Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Old Las Vegas Convention Center

I've been going through a lot of Flickr pages recently, looking for pictures of Las Vegas. I came across a collection of old postcards by Nevada Tumbleweed, and this one really took me back. This is the Convention Center I grew up with, although with a few more buildings around it. As I understand it, yes, that is a horse racing track in back of it, where the Las Vegas Country Club now stands. I remember the International being built next to it, and eating dinner at the top of the Landmark when it still stood across the street. The steakhouse restaurant at the top of the Landmark rotated. I loved it. The Chateau Vegas, a red-velvet upholstered restaurant with a harpist, was on the south side of Desert Inn, long before it was all converted to an underpass next to the current Convention Center. The Alpine Village was across the street, although I never got a chance to eat there because my dad didn't like German food.

Some of my best memories are at the Helldorado rodeos at this space-ship-like Convention Center. My parents loved the rodeo, and we never missed a Helldorado. The place was always packed to the rooftops with rowdy fans, and we always sat close enough that when the broncos kicked up dirt, sometimes it landed on us.

But my favorite memory of the old Convention Center is watching the fireworks from the steps in front of a bar where my dad worked. It was a little place two floors up, on the other side of Paradise Road. The owner was an Irishman straight from the old country (I think his name was McGary), and I could come in the place as a long as I didn't sit at the bar or get too close to a slot machine. Whatever the occasion was that night, Mom and I went in late to visit Dad and watch the show. I remember the three of us sitting on the steps facing the Convention Center, watching the fireworks burst into colors over the top of the dome.
Photo courtesy of Mark Holloway at

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