Jeff Burbank

Lost City Museum

The Lost City Museum in the town of Overton, Nevada, was built by the U.S. National Park Service and federal Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 to preserve and display precious artifacts excavated from an area called Pueblo Grande de Nevada, and known as “the Lost City.” For centuries, Native Americans known as the Virgin River group of Ancestral Puebloans, or ancient Anasazi, lived in Southern Nevada in small hamlets until they migrated away more than 850 years ago.

Circus Circus

When Jay Sarno designed his Caesars Palace hotel-casino, which opened on the Las Vegas Strip in 1966, he envisioned it as a center of Ancient Roman extravagance. His next idea for a casino had less appeal to big gamblers, but was just as ambitious–he wanted it to house the largest circus in the world.

Lake Mead

Lake Mead, a man-made lake 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas and created by the completion of Hoover Dam in 1935, is the largest reservoir in the United States. Located within the 1.5 million-acre Lake Mead National Recreation Area, this enormous lake stretches along a 140-mile section of the lower Colorado River Basin near the southern tip of Nevada and extends east into the edge of the Grand Canyon in western Arizona.


The Tropicana Hotel, known for its famous showgirls and past associations with organized crime figures, was the most opulent of the hotel-casinos built during the resort-building boom on the Las Vegas Strip during the dozen years following World War II.

Thunderbird Casino and the Mob

The Thunderbird, one of the first Las Vegas Strip casinos, was also one of the first to become involved in the federal-state controversy over mob involvement in Nevada gaming. In 1950, Thunderbird co-owner Clifford Jones, Nevada's lieutenant governor, was among a number of Las Vegas casino operators subpoenaed to testify before the United States Senate's Kefauver Committee. The committee was investigating organized crime in hearings held in a number of cities throughout the country.

Thunderbird Casino

In October 1947, Marion Hicks, a Los Angeles contractor and a partner in Las Vegas' El Cortez Hotel and Casino, and Clifford Jones, Nevada's lieutenant governor, began construction on the Thunderbird Hotel. The site they had purchased sat on the fledgling Las Vegas Strip on Highway 91 across from the El Rancho Vegas, and about a mile north of the one-year-old Flamingo. Hicks and Jones completed the Thunderbird in September 1948, and despite losing $145,000 to craps players on opening night, it became a financial success.

Teamsters Union

In 1903, a pair of organized labor groups, the Team Drivers International Union and the Teamsters National Union, merged and created the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehouseman, and Helpers of America, also known as the IBT. Las Vegas barely existed as a dot on the map. They never could have imagined how their actions would affect the development of that city.

Steve Wynn

Few casino builders or operators have had a greater impact on their industry, and especially on contemporary Las Vegas, than Stephen Alan “Steve” Wynn. The son of an illegal bingo game operator, Wynn received an Ivy League education. The combination of the two gave him a unique perspective for a Las Vegas gaming operator of his generation. Wynn started making his mark on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1970s. The 1989 opening of his Mirage ushered in the age of expensive and opulent “megaresorts,” turning him into a visionary, controversial casino mogul.

Stardust Hotel

The Stardust Hotel became the dream of Tony Cornero, who in a sudden burst of inspiration while drinking with friends at the Louigi's bar on the Las Vegas Strip in the mid-1950s, determined to build the world's largest resort. Cornero would not live to see the completion of his dream, but his Stardust Hotel would survive for more than half a century as one of the aging icons of the Strip.

SS Rex Club

Tony Cornero, a one-time 1920s bootlegger from California and a former casino operator well known in Las Vegas, opened the S.S. Rex Club casino at Second and Fremont streets in downtown Las Vegas in 1944. Cornero, born in Italy in 1895, named the club after an ill-fated gambling ship he owned off the coast of Southern California, six years before.


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