Originally known as the Stardust Country Club, the Las Vegas National Country Club opened in 1961. Over the years, the club has become a Las Vegas landmark and was featured in the film Casino. The golf course abuts a well-known neighborhood in the city, Paradise Palms. The neighborhood is a fine example of mid-century modern architecture and has been home to a large number of celebrities. Preservationists are working to get Paradise Palms listed as a historic landmark.
The Las Vegas National Golf Club
and the Paradise Palms development are contemporaries of each other, both
emerging in the early 1960s. And today, both offer a time machine-like glimpse
into mid-century Las Vegas, when the city was at the height of its swinging,
The golf club, originally known
as the Stardust Country Club, opened in 1961. It was designed by Bert Stamps, a
caddy and amateur golfer who became well-known for his golf course designs. At
the time, the Stardust course was one of the most modern in the country, as
well as one of the most popular, hosting numerous tournaments.
Within a few years of the
Stardust’s opening, a residential development began to take shape around the
course. Designed by developer Irwin Molaksy, who was responsible for much of
Las Vegas’s postwar growth, Paradise Palms became the first planned community
in Clark County. The neighborhood’s homes were designed by famed architects Dan
Palmer and William Krisel, who made a name for themselves with their
ultra-modern designs in Palm Springs.
The homes are—depending on your
taste—painfully dated or a remarkably intact example of mid-century
architecture. Driving though Paradise Palms’ curving streets, you’re greeted by
low-slung homes with a distinctly Sunbelt aesthetic: textured concrete walls,
asymmetrical rooflines, patterned breeze blocks. The colors are fanciful, the
vivid hues and unexpected combinations one might expect to find glittering in
neon on the Strip.
The denizens of Paradise Palms
were as colorful as the neighborhood’s homes. Over the years, the neighborhood
was a who’s who of the entertainment industry, including Johnny Carson, Phyllis
Diller, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Bobby Darin, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, Gladys
Knight, Dionne Warwick, Donald Sutherland, and Debbie Reynolds and Sonny
Liston, who—at different times—lived in the same house. In addition to
Hollywood luminaries, Paradise Palms was home to a number of political figures
and casino executives, as well as Anthony Spilotro, the real-life mobster who
inspired Joe Pesci’s character in Casino.
The Stardust Country Club, which
went through several name changes before eventually becoming the Las Vegas
National Golf Club, attracted its own share of famous clientele. The Rat Pack
members were regulars there, with stories of late-night tournaments among Frank
Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Dean Martin are legendary. The
club retains enough of its mid-century mod vibe that twenty-first century
visitors might still expect to hear the clink of glasses and see the Rat Pack
emerging from the bar.
Given its historical significance
and its almost perfectly preserved mid-century homes, Paradise Palms is
increasingly viewed in Las Vegas as a local landmark, and preservationists are
currently at work securing its designation as Clark County’s first historic