The El Rancho hotel was the first themed resort in Las Vegas, envisoned by its developer Thomas Hull as a welcoming swimming pool oasis in the desert, with the casino almost just an afterthought. Opened in 1941, the Western frontier theme was crowned by a American windmill - picked out in neon in case you might miss it.
The windmill became a defining image of the Las Vegas strip, and the casino was advertised using the phrase "Stop at the sign of the windmill". In 1960 a fire engulfed the casino on which the windmill stood and destroyed it. The hotel itself escaped the fire, but a Vegas hotel without its casino is not often a success, and despite fighting talk that the casino would be rebuilt, that never happened. By the 1970s the site became a vacant lot, and it is only in 2002 that a substantial building, the Hilton Grand Vacation Club timeshare has been constructed on part of the site.
[Online exhibit] [casino history] [history] [info] [photo] [postcard] [postcard] [photos]
Like any modern themed resort, there were a number of items produced that
carried the casino's theme:
[matchbook] [casino chips] [chips] [chips]
For online casino items for sale from El Rancho, there's a very large selection normally available at eBay.
A far more tangible windmill association was to be found at Miami Beach,
Florida where the
Miami Beach casino, Florida had a large
traditional type ("Dutch" style) windmill, which may even have been
originally designed to pump water.
|Last updated 03/03/2017||Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -|