Leading off September’s timeline, Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino opens on the Strip, lending Viva Las Vegas! a Vive la France! vibe with a half-scale, 540-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. Oooh-La-Las Vegas!
On Sept. 1, 1999 … Lending Viva Las Vegas! a Vive la France! vibe, Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino opens on the Strip, courtesy of Caesars Entertainment Corp. On opening night, acclaimed French actress Catherine Deneuve flips a switch to turn on all the new property’s lights, and fireworks are shot from the half-scale, 540-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. Oooh-La-Las Vegas!
On Sept. 3, 2018 … Cashman Field says good-bye to longtime tenants The Las Vegas 51s as the hometown team beats the Sacramento River Cats to end this chapter of its history in the final Cashman home game. An era ends … and a new one beckons.
On Sept. 3, 2002 … Nevada State College opens in Henderson. Pencils up, Nevadans. Please open your textbooks to page …
On Sept. 4, 1953 … Las Vegas Park Speedway opens, but horse racing, which it was expected to feature, lasts only 13 days after ticket booths and tote boards fail, and only one entrance frustrates customers. Fortunately, it fared better with auto racing — a sport you might call a horse of a different color.
On Sept. 7, 1996 … UNLV becomes a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Another step toward the sports-hub destiny to which our now sports-rich city is racing.
On Sept. 7, 1996 … one of the most infamous murders in Las Vegas history explodes into the headlines when iconic rapper Tupac Shakur is gunned down at age 25 after the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand. He dies six days later. Despite multiple theories, the case remains unsolved.
On Sept. 10, 1957 … The University of Nevada, Las Vegas — aka UNLV — is officially founded by the Nevada Board of Regents as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada. Renamed Nevada Southern University in 1965, it was finally christened University of Nevada, Las Vegas by the Regents in 1969. Today, UNLV offers more than 350 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in numerous fields, taught by approximately 850 faculty members.
On Sept. 13, 1951 … that skinny kid from Hoboken, N.J. — the world will know him as the Chairman of the Board, The Voice, and most importantly, Vegas-wise, the head rat of the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra makes his debut in town at the Desert Inn. So, to quote one of his masterful recordings, “When he was 36, it was a very good year” (for Vegas).
On Sept. 17, 2018 … The Las Vegas 51s — soon to become the Las Vegas Aviators — announce their new major-league affiliation with the Oakland Athletics. A new era in Las Vegas baseball begins.
On Sept. 27, 2018 … A groundbreaking ceremony signals the start of work on the 18,000-seat MSG Sphere, the very-high-tech performance venue project at the Venetian hotel-casino, featuring video screens inside and out, and first-of-its-kind sound systems. The LED screen is said to be the size of three football fields — just in case you forget your contact lenses.
On Sept. 28, 1954 … Sen. Pat McCarran dies. Our airport’s namesake, McCarran was Nevada’s U.S. senator from 1933 to 1954, the first of our senators actually born in the state. An ardent proponent of the aviation industry, McCarran’s notable achievements included sponsoring the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, and supporting the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate entity from the U.S. Army.
On Sept. 28, 2018 … Late entertainment journalist Robin Leach, who died on Aug. 24, 2018 in Las Vegas, is memorialized and celebrated at a gathering of his family mingling with Leach’s superstar pals at the Palazzo Theatre. It was a night to remember the man who urged the world to harbor “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
On Sept. 29, 2018: Jennifer Lopez ends her successful All I Have residency at Planet Hollywood after 2 ½ years. Now all J-Lo has belongs to A-Rod.
On Sept. 30, 1929 … President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicates Boulder Dam — subsequently renamed Hoover Dam — by declaring it a project spurred by “a federal government concerned with the general welfare.” While implosions are a common occurrence in and around our desert paradise, this world wonder should make it to the next Ice Age.
On Sept. 30, 2010 … A matinee idol, Oscar-nominated actor and Hollywood legend — who was originally known as Bernard Schwartz from the Bronx — actor Tony Curtis passes away at age 85 at his home in Henderson. A colorful character right to the end of his life, Curtis made his mark in movies such as The Defiant Ones, The Boston Strangler, Spartacus and The Sweet Smell of Success. And he insisted he never lent his New York accent to the oft-ridiculed line from 1951’s swashbuckler flick The Prince Who Was a Thief: “Yondah lies da castle of my faddah.”
— Steve Bornfeld