Stratosphere Las Vegas
The Stratosphere is a hotel and casino on Las Vegas Boulevard, and is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. The hotel itself is not part of the tower, but instead is a building right next to the Stratosphere tower. Though it is not on the Las Vegas Strip itself, the Stratosphere is often considered to be a Strip attraction.
Backstory and Context
In the 1980s, renowned casino owner Bob Stupak developed the idea of the Stratosphere as a companion to his pre-existing casino, Vegas World. The initial idea came from his desire to build a tower somewhat like the Eiffel Tower, but due to construction limitations, he went for a design more like that of a radio tower. Construction began in the early 1990s, but was stalled by a fire in 1993 that damaged a great deal of the tower. Despite this, construction continued, and the Stratosphere Corporation was formed in 1995. The Stratosphere opened on April 20th, 1996, and received a great deal of praise from both critics and the public.
Despite initial positive reception, the Stratosphere did not attract a great deal of business after its opening, due much in part to its location off of the Vegas Strip, and only months after opening, the Stratosphere Corporation filed for bankruptcy. The Stratosphere was purchased by American Casino & Entertainment Properties soon after, and they resumed construction on the Stratosphere’s second hotel building, which was completed in 2001. Once the hotel building was complete, the Stratosphere’s attention shifted to the construction of thrill rides, which manifested in X-Scream in 2003 and Insanity in 2005. Though the Stratosphere is not technically on the Vegas Strip, it is today considered a highlight of the Las Vegas experience.