Las Vegas History Series – Silver Slipper

Las Vegas History Series – Silver Slipper

The Silver Slipper holds many layers of Las Vegas history. To begin, the place was designed by famous architect Martin Stern Jr.  He was known for designs of very huge buildings in Nevada. In Las Vegas history, he is credited with coming up with the building concept of the structurally integrated casino resort complex. In short, a hotel with full-service accommodations and amenities.

In 1950, the casino opened up adjacent to where the Frontier was on Las Vegas Boulevard. Before being named the Silver Slipper, it was actually called Golden Slipper Saloon and Gambling Hall. Because there was an establishment that already existed with that name, the owner did not get his way to originally name the place Silver Slipper. Its signature element was the rotating slipper shoe that was located at the top of the casino structure.

A first in Las Vegas history, the casino was closed in 1964 on the basis of cheating charges. Reports state that certain games were rigged and the casino was using flat dice. Flat dice are dice that are shaved so that a winning combination of six and one will never occur. From this matter, the house had an unfair advantage. Other games that were shut included everything from slot machines to roulette wheels and blackjack tables. At the time of the cheating scandal, the majority owner was Robert O. Shulze. He owned more than 90 percent of the operation.

After the cheating scandal, new ownership came in under Shelby and Claudine Williams. During this period, one of the signs during the casino’s existence offered a World Famous All You Can Eat Buffet for $1.57. The casino also offered patrons an opportunity to cash their payroll checks there. The rotating slipper sign would end up being relocated to the top of the sign near the street. This relocation would be the beginning of reported irritation and concern from legendary businessman Howard Hughes.

Two Sides of the story of why Hughes purchased the Silver Slipper:

In 1968, during his Las Vegas spending spree where he purchased a lot of Vegas property, Silver Slipper was purchased for 5.4 Million dollars by Howard Hughes. He also purchased the Frontier which was located next door.

The famous story goes as follows to why Hughes purchased the casino. He was living across the street in a Desert Inn Penthouse, he was concerned that the toe of the rotating Slipper above the sign could have a photographer taking pictures of him and that the light from it bothered him. Hughes requested that the rotating slipper be turned off numerous times. After failing at that, Hughes purchased the casino, had the rotating slipper dismantled and turned the lights off. That is the legendary story. Reportedly the slipper was also filled with concrete.

The story doesn’t end there however. There is another side to it. According to the Neon Museum who has the Silver Slipper sign today, they say there was never any concrete put in the slipper sign. Additionally, a former manager of the Silver Slipper claimed that Hughes’s room at the Desert Inn was blacked out so no light could bother him. Additionally, the Frontier Hotel and Casino was brighter and bigger so it would have caused more of an annoyance said the former employee. The Neon Museum says that the purchase of the Silver Slipper was just part of Hughes’s buying spree from 1966 to 1970.

In 1988, Margaret Elardi purchased the casino and its land for 70 million dollars. As the owner of the Frontier at the time, the decision was made to demolish the resort and have a parking lot there for the Frontier until it was demolished in 2007.

East Fremont pays tribute to the Silver Slipper with a retro neon sign over by the El Cortez. It is not the original sign, but one that tributes the casino. Today, the original sign resides in the Neon Museum.

Below you will find our collection of Silver Slipper Chips for purchase that includes chips from the 1950s through the 1980s, our fantasy chip and a matchbook set you can buy on Ebay. Click on each picture to purchase the specific item you are interested in. 

New low price for our Cherry Wood Chip Cases:

We have dropped the price on our 200 and 300 Cherry Wood Chip Cases. What makes these cases unique is you receive with them 4 chip trays that also have cup holders. These sets are great for any poker outing, event or party. The 200 chip case set goes for $15 and the 300 case goes for $18. Click either picture below to purchase the case you want.

200 Chip Case:

300 Chip Case: 

 

 

 

 

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