The Toni and Wilbur Clark Photographs depict Las Vegas, Nevada casino owner and land developer Wilbur Clark and his wife Toni from 1910 to 1975. The photographs primarily document Wilbur and Toni Clark at the Desert Inn, the hotel and casino Wilbur co-owned. The photographs also depict him with politicians and entertainers, and Wilbur and Toni Clark’s house in Las Vegas.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Toni and Wilbur Clark Photographs document the life of Las Vegas, Nevada casino owner and land developer Wilbur Clark and his wife Toni from 1910 to 1975. In addition to photographs of Wilbur's early life, the collection mostly depicts Wilbur and Toni Clark and the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are photographs of Wilbur Clark at events with various business associates, politicians, and entertainers. The collection also includes photographs of Wilbur and Toni Clark’s home in Las Vegas.
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.
Materials are arranged into two series:
Series I. Wilbur Clark's Las Vegas, Nevada business photographs, 1943-1975;
Series II. Wilbur Clark's personal photographs, 1910-1960.
Biographical / Historical Note
Businessman and developer Wilbur Clark was born in Keyesport, Illinois on December 27, 1908 to Shirley and Lulu Clark. He moved to San Diego, California as a teenager, working a series of jobs before relocating to Reno, Nevada. While working in casinos and investing in other businesses in Reno, Clark kept his eye on business opportunities in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Wilbur Clark married Toni Gaglionese in 1944. That same year, he purchased the El Rancho Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip and also invested in the Monte Carlo Club on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. He sold his interest in the two properties in 1946 and used the proceeds to begin building a new resort on the Strip, the Desert Inn. Due to rising post-war construction costs the project ran low on funds, and Wilbur Clark sold a majority interest in the Desert Inn to Moe Dalitz in order to finish construction. Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn opened on April 24, 1950, adding an eighteen-hole golf course a year later. He was a partner in the Desert Inn until he sold his interest in 1964.
In addition to the Desert Inn, Wilbur Clark built the Paradise Gardens housing development in Las Vegas, naming the streets after himself and his family. He also served as mayor of the township of Paradise Valley, Nevada. Wilbur Clark died of a heart attack on August 27, 1965.
Burbank, Jeff. “Desert Inn.” Accessed November 20, 2019. http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/desert-inn
DeMateo, Deanna. "Wilbur Clark." Accessed November 20, 2019. http://www.lvstriphistory.com/ie/clark.htm
Toni and Wilbur Clark Photographs, 1910-1975. PH-00302. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1995 by Toni Clark; accession number 95-49.
Materials were processed by Special Collections and Archives staff. In 2016, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Lindsay Oden wrote the collection description in compliance with current professional standards. In 2019, Lauren Paljusaj revised the finding aid.