The Frontier Hotel and Casino Collection documents the history, entertainers, and events at the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1942 to 1988. The collection includes promotional material, photographs, correspondence, invoices, legal documents, and newspaper clippings.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Frontier Hotel and Casino Collection documents the history, entertainers, and events at the Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1942 to 1988. The collection includes promotional material from the Frontier's founding in 1942 such as dice and playing cards, menus, magazines, an audit report, programs and press materials, as well as correspondence, invoices, legal documents, and newspaper clippings. Also included are materials from Frontier events such as card tournaments, bikini and bodybuilding competitions, parties, boxing matches, races, and holidays. Other materials contain information on entertainers who performed at the Frontier, including advertisements, programs, photographs, newspaper articles, press releases, and financial records.
Collection is open for research.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
This collection is organized into four series:
Series I. Promotional materials, 1942-1984;
Series II. Casino, 1979-1983;
Series III. Entertainers, 1968-1988;
Series IV. Events, 1969-1988.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Frontier Hotel and Casino opened originally as the Hotel Last Frontier in October of 1942. R.E. Griffith and William J. Moore were planning to build a resort in New Mexico and stopped in Las Vegas, Nevada at the El Rancho Vegas on Highway 91. The men liked the Highway 91 area and decided to build their hotel and casino about a mile from the El Rancho. The land had originally been home to the Pair O' Dice Nite Club and they incorporated the structure into the Hotel Last Frontier, which featured a casino, the Last Frontier Village, and the Silver Slipper gambling hall and convention space. The Last Frontier Village was constructed from historic structures moved from throughout Nevada to create an old-west village with shops, a playhouse, museum, bar, and other attractions, including the Little Church of the West wedding chapel. William J. Moore sold the Hotel Last Frontier in 1951 to Jacob Kozloff and Beldon Katleman. They renovated the resort and reopened as the New Frontier with an outer space theme in 1955.
The property subsequently went through a series of owners, including Maury Friedman and T.W. Richardson. In the late 1950s, Warren "Doc" Bayley, owner of the Hacienda, purchased the property and reopened it. He held it until his death in 1964, when it was acquired by the Banker's Life Insurance Company. They closed the New Frontier and decided to tear it down to build a larger and more modern resort.
The newly built Frontier Hotel and Casino was purchased by Howard Hughes in 1967 just before its grand opening and renamed the Frontier. Hughes' Summa Corporation owned the Frontier until 1988, when they sold it to Margaret Elardi. She downsized the hotel's operations and closed the showroom. On September 21, 1991, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 began a strike at the Frontier, protesting working conditions and wages. The strike lasted over six years, ending on February 1, 1998, following Elardi's sale of the Frontier to Phil Ruffin. Ruffin changed the name back to the New Frontier. He later partnered with Donald Trump to construct Trump Tower on the west parking lot of the resort. He sold the remaining property to the Elad Group in May of 2007. The Frontier closed on July 16, 2007 and was imploded on November 13, 2007.
Burbank, Jeff. "Last Frontier Hotel." Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Accessed January 9, 2019. http://onlinenevada.org/articles/last-frontier-hotel
- Pair O' Dice Nite Club opened on Highway 91.
- Hotel Last Frontier opened on the site of the Pair O' Dice Nite Club. The former club building was incorporated into the Last Frontier Village as the Carillo Room.
- Following the death of R.E. Griffith, the Hotel Last Frontier was sold to Jacob Kozloff and Beldon Katleman.
- Kozloff and his partners refurbished the Last Frontier and reopened the resort as the Hotel New Frontier.
- Hotel New Frontier was acquired by Banker's Life Insurance Company who began the process of tearing down the resort to build a new one on the site.
- Howard Hughes purchased the Frontier and the nearby Silver Slipper.
- The Frontier Hotel and Casino opened in July.
- The Frontier Hotel and Casino was sold to Margaret Elardi.
- 1991 September 21
- Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 began a strike at the Frontier Hotel and Casino to protest unfair wages and treatment.
- Frontier Hotel and Casino was sold to Phil Ruffin. He renamed the resort New Frontier, but retained the Frontier Hotel sign on Las Vegas Boulevard.
- Culinary Union strike ended on February 1.
- Frontier Hotel sold by Phil Ruffin to the Elad Group and closed on July 16.
- The Frontier was imploded on November 13, 2007.
Frontier Hotel and Casino Collection, 1942-1988. MS-00297. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1988 by the Frontier Hotel via Jim Seagrave; accession number 1988-109.
Materials were processed by Joyce Moore in 2011. In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Lindsay Oden revised and enhanced the collection description and entered the data into ArchivesSpace. In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Christina Lamoureux revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.