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January 17, 2022

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The answer to a heavy query is the Rainbow Quarry

Delano Las Vegas Ribbon Cutting

Christopher DeVargas

A 700 million-year-old metaquartzite and brass boulder is on display at the valet entrance at the new Delano Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.

We’ve unearthed a lot of material around the scene recently, including some information about what was unearthed for the entrance of Delano Las Vegas.

• You really have to have some stones to make a giant rock the primary design effect at the entrance of your luxury hotel. But the team at Delano Las Vegas has done just that with a massive, 126,000-pound split boulder leading to its lobby. The installation is titled “In Between Places,” which is how you feel when you walk through the entrance. Readers have wondered just how a Strip resort was able to obtain such a distinctive natural resource.

The answer is, hotel officials contacted the company Las Vegas Rock, which specializes in providing such unique deposits from its 920-acre Rainbow Quarry near Goodsprings, which sits just a few miles northwest of Jean on Nevada State Route 161. The company owns the property and has been extracting the rare meta-quartzite stone — which is the variety featured at Delano — since the 1930s. It is believed to be the only locale on the planet to find meta-quartzite deposits, which are as hard as quartz but have the same characteristics as sandstone.

The company has furnished that variety of stone to such famous Strip resorts as the Flamingo (under the management of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel) and Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn. The company recently opened a fabrication facility in nearby Jean, where the cutting and polishing of that giant rock was performed, and the stone is one of the largest ever pulled from the quarry. The deal that delivered the boulder to Delano is what is known in the business as “a special order.” Or, super-sized, if you will. A very large order to go.

• On the topic of cool stuff inside Vegas hotels, we finally found the “S”-adorned chandelier at SLS Las Vegas. This is the piece made of the old door handles at Sahara that hotel chief Sam Nazarian spoke of in the weeks leading to the property’s opening. It was nowhere to be found on opening night or during the days afterward, and even such hotel officials as SLS President Rob Oseland didn’t know where to find the piece. It finally has been hung, at the entrance of the Sayers Club. They did a nice job of cleaning it up, too.

• Rare is the moment where a company in charge of liquidation sales of closed hotels sells the same furniture twice, but that is happening at the out of-commission Clarion hotel. The hotel shut down on Labor Day, after a rollercoaster (and, even, a Paddlewheel) ride lasting about 45 years. It opened in 1970 as the Royal Inn, and during a series of ownership changes was snapped up by Debbie Reynolds in 1992. Reynolds’ son, Todd, was charged with designing and building a showroom at the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood hotel.

Reynolds herself had purchased the booths, tables and stage for that showroom from the Dunes at that hotel’s liquidation sale in early 1992. National Content Liquidators managed the liquidation sale of the Dunes inventory, and also is overseeing the going-out-of-business sale at the Clarion, which started Thursday and runs through the end of the month.

Among the items for sale: The theater pieces of what was called Wolf Theater, many of which date to the old Dunes and are now being offered at their second liquidation sale in Las Vegas. Whoever buys those pieces will own a real piece of Vegas history.

• A restaurant that is the subject of uniformly great word-of-mouth accounts is Fat Choy at Eureka casino on East Sahara Avenue. The latest nudge I’ve received to visit the Asian-American café was from County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, during the opening news conference at SLS a few weeks ago. “It’s amazing,” she said, matching the accounts of pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about the place.

The Eureka might not seem like a haven of great food, simply because it is such a modest little casino that has managed to maintain continuous operation for 50 years. It makes the claim of being Las Vegas’ original neighborhood casino, a claim often made by Palace Station and Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, among others. The last time I walked into Eureka was about eight years ago to meet renowned art critic, professor and author Dave Hickey, who (oddly enough) enjoyed a good hang and a good smoke at the casino. It’s time for a return visit, over an order of pork belly bao, a Sprite and maybe a round of video keno.

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