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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Colorful, picturesque LV history series tremendous resource

14 February 2008

Former Wisconsin resident Jerry Fink fell in love with Las Vegas and its colorful history years ago. He began searching archives, the Internet and any other sources, for photos, dates, names and places. Then he broke all this information into four different 8x11 volumes of printed work to share with people who had like interests, understanding that some might want to know more about Downtown's history than the Strip. To complete the project, he created one volume devoted to the neighborhood hotels and casinos.

These books are well-priced, and they provide a marvelous resource for anyone who wants to know about this unique city, including the "who, what and when." They really should be seen in person, rather than being relegated to description. Here's what each of the four volumes contain.

The first is titled Las Vegas Memories. Published in late 2007, it sells for $24.95 and contains 184 pages in 8x11 paperbound format with 420 color and black and white photos. You'll find photos of Downtown Las Vegas from the 1900s to the 1980s and beyond, with photos and facts of places no longer in existence both on the Strip and off the Strip. (This volume contains some material found in the other volumes.) Those who remember the old Castaways, The Green Shack, Moulin Rouge, Club Bingo, Silver Slipper, El Rancho Vegas, Hacienda, Sans Souci, Silverbird, even Strip "roadhouses" like the Pair-O-Dice Club and Red Rooster will find memories.

A section called What Once Was is here, along with information about the years that certain sections or restaurants within a hotel opened; who owned it; who bought it; and who sold it. In easy-to-read print, colorful dating, this is a labor of love from a man who understands what makes the city special with its never-ending resurgence.

Memories of the Las Vegas Strip (85 pages, 8x11, paperbound, $14.95) focuses solely on the Strip, informing readers which hotels opened in what year; what replaced it; if it was imploded, when; which famous entertainers appeared there; even motels like the old Desert Rose and the Glass Pool Inn. The volume includes Mob history -- who owned (or was listed as owner or operator) hotels; descriptions of special events or tragedies.

In The History of Las Vegas' Neighborhood Hotel/Casinos (164 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $19.95), compiler Fink updates us on Arizona Charlie's, Boulder Station, the Cannery, Fiesta, Green Valley Ranch, Sam's Town and others. Clubs, motels, casinos and hotels are listed in alphabetical order, in chronological order. Here you'll learn of its earliest days; expansion; have access to some maps of location; find its original name and learn of transitional facts, like expansion or planned expansion.

(By the way, Fink invites reader to comment, correct any errors or make additional contributions and tells you how to find him.)

The fourth volume is Las Vegas' Off-Strip Hotel/Casinos: The Past -- The Present -- The Future (160 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $19.95). Packed with more than 100 photos, in this work you'll even find about street name changes and when they occurred; unnamed projects yet to be completed; condos in the works or finalized; dates hotels and other resort entities which opened, when they closed and name changes. There are phone numbers for use within Nevada, toll-free numbers and a few maps to help newcomers or visitors find their way around the city.

This is a fine combination of history -- past, present and future from a dedicated historian, researcher and resident.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com