Tropicana Las Vegas, a Sin City landmark since 1957, will be demolished to make way for MLB stadium

People stand on a pedestrian bridge by the Tropicana hotel and casino in 2015 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS — When the Tropicana Las Vegas opened in 1957, Nevada’s lieutenant governor unlocked the door to what would become a Sin City landmark for more than a half-century. Then he threw away the key.

“This was to signify that the Tropicana would always stay open,” said historian Michael Green.


Six decades later, the storied hotel-casino that once had ties to the mob and was nicknamed the “Tiffany of the Strip,” is set to shut its doors for good to make room for a $1.5 billion Major League Baseball stadium that will be home to the relocating Oakland Athletics.

Tropicana owner Bally’s Corp. made the announcement Monday, saying the closure on April 2 — days before the 67th anniversary of the resort’s opening — marks the beginning of preparations for demolition.

The ballpark is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bally’s president, George Papanier, said in a statement.

“Bally’s looks forward to the development of a new resort and ballpark that … will become a new landmark, paying homage to the iconic history and global appeal of Las Vegas and its nearly 50 million visitors a year,” the company said in a news release.

The population of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, had just surpassed 100,000 when the Tropicana opened on a Las Vegas Strip not yet lined with the megaresorts it’s known for today, Green said. The Flamingo had been open for a decade. The high-rise Stardust debuted the following year, costing $8.5 million.

Known then for its opulence, Green said, the Tropicana had mosaic tiles and mahogany panels throughout. There was a towering tulip-shaped fountain near the entrance. Each hotel room had a balcony.

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