Starling Travel

June 15, 2011

Old West Las Vegas

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 1:35 pm

Mike and I found this old photo of Las Vegas in an antique store a few months ago.

Modern Version of the Old West - Las Vegas, Nevada

The caption reads:

Modern Version of the Old West – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas Studio

The cars in the photo look like they are from the late Forties or early Fifties. The I can see Hotel Apache and its casino, the Boulder Club, Overland Hotel, Hotel Sal Sagey, The Las Vegas Club, and Boulder Drugs.

Seeing the Boulder Club and Boulder Drugs in this photo, made me think that it wasn’t a photo of Las Vegas at all, but rather Boulder City, Nevada. That city, however, hasn’t allowed gambling since 1932, so it couldn’t be a photo of Boulder.

Adding to the mystery is the handwritten note on the back of the photo:

Side Street of Vegas?

It reads:

This must be one of the side streets, as main street has neon the full length and full height of the buildings.

So, even the person who sent this picture to a loved one so long ago didn’t recognize which street in Las Vegas it was. I was able to find an old postcard for the Apache Hotel on Flicker, but it didn’t have an address.


Hotel Apache was most definitely in downtown Las Vegas. In fact, in 1932, when it was built, it was the first building with an elevator in Nevada. You can find out more about it here:

It appears to have NOTHING to do with the current-day Apache Motel that is on Main Street of Las Vegas. The building is completely different.

Apache Motel

To me, the best part of this touristy photograph is the title: Modern Version of the Old West. Eighty years after Hotel Apache was first built, this picture is looking not very modern at all.


  1. Thank you for posting the picture of the Apache Motel. I and some fellow intrepid travelers stayed there on Memorial day weekend in 1992 for the Grateful Dead shows at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl out at UNLV.

    Needless to say, it was a different Las Vegas back in those days. I have not returned since, for no other reason than I can’t imagine I could ever have a better time than I did on that trip.



    Comment by Brian J. Kenny — May 23, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  2. Great images! I am the historic preservation officer for the city of Las Vegas and wanted to bring some clarity to your mystery. The image for the post card “Modern Version of the Old West” was taken on Fremont Street in the 1930s, looking west. Fremont St. was the main street of Las Vegas with hotels, saloons, gambling, shops, banks, etc. until the 1940s when the Strip hotels began being built and gained popularity. The Hotel Apache shown to the right of the post card became Binion’s Horseshoe and is now just called Binion’s. This is where the first elevator was alegedly located (some historians still debate that claim). The Apache Motel was a different place and was located on Las Vegas Boulevard. I hope this helps.

    Comment by Courtney Mooney — May 30, 2013 @ 8:23 am

  3. Courtney,

    Thank you so much for the clarification! It was really helpful!

    I’m so glad there is a historic preservation department in Vegas because things change there so quickly. It seems crazy to me that I’m nostalgic for the “old” Luxor hotel or even the Sahara, but they came and went so quickly that I miss some of those attractions, like the Nile river ride at the Luxor.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Laura Moncur — June 3, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

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