Promoters of the Moulin Rouge Hotel called it "the nation's first major interracial hotel."
Until the hotel's opening on May 24, 1955, black entertainers performing in Las Vegas were denied access to casino and hotel dining areas and were forced to seek overnight accommodations in black boarding houses.
Black tourism was non-existent. Nevada Assembly bills designed to bar discrimination in public places had failed, the last by only one vote. So a diverse group of investors took a different tactic.
They developed plans for an integrated hotel in a prime location--a site between the predominately white area of the Strip and the largely black west side. The result was a hotel integrated at all levels, from employees to patrons to entertainers.
The Moulin Rouge casino, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, suffered major fires in 2003 and 2009, leaving only a portion of the two-story hotel.
The large cursive neon sign designed by famed Yesco sign designer Betty Willis, who also designed the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, was moved a few days prior to the 2009 fire to the Neon Museum for safekeeping.
The remaining portions of the hotel and casino, including the front facade and iconic tower, were demolished in 2010 due to safety reasons.
For more information contact: