vegas got a website.


© 2019 University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Do not copy or reuse without permission.

Last modified Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:03 PDT