Why Does Carson End at Casino Center?

Carson

Every week, Las Vegas native James Reza answers questions about life in Las Vegas for Ask a Native, his column in our parent publication Vegas Seven — and every now and again, we pinch one of Reza’s columns because DTLV.com never, ever slows its roll. Do you have questions about Downtown Las Vegas that you’d like answered? Send them to AskaNative@VegasSeven.com.

Why does Carson Avenue end at Casino Center Boulevard?

You can thank Steve Wynn and the Golden Nugget for that little inconvenience. Opened in 1946 as a small “sawdust joint,” the Golden Nugget eventually swallowed the entire downtown block bounded by Fremont Street, Casino Center Drive, Carson Avenue, and First Street. That wasn’t enough for Wynn, who in 1973 acquired his first controlling interest in a Vegas casino at the Nugget.

Ten years later, he convinced the city of Las Vegas to vacate a portion of Carson (between Casino Center and First) to accommodate an expansion. Expand the Nugget he did, but Wynn (who, ironically, once told ABC News that Las Vegas was “one of the most benign, square places on earth”) also stripped the Nugget of its iconic neon and old-school exterior, remaking it as a bright-white-and-gold AAA 4-diamond resort. New Vegas: 1, Old Vegas: Dead.

Later, in 2008, new owners Landry’s followed Wynn’s lead by again asking the city of Las Vegas to vacate a public right of way—this time, First Street—to allow another expansion that included the Rush Tower, new restaurants, the Gold Diggers Lounge and the pool area.

PHOTO BY GEOFF CARTER

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