Every visitor to Vegas comes home with at least one good story — whether or not they ever tell it is another thing. Here are a few only-in-Vegas moments you may not have heard about.
April 15, 1979: Liberace opens his own museum
Because it turns out that you can have too many candelabras, Liberace opened his own museum just outside the Vegas city limits in Paradise — a home for his outlandish costumes, jewelry, cars and one-of-a-kind pianos. The museum shut down in 2010, but not before superfans tried to rip the many tiny mirrors off his Rolls Royce as souvenirs of closing day.
April 20, 2010: The Stratosphere debuts SkyJump
For all the people who look at a tall building and think, “I wish I could bungee off that,” Stratosphere opened the thrilling SkyJump ride 855 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. Billed as a “controlled free fall” over 100 stories high, SkyJump offered (and still does) thrill-seekers unforgettable views of Vegas — assuming they could keep their eyes open.
May 15, 1998: The Strip dims its lights for Sinatra
In tribute to the man who lit up Vegas’ showrooms for decades, businesses took a moment of visual rest the day after Frank Sinatra’s death. First, Caesars Palace and the Mirage dimmed their lights, and then the Imperial Palace, Flamingo Hilton and Bally’s followed suit. The lights went down at 8:30 p.m and came back on at 8:33 p.m. It was like night and day.
May 7, 1920: Randall Henderson lands in Las Vegas
Long before screaming bachelorette parties started arriving at McCarran airport by the plane-load, WWI pilot and newspaperman Randall Henderson was Vegas’ first visitor from the sky, landing a two-seat airplane in what is now downtown. Henderson and his buddy, businessman Jake Beckley, flew in to visit Beckley’s brother, who was one of Vegas’ 2,300 residents.
— Sarah Ricard, Brand Publishing Writer