K.M. Cannon/the associated press
Harrah's has announced a deal to sell the Showboat Hotel-Casino, located on Fremont Street at the Boulder Highway. RJ Photo by K.M. Cannon
Jan 1, 219,998,000 BCE: A mile above the Vegas Valley, gigantic deep-diving dinosaurs, or ichthyosaurs, swim in this tropical ocean hunting for giant squid to eat.
Jan 2, 2014: A can of sardines at valley grocery stores costs about $1.49.
Jan. 3, 1952: $1 billion has been wagered in Nevada’s casinos for the first time this past year, in 1951, or three times the assessed value of the entire state.
Jan 4, 1953: Cuba has announced its withdrawal from the legalized gambling field, leaving Las Vegas “with a virtual monopoly in the industry.”
Jan 5, 1956: Banned from the U.S. from 1951 through 1954 for associating with communists, French performer and Hollywood film star Maurice Chevalier is now appearing at the Dunes Hotel.
Jan 6, 1956: The Sauc-E-Pig Bar B-Q Drive-In has opened at 2111 Fremont, “along the ever expanding East Fremont Street.”
Jan 7, 1995: The city council has hired consultants for $50,000, “to bolster the city’s claim that Cashman Field downtown is the ideal site for a new 60,000 seat domed stadium.”
Jan 8, 2002: With $1.47 million in tax dollars spent so far to keep it from being torn down, the historic Huntridge Theatre’s future still remains “uncertain.”
Jan 9, 1939: A new Nash 4-door sedan costs $871.
Jan 10, 1995: A recently-released study suggests that multiple cases of leukemia and thyroid cancer “have been caused in North Dakota by radioactive material transported more than 900 miles in the atmosphere from nuclear tests in Nevada during the 1950s.”
Jan 11, 1962: The owner of the first cash and carry grocery store in town, David Lorenzi, 86, a pioneer resident since 1911, has passed away.
Jan 12, 2006: Today’s newspaper reports on the implosion of the Castaways, formerlyShowboat Hotel, yesterday. It took demolition experts 19 seconds to bring down this casino that originally needed four years to build.
Jan 13, 1950: An unsolved attempted slaying of a casino owner; a payout of only $20,000 on $67,000 won in a dice game at downtown’s Savoy Club; the gaming crowd trying to take over local government— these recent concerns “point to a general tightening of controls (needed for) the legalized gambling industry to conduct its business more honestly.”
Jan 14, 2009: According to the Southern Nevada Health District, Las Vegas is “in the midst of a full-blown outbreak of syphilis,” as the number has increased from eight cases in 2003 to 102, in 2007.
Jan 15, 1983: Meyer Suchowljansky, 81, better known as Meyer Lansky, “the Mob’s Accountant,” has died in Miami Beach. He reportedly had convinced the mafia to put his friend Bugsy Siegel in charge of Vegas.
Jan 16, 1983: The Metropolitan Police Dept., with a new “prostitute suppression strategy,” is warning hookers that “a full-scale blitzkrieg will soon be launched to sweep them out of town.”
Jan 17, 1982: Donna the Duck, a 24-ounce mallard that captured national headlines last year walking around a local golf course with a three-foot arrow piercing her breast, has returned to town after migrating to Mexico for six months. She apparently is here seeking a daffy Vegas duck for mating purposes.
Jan 18, 1982: Four Thunderbird jets crash during a training exercise, killing four pilots from Nellis Air Force Base.
Jan 19, 1969: Catholic sociologist Louis Vitale reports that the Negro Westside in Vegas is “an extremely isolated ghetto” due to widespread segregation in the city.
Jan 20, 1969: The Spook Who Sat by the Door, directed by Ivan Dixon, is playing at the Fremont Theatre. It depicts an all-out black revolution in America led by a former African-American CIA operative.
Jan 21, 1981: Speaking to a convention of firefighters, Clark County Fire Chief Roy Parrish compares the MGM Grand Hotel fire this past November to science fiction, saying: “As the fire raced through the football-field-sized casino at 17 feet per second, temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, 6,000 occupants were sleeping upstairs.” The fire killed 85 people.
Jan 22, 1992: Advocates for the homeless conduct a funeral procession down Fremont Street, toting a black coffin, in memory of four homeless men who died the past week due to cold weather.
Jan 23, 2009: Slumdog Millionaire is playing at area movie theatres.
Jan 24, 2005: Described as “someone who sometimes does whimsical things,” Green Valley High School history teacher Howard Bycroft, who is HIV positive, attempts suicide in a classroom by stabbing himself in the abdomen. He is bleeding profusely only minutes before the start of the day’s classes.
Jan 25, 1992: Former President Jimmy Carter visits town to dedicate the first Habitat for Humanity house built in the valley.
Jan 26, 1923: Mrs. Harmon Tobler, mother of six children, commits suicide by drinking formaldehyde at her home.
Jan 27, 1974: Elvis Presley is performing at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Jan 28, 2005: Promoted to assistant sheriff, Rod Jett becomes the highest ranking black officer in the Metropolitan Police Department’s history.
Jan 29, 1950: The first suicide attempt at Hoover Dam is thwarted when paroled murderer Jake Jaramillo is restrained from killing himself by three dam guides.
Jan 30: 1929: The Bell Telephone Co. ceremoniously links Las Vegas, “the Boulder Dam City,” with telephone service to other cities in the western U.S.— Denver, LA, Reno, et. al.
Jan 31, 1939: Son of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff is at the Palace Theatre.
Sources: Las Vegas Age; Las Vegas Morning Tribune; Review-Journal; Sun.