One of the first settlers Mr. Squires was the property owner until he sold it to Margaret Folsom in 1944. Billy Wilkerson acquired this property in 1945 and he asked George Vernon Russell to design a hotel that was different from others in the Fremont street. The increase in the material costs, landed Wilkerson in a tight fiscal situation and he started looking for new financing options.
Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas
The mobster Bugsy Siegel and his partners were interested in the legalized gambling offered in Las Vegas. Bugsy Siegel bought the El Cortez and sold it for a profit. He later used this profit to invest in the hotel of Wilkerson where he became a partner along with some of his friends. The inexperience of Siegel in construction and designing showed when his workers were stealing materials from the property to sell it back to him. The rising cost made Siegel lose his patience and he frequently had outbursts which worried the foreman.
The Pink Flamingo
It was in 1946, when the Pink Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas and Casino opened its doors to public. This was the first luxurious hotel in the Strip and is reportedly named after the girlfriend, Virginia Hill, whose nickname was Flamingo.
The state of no revenue for a year and the drained resources were the cause for Siegel’s trouble. Also, one of his partners, Meyer Lansky charged him and his girlfriend of stealing from the hotel, in a mob meeting. The charge was further amplified when it was found that Hill did take 2.5million dollars and went to Switzerland with it. Because of the long relationship with Siegel, Lansky wanted to give him a chance. So the mob agreed to wait for the opening and if it was a success they would find other ways for Siegel to repay. However in spite of big stars, the opening was a flop. Lansky persuaded the chiefs to give more time to Siegel, who closed down the resort in 1947.
The hotel was re-opened in two months, and was under construction. However this time, the profits started pouring in. Yet it could not save the life of Bugsy Siegel, who was shot in June 1947. The memorial plaque is still there outside the wedding chapel of the hotel.
Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas Room
Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas Pool
The name of the hotel was The Fabulous Flamingo when it reopened in March 1947. The hotel gave a different view to the words “Complete experience” and in 1950 there was a Champagne tower added to the hotel. The hotel was then bought by Kerkorian and later acquired by Hilton Corporation in 1972. They renamed it as Flamingo Hilton in 1974.
In 1998, the ownership changed hands to Park Place Entertainment who renamed the hotel as Caesars Entertainment in 2004. The hotel was renamed as Flamingo Las Vegas in 1999 and came under Harrah’s Entertainment in 2005.
The movie Ocean’s Eleven of 1960 was shot here and so is the flashback scene from the 2001 Ocean’s Eleven. The movie on Bugsy Siegel starring Warren Beatty was also filmed here.
Last Call, a novel by Tim Powers about Bugsy Siegel speaks about the Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas and while it has depicted some features realistically, there are some aspects which are a little amplified.