End Of Las Vegas Frontier

After surviving nearly 65 years on the Strip and more than six years of a labor strike, the New Frontier hotel and casino, the oldest continually operating hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip, shut its doors for good at 12:01 a.m. June 16th.

The shuttering was a low-key affair marked by a Rat Pack tribute band, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A security guard who had been with the hotel for more than 21 years told the paper that, by the time of the lackluster closing, customers and memorabilia seekers had already removed hotel room number plates and anything with Frontier’s signature "F."

The 984-room hotel, which sits on 34.5 acres of property, first opened in October 1942 as the Hotel Last Frontier.

The name was changed to the New Frontier in 1955. Elvis made his first appearance in Sin City at the hotel-casino in 1956. The Frontier also saw Wayne Newton and Siegfried & Roy perform, among many others, like Ronald Reagan in 1954.

In 1967 Howard Hughes bought the hotel-casino for $14 million.

Kansas-based businessman Phil Ruffin purchased the building for $167 million in 1997, according to the Journal. With the purchase the labor strike ended.

New York-based Elad Group paid $1.2 billion in May for the property in order to implode it and build a $5 billion mixed-used development fashioned after New York’s Plaza Hotel, which Elad bought in 2005 for $675 million.

"This is indicative of the new trend, which is to tear down and build anew rather than revitalize," David Schwartz, director of the Gaming Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the Review-Journal.

There are no more major landmarks of old Vegas left. The Desert Inn was imploded in 2001 for the Wynn Las Vegas. Frankie’s old hangout, The Stardust, was just plain dust by fall 2006. When complete, Boyd Gaming Corp.’s Echelon will be there instead.

"This is the end of a bygone era," Joe Vick, a D-1 Grand Prix driver who recently stayed at the Frontier, told the paper. "It’s really too bad. I would much rather stay in a place with more history and tradition than a Wynn or Palms."

Ruffin is going to stick around because his remaining seven acres on the backside of the New Frontier are being developed with Donald Trump for Trump International Hotel & Tower, a non-gaming project.