The Sands Hotel was the seventh resort to open its doors in the Las Vegas Strip. Opened in 1952, the Sands hosted many popular entertainers of the time, from the Rat Pack to Nat King Cole, and was massively popular for decades. The Sands closed in 1996, however, and its location is now home to the Venetian.
In the 1940s, Jake Freedman, an oil baron from Texas,
wanted to open a resort on the Las Vegas Strip that would attract high rollers
and other glamorous patrons. In order to bring about this vision, Freedman
hired Wayne McAllister, who had also designed the El Rancho Vegas, to design
it. One of the most distinctive features of the Sands was its road sign, which
boasted a more modern design and font instead of a more traditional Las Vegas
neon sign. Construction on the Sands began out of the building for a certain
restaurant, the La Rue, and it opened in 1952. The Sands brought in performers
such as Frank Sinatra and the members of what would become the Rat Pack just
before the opening of the resort, and with them came the high rollers and
Hollywood types that Freedman had desired to bring in.
Several notable events occurred in the Sands during
the late 1950s and the early 1960s, such as the filming of Ocean’s 11, but
arguably more important was that the Sands was the first casino to have an
African American gamble in it. John F. Kennedy would also occasionally visit
Frank Sinatra at the resort. Renovations and additions were made in the
mid-1960s, and it remained popular well into the late 1980s. The Sands could
not keep pace with the competing resorts on the Strip, however, and it closed
in June of 1996. Soon after, the Sands was imploded in late November of 1996.