The following is a look into the brainstorming and research that started the plot for my most recent book, Maddy’s Secret: The Search For Einstein’s Lost Work. The information in this article is a composite of multiple web sites listed at the end.
Las Vegas Mystery
What if you could go back in time to 1960 and buy 57 acres of land on what is now known as The Las Vegas Strip? Would it surprise you to know that the land has remained empty for the past 45 years?
In 1938 a man named Tommy Hull was driving through the desert when his car broke down near the city limits of a small dusty town called Las Vegas. The story goes that it was so hot while Hull was waiting for help that all he could think about was jumping into a swimming pool. He decided to build a resort with a pool on that exact spot where his car broke down. The idea of adding a casino actually didn’t come until later. Hull was already in the hotel business and owned the San Francisco Bellevue, Los Angeles Mayfair, Hollywood Roosevelt, and others, so this new adventure was simply another add-on to his empire. In April of 1941, the El Rancho Vegas opened on 57 acres of land with a neon-lit windmill that was located on top of the casino. One of its slogans was Stop at the Sign of the Windmill. He added a gas station, and the grounds featured a waterfall. The theme was designed as a rustic dude ranch, complete with riding stables. Each cottage had its own well-tended lawn, a shaded porch, and all the comforts of home with well-equipped kitchens. The Chuck Wagon Buffet had seating for 250 people and was the largest in town. He was way ahead of his time and set the pace for the future.
Stars at the resort included Pearl Bailey, Milton Berle, Lena Horne, Sophie Tucker, Rudy Vallee, and famous stripper Lili St. Cyr. The resort hosted the weddings of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and many others.
Hull sold the resort, and through the years, it had many owners with the last one being Beldon Katleman. In June of 1960, Betty Grable and her husband, band leader Harry James, were on the stage in the cocktail lounge in an adlib comedy routine with a lounge entertainer, when a blaze erupted. No one was injured in the fire but the main building burned to the ground. Damage was estimated at $5,000,000. The cause of the fire was first thought to be faulty wiring, and then rumors mentioned that it was arson, but the sheriff's report only stated the fire started in the dressing rooms near the kitchen and spread from there. Katleman had promised that he would replace the resort with a safer ultra-modern concrete construction. The rest of the buildings were torn down in preparation, but Katleman's dream was never rebuilt.
Howard Hughes bought the property in 1970, and then Bill Bennett of Circus Circus, purchased it. A few years ago the Hilton Hotels Corporation contracted a small piece of it … about a 10 acre parcel, and is building a Grand Vacations timeshare project. The rest of the property is still under speculation and remains deserted.
The mystery continues as to why one of the founding Las Vegas Casino sites, built in 1941, and burned down in 1960, was never built upon again. Think about it… prime Las Vegas property … empty for 45+ years. Why?
The research of this mystery became the genesis of the book, Maddy’s Secret: The Search for Einstein’s Lost Work, a fictionalized tale of government secrets, amazing technology, and Albert Einstein’s personal mission to hide key elements of his work from the government. Maddy’s Secret, explains the mystery surrounding the property, and allows a look into Top Secret government projects that are still causing blackouts and other unexplained government happenings.
Today, the El Rancho Vegas is nearly forgotten. The site of the Strip's first casino is a vacant lot, a desolate wasteland at the corner of Sahara and the Strip. There are no signs of the site's former glory.
El Rancho Vegas site 2005 – Still an empty lot after 45 years.
El Rancho Vegas Chips
The Big Fire….
Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward cutting their wedding cake at the El Rancho Vegas
Maddy’s Secret: The Search for Einstein’s Lost Work
Original research creating - Maddy’s Secret: The Search for Einstein’s Lost Work