The uniquely Japanese inspired Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino opened in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip in November of 1979. The architectural design is heavily influenced by Japanese temple design, the architect, Merlin Barth, used traditional blue tile imported from Japan for the roof of the building. The Asian theme of the exterior continued inside inspiring everything from the decor to the employee's uniforms.
Less than a year after casino opening the Imperial Showroom, an 850 seat showroom, opened in June of 1980. Not to rest on its laurels a year later in December of 1981 The Auto Collections opened on the 5th floor of the parking garage. The Auto Collections was initially a collection of 200 antique, classic or special-interest vehicles spanning a century of automotive history. Unlike many other museums or collections, most of the vehicles displayed at The Auto Collections were fully functional and available for purchase.
Editor's note 3/6/2019: I've been passed this message along by a reader today of what they claim about the auto collection, "The auto collections was a sales venue that opened in 2000 but as well occupying the same space, but most cars that were in the auto collections were on consignment for sale. Very few of the cars were owned by the owners of the auto collections which is actually "The Auction" dba the auto collections."
Not only was owner Ralph Engelstad a shrewd businessman he was also a philanthropist. In 1981 he initiated a Senior Christmas Party, an annual event which provided low-income senior citizens a complimentary holiday dinner and show. By 1991 13% of the 2,600 employees of the Imperial Place had some form of disability. For this, the Imperial Palace and Engelstad were bestowed numerous awards including the National Employer of the Year by the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council on Disability. Finally is 2001 the Imperial Palace opened a first of its kind Medical Care Clinic in partnership with the University of Nevada's School of Medicine. This full-service medical clinic provided primary care, women's health care and, urgent care services for hotel employees, guests and, people along the Strip corridor.
In 2002 Ralph Engelstad died of lung cancer in his beloved home in Las Vegas. After his death, the ownership of the casino was passed to a trust and operated under that trust as the Imperial Palace LLC.
The Imperial Palace LLC operated until mid-2005 when it was purchased by Harrah's Entertainment. At the time of the purchase, it was undecided if the property would remain or if it would be closed and demolished to make room for expansion of the next door Flamingo Hotel or a new Harrah's Hotel. This indecision continued until 2009 when it was announced that the Imperial Palace would remain and be refurbished a re-branded. Finally in 2011, after 32 years, the Imperial Palace name was retired and the property was renamed The Quad.
Although the Imperial Palace may be gone (as is the short named The Quad) the unique architecture of the Imperial Palace can still be seen at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino Chips