On Dec. 1, 2009 … After expenditures of $8.5 billion, the highly anticipated CityCenter development begins a series of rollouts of its multiple elements. Highlights include the ribbon-cutting for its nongaming, 1,495-room Vdara Hotel and Spa. The 67-acre complex debuts with 6,000 hotel rooms and 2,400 residences among its six buildings. And a breathtaking city within our already breathtaking city springs to life.
On Dec. 1, 2010 … Officials announce that online footwear/clothing retailer Zappos.com will move into the former City Hall building at 4th Street and Stewart Avenue. In a city that loves to bet, this one is a shoe thing.
On Dec. 2, 1976 … Elvis begins his final, 10-night engagement at the former Las Vegas Hilton. He would die eight months later, on Aug. 16, 1977, turning every resort in Las Vegas into Heartbreak Hotel.
It’s right there in the name. The Canadian Football League (CFL).
You might think that would confine the sport north of the border, but in the halcyon days of the early-to-mid 1990s, the CFL was expansion-minded. The league dipped its toe into the United States in 1993 by placing a franchise in Sacramento, Calif., and a year later Canadian football would come to three more American cities: Shreveport, La., Baltimore — and Las Vegas.
It was a heady time for pro sports in Las Vegas. The Thunder of the International Hockey League had come onto the scene in ‘93, and ‘94 saw three more pro teams activate in the Continental Indoor Soccer League, Roller Hockey International and the young Arena Football League. But despite the oddity of being an American team, the Las Vegas Posse were the best positioned group of the bunch, belonging to the longstanding and well-established Canadian league.
Wind your way down Joe W. Brown Drive behind the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, and look just to the west where the Las Vegas Country Club sits now. If you squint, you might be able to see the backstretch of what once was Las Vegas Park.
In retrospect, hosting a thoroughbred meet in Las Vegas — even in the relatively placid weather of October — wasn’t a winning proposition. Racebooks already dotted the Strip, and for visitors from Southern California used to Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar, a racetrack was far less novel an experience than casino gambling.
That didn’t stop Joseph M. Smoot from trying. With other people’s money.