Las Vegas Sun

September 17, 2019

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Joe Downtown: Ceremony to honor El Cortez for inclusion on National Register

El Cortez


The El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas.

Map of El Cortez

El Cortez

600 E. Fremont Street , Las Vegas

One of Downtown Las Vegas’ oldest residents, the El Cortez, will be honored for winning a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Bob Coffin will headline a ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday to unveil a commemorative plaque at the hotel/casino.

The city's oldest hotel to continuously operate under the same name, the El Cortez became only the second Las Vegas casino on the nation's cultural preservation list in February. It and the Moulin Rouge, the city's first integrated casino that burned down in 2003, as the only two Las Vegas casinos on the national registry.

The National Register says this about the El Cortez:

"When the El Cortez Hotel and Casino opened in 1941, it became the largest and most fashionable hotel/casino on Fremont Street in Las Vegas and would remain so for the next decade. The dream of Los Angeles contractor Marion Hicks and business partner John Grayson, the 59-room El Cortez Hotel, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, was bigger than the Fremont Street clubs and located in the heart of the city. The El Cortez Hotel and Casino, located at 600 Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada, is associated with the economic and entertainment development in Las Vegas in general and on Fremont Street in particular from the early 1940s through the early 1950s. Fremont Street was the center of Las Vegas’ tourism industry and the heart of the city’s entertainment district from its incorporation in 1905 until the early 1950s, when it was supplanted by the booming by the booming resorts along the Las Vegas strip. Although additions were added, the exterior of the original El Cortez Hotel still retains its original appearance."

The El Cortez is one of the oldest existing businesses on Fremont Street, a fact that establishes its Las Vegas pedigree but has also made it something of an anomaly on a street growing with new businesses and younger residents.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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