El Cortez Sells Old Carpet Squares As Piece of Las Vegas Casino History

Posted on: December 16, 2020, 02:53h. 

Last updated on: December 16, 2020, 03:05h.

Starting Jan. 1, the gift shop at the El Cortez Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will begin selling squares of its old carpeting for about $19.

El Cortez carpet
The old carpet at the El Cortez in downtown Las Vegas, seen here, was removed in September. Small squares of  carpet remnants will be sold in the hotel gift shop. (Image: Antelope Valley Press)

The carpet that had been on the 42,000-square-foot casino floor since 2007 was removed in September. After new carpeting was installed, the old carpet, with its red-and-green floral design, inspired a nostalgic reaction.

Now the hotel-casino plans to sell a limited number of 16-by-16-inch squares of the carpet fabric. The 100 remnants to be sold come from material used for repairs, according to the Washington Post.

The old carpet design was a hit with those who cherish its connection Las Vegas’ past. The El Cortez opened in November 1941.

Gypsy Wood, an Australian performer, plans to use a piece of the carpet to go with an original leather booth couch she got from the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. Wood has performed at the Cosmopolitan Resort on the Las Vegas Strip south of downtown.

I love that carpet,” she told the newspaper. “I told them to please save me some.”

The new carpeting resembles a “botanical garden after a tropical storm,” according to the Washington Post.

Adam Wiesberg, the hotel’s general manager, said the new carpet is “gorgeous.”

“Give it a chance,” he said.

Bugsy’s Casinos

The El Cortez has been popular for years, especially with visitors drawn to its smaller size and unpretentious atmosphere.

The hotel-casino also attracts history buffs intrigued by its connection to the gangsters who were present in Las Vegas decades ago. The El Cortez is a short walk from the Mob Museum, which houses Mafia items from that era and other years.

In the mid-1940s, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and other underworld figures owned the El Cortez for a brief period. Siegel went from there to take over construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino south of downtown on what was then a desert highway. This highway now is the Las Vegas Strip. It is lined on both sides with large resorts, such as Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand.

The Flamingo opened the day after Christmas in 1946. Six months later, Siegel was shot to death at his girlfriend Virginia Hill’s home in Southern California. No one was ever arrested or charged in the killing.

The Flamingo is still at the same location on the Strip, though modern towers have replaced the original structures. None of the original buildings remain.

Downtown Fireworks

In downtown Las Vegas, where the El Cortez is located, plans are underway for New Year’s Eve. The Plaza Hotel and Casino on Main Street is planning to host a fireworks show on Dec. 31.

The Fremont Street Experience entertainment district is evaluating options for celebrating New Year’s Eve, according to a statement emailed to Casino.org. Part of Fremont Street is a pedestrian mall covered by a lighted canopy.

“We submitted our plans for a New Year’s Eve event over a month ago prior to the current surge in COVID-19 cases,” the statement reads. “It is our understanding that currently no permits for large gatherings have been approved by the state.”

According to the statement, the Fremont Street Experience is “unique in that we are a public street.”

“We will evaluate all our options regarding New Year’s Eve, with our top priority being the health and safety of our guests, partners and employees,” according to the statement.

The annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the Strip will be a virtual event this year.