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Vegas Bids Farewell to the Stardust

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Vegas Bids Farewell to the Stardust

U.S.

Vegas Bids Farewell to the Stardust

Vegas Bids Farewell to the Stardust

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/7854907/7854912" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Stardust sign, 1968
Charles Phoenix Collection

The space-age Stardust hotel was blown to smithereens this week, wiped from the Las Vegas Strip for good.

Once the world's largest resort, the Stardust opened after four years of construction on June 2, 1958. The $10 million enterprise owned by John Factor, brother of cosmetics magnate Max Factor, was the first resort in Las Vegas built to host the masses.

The Stardust was the last, and by far grandest, resort built on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s. The next major opening would be Caesars Palace in 1966.

While neighboring resorts celebrated exotic and western motifs, the Stardust was the "Tomorrowland of Las Vegas." Its original 1958 neon fa├žade and Saturn marquee, with its hundreds of chasing lights and sparkling neon starbursts, was one the greatest examples of roadside signage ever.

The other greatest sign was its 1968 replacement, in the shape of the atomic cloud that Las Vegas was famous for in the '50s. The spectacular sign sparkled until the legendary resort and casino closed after 48 years in 2006.

Boyd Gaming Corporation plans to build a new hotel, Echelon Place, on the Stardust site.