Pioneer Club Las Vegas
|Address||25 E Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
|Signature attractions||Vegas Vic|
Pioneer Club Las Vegas was a casino that opened in 1942 and was located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, at 25 East Fremont Street. It ceased operating as a casino in 1995, the same year the Fremont Street Experience was completed.
The Pioneer Club occupies a building that was built in 1918 and originally served as a restaurant. The Pioneer Club and Cocktail lounge opened in April 1942 on the corner of 1st Street and Fremont Street.
In 1965 the Pioneer Club bought The Elwell Hotel located at 200 South First St. directly behind the Pioneer Club and renamed it the Pioneer Club Hotel. The Hotel was sold in 1969 and became the Golden Hotel. In 1983 The Pioneer Club bought Club Bingo located to the west of it and enlarged its Casino area. From 1956 to 1967 it was called the New Pioneer Club. In 1984 The Golden Nugget bought the hotel and demolished it, building a parking garage for its Casino and Hotel in its place.
For many years The Pioneer Club was one of downtown's leading casinos.
Margaret Elardi who also owned the Frontier Hotel on The Strip and later the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall casino in Laughlin, owned the club for a while, then Gold Strike Resorts. In 1992 new owners purchased the Pioneer Club but were unable to compete with the larger casinos on Fremont Street both at the beginning and at the end of the Fremont Street Experience or with the large new megaresorts on The Strip. The owners closed the venerable casino in 1995 and it remained vacant until 1998 when Schiff Enterprises bought the Pioneer Club and opened a souvenir store inside. The vintage Pioneer Club signs and Vegas Vic sign still exists on the exterior of the building.
Although the Pioneer Club no longer operates as a casino, Vegas Vic (The 40 ft (12 m) neon cowboy) lives on. In 1947 Las Vegas chamber of Commerce hired a West-Marquis firm which invented the Fremont Street Cowboy Vegas Vic and his friendly "Howdy Podner" greeting.
The Young Electric Sign Company was commissioned to build the neon version of the sign by the owners of the Pioneer Club. They then commissioned Pat Denner who modeled it after the image used by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce in 1947 consisting of a cowboy in blue jeans with a yellow-checked shirt and red bandanna. Vegas Vic was then erected on the exterior of the building in 1951 changing the exterior of The Pioneer club forever.
- "Elwell Hotel History". lasvegasmikey.com. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- "Pioneer Club History". onlinenevada.org. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- "Vegas Vic Lives!". Las Vegas Sun. 2000-06-25. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
- Eugene P. Moehring, Michael S. Green (2005). Las Vegas - A Centennial History. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874176155. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce