The MGM Grand
opened as the Strip's first super-resort in 1973. The arrival of the MGM Grand set a new standard of size and luxury in old Las Vegas, unmatched until the 1989 opening of Steve Wynn's Mirage Hotel. The original MGM, then located at the south-east corner of Flamingo & the Strip, was sold to Bally's in 1986. The current, 5,005 room MGM Grand would open at the north-east corner of Tropicana & the Strip in December 1993 becoming the largest hotel in the United States and currently the second largest in the world.
The front entry to the MGM Grand
, seen from the Strip in 1977. With 2,100 rooms, the hotel was the world's largest.
MGM Grand's night driveway, in 1977.
MGM from the Strip 1977.
The MGM Grand Hotel
, as seen thirty years ago, was a huge resort set on the still sleepy Las Vegas Strip. This hotel later became Ballys. A new room tower and the Paris Hotel now sits on the right. The easy-entry parking lot has since been converted to an elevated, plaza-like walkway with a spiraling lightshow. Part of the Bonanza Hotel is seen on the right side of this photo, in 1977.
1977 view of the MGM fountain, before its 1980 removal.
The MGM Neighborhood 1977
Northward view, from an MGM
room, of the 1977 Strip showing the Flamingo
Looking northwest (in 1977) towards Caesars Palace from the original MGM (now Bally's
). The Flamingo is in the process of building its first tower. The Times Square low-rise motel is in the demolition process to make way for the coming Barbary Coast.
The original Flamingo Hotel and surroundings 1977.
Sands Tower 1977, seen looking northward from an MGM room. Now the Venetian
location. The Mirage
and Treasure Island
Hotels would later be built on the vacant lots seen just beyond the tower.
Diagonally across from the MGM
was Caesars Palace
, built on the land owned by Kirk Kerkorian
Looking north at the Caesars roadsign. The Forum shops would be built on the Shell gas station lot in 2005. The Mirage would be built in the area between the Arco and Texaco gas stations 12 years later after this photo.
The same view, 22 years later, in 1999. The Mirage and Treasure Island can be seen in the backgroud.
Looking south down the Strip. The Bellagio later replaced the Dunes, in 1998. The Paris Hotel
& Eiffel Tower would be built between the two neon-signs (seen at the left) of the MGM and Aladdin.
The 1977 view looking north, towards the Flamingo, from the sidewalk in front of the Dunes (now the Bellagio).
The same sidewalk location, 22 years later, in 1999. The Bally's (1984) room wing addition is seen at right. Contruction of the Paris Hotel can also be seen at the right edge of photo.
The Dunes Hotel (now the Bellagio
) on the southwest corner of the Strip & Flamingo Road (seen from the Times Square Motel / Barbary Coast area) in 1977.
The Dune's sign was (when built in 1964) the world's largest free-standing sign, taking the title from the 1958 Stardust sign. It 1967, the Frontier's roadsign became the world's tallest.
This 1977 photo, shows spring-break skateboarders, in the soon-to-be-demolished, Times Square Motel Pool. This location is now the front casino area of the new Bill Harrah's Casino, formerly known as the Barbary Coast (1978-2005). This 1977 pool location is actually the current ceiling of Drai's Restaurant, in the basement.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the MGM, Dunes, Flamingo and Caesars - stood the little 70+ room Desert Villa Motel (renamed: Times Square Motel in 1975) . Operating just across the street from the MGM's 2,100 room hotel was a sight of contrasts between the last Strip Motel and new megalith. This motel acts as a good 'four-corners' landmark when viewing the aerial photos further below.
April 1977 image of the Times Square Motel (earlier named the Desert Villa Motel) at the NE corner of Flamingo and the Strip. These April Spring-Break Skaters used its pool just before the motel was demolished. In 1978, this motel was replaced by the Barbary Coast. In March, 2007 this exact spot became (the new) Bill's casino floor. Bill Harrah was the originator of Harrah's Casino
and the converted casino is now named after him.
1977 skateboarders in the 'Times Square Motel Pool'. The first tower of the Flamingo is seen being built in the background. This was the first Tower the Flamingo ever had built, since its 1946 opening....while the (1952) Sands added its own tower in 1965 as did the Dunes in 1965. The Sands and Dunes - built towers within 10-12 years of operation. The Flamingo waited 31 years before adding a tower to its property. This tower was soon followed by more towers forming a current cube-like appearance to the Flamingo, though it is actually only three towers.
The MGM provided easy entry front parking. The more leisurely pace and expanse of 1977 are evident when comparing this 1977 photo to the one below.
This 1999 photo, from the northwest corner of Flamingo & the Strip, shows a much busier, highly built up Strip.
This 1999 photo, looking east towards the Flamingo & Strip intersection. The original MGM (now Ballys) is seen at the right side of photo.
Early Strip Aerial Views
1959 view of Strip, looking north-easterly. The Dunes (Bellagio) & Flamingo are in foreground.
The current location of Caesars Palace (built in 1966) is seen at left, across from the Flamingo. The diagonal curve, of the Strip, starts at the location of the Sands (now the Venetian).
The dome-shaped (1958) Convention Center is seen, in the distance, at upper-right. The Sands
and Dunes towers would be built in 1965, with Caesars Palace opening in 1966.
1952 view, looking north, towards the original Flamingo Hotel before its 1953 re-modeling showing the original Flamingo pylon sign. The Sands motel rooms are seen nearing completion just beyond the Flamingo. Sands is the Venetian. Flamingo Road hadn't yet been built, nor had the Desert Villa motel (which would later become the site of the Barbary Coast Casino in 1978). The vacant land, at b