The Mint Las Vegas
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|Location||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Address||100 Fremont Street|
|Architect||Zick & Sharp (casino), Yesco (neon sign), Martin Stern (hotel tower)|
The Mint was made famous (or infamous) as the first night's stay in Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar Acosta's legendary 1971 weekend trip to Las Vegas, immortalized in Thompson's novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The Mint opened in 1957. One of the original owners was Milton Prell, who also owned the Hotel Sahara and later the Aladdin hotel-casino. Prell and his associates had engaged a firm to use a computer to come up with a list of possible names for this new addition to downtown Las Vegas. They had been working late into the night in Prell's home, when his wife Debbie came into the room and suggested the place be named The Mint.
Del Webb assumed ownership around 1961 when he acquired other properties owned by Prell.
On April 6, 1962, Sahara-Nevada Corporation – the operating group of the Sahara and Mint – announced plans for a 22-story hotel skyscraper addition to the Mint. The addition was expected to be completed within 16 months, at a cost of $5 million. The addition would be built on the Mint's north parking lot, and was to include 300 additional hotel rooms and suites. A six-story, 210,000 sq ft (20,000 m2) parking garage would be connected to the new hotel building, and would include more than 550 parking spaces. In May 1962, the city planned to review the permit for the new tower. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the tower in July 1962.
Construction was still ongoing in July 1964, at which point the tower was planned to include 24 floors. Construction reached the 24th floor at the end of the year, with plans for an additional four floors. The hotel tower was ultimately built with 26 stories, and was topped out on March 20, 1965, with plans to open later that month. The new tower stood 290 ft (88 m), and was one of the tallest buildings in the state at the time, ranking only behind The Landmark Hotel and Casino, which stood 297 ft (91 m). Renovations were also done to the existing building, which included work to the Merri Mint Theatre, and expanded dining areas.
In 1988, The Mint was sold and became part of Binion's Horseshoe.
Patsy Cline performed at the Mint Casino's "Merri-Mint Theater" from November 23 - December 28, 1962, three months before her fatal plane crash. She appeared with Tompall & the Glaser Brothers, and at one point developed "Vegas Throat" due to the dry desert heat. For several shows Patsy lip-synched to her records. The Wilburn Brothers, with Loretta Lynn as part of their act, played the Merri-Mint for a couple of nights in October 1962. According to author Larry Jordan, in his book "Jim Reeves: His Untold Story," Reeves also played at the Mint Casino in the early-1960s. Peter Urquidi, "Man of Many Sounds", played the Top of the Mint for more than a decade until the early-1970s. Upstairs in the lounge was the Johnny Elvis Foster show For The Love Of Elvis. The Memphis Sound also played at the Mint. Sidney Fields of Abbott and Costello fame appeared on the same bill in a comedy act.
The casino appears in the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas and in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. The Mint can be seen in the background toward the end of the 1984 film Starman. The Mint can also be seen in the background of the 1968 film They Came to Rob Las Vegas. In the 1975 episode of Kojak titled "A House of Prayer, a Den of Thieves", a sniper shoots a witness who Kojak has arrested from a room at the Mint. The casino can also be seen several times towards the end of the 1987 U2 music video "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", which was filmed entirely on Fremont Street. A computer-generated reconstruction of the casino can be seen in the 1998 film Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. A casino in Tunica, Mississippi was used to depict the Mint in the 2005 film Walk the Line. The Mint is also seen in music videos by Panic! at the Disco from their 2013 album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!.
- "Old Downtown Vegas". earlyvegas.com. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- "Skyscraper Hotel To Be Erected (page one)". Las Vegas Sun. April 7, 1962. Retrieved December 14, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- "Skyscraper Hotel To Be Erected (page two)". Las Vegas Sun. April 7, 1962. Retrieved December 14, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- "City to Review Permit For Mint Tower". Las Vegas Sun. May 9, 1962. Retrieved December 14, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- "Mint Goes Up 22 Stories On Fremont St". Las Vegas Sun. July 22, 1962. Retrieved December 14, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- Wade, Dell (July 26, 1964). "Parade of Progress". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 14, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- Wade, Dell (January 3, 1965). "Year of Progress, Recession, Plans". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 8, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- "New Mint Hotel 'Topped Off'". Las Vegas Sun. March 21, 1965. Retrieved December 8, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- Barrows, Jim (May 18, 1966). "Landmark Tower May Finally Have Owner". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved December 8, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- "Landmark Tower Talk in Progress". Las Vegas Sun. May 26, 1966. Retrieved December 8, 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
- Willman, Chris (November 18, 2005). "Walk the Line: Joaquin and Reese on their risky duet". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
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