by A.D. Hopkins
Table of Contents
Editors & Authors
John C. Fremont
Ute Warren Perkins
Helen J. Stewart
George F. Colton
William Andrews Clark
Ed Von Tobel
David G. Lorenzi
Harley A. Harmon
Florence Lee Jones
Morris B. Dalitz
Del E. Webb
James B. McMillan
Oran K. Gragson
The Foley Family
Anna Dean Kepper
The First 100 was originally published as a three-part package in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, marking the approaching end of the century in which Las Vegas was born.
Sherman R. Frederick, publisher of the Review-Journal, conceived the project as a means of capturing memories of the community’s formative years and founders while those memories were still relatively fresh.
“Las Vegas is unusual in that it was created entirely in the 20th century,” Frederick pointed out in announcing the project in March 1998. “Many of those who made the important decisions remain alive, while immediate relatives and close acquaintances of others still survive. This gives the Review-Journal a special opportunity to portray them and their accomplishments with authentic detail, which newspapers and historians in other cities would envy.”
The strategy adopted in this book is to tell the community’s story through the lives of 100 people who played significant roles in it. Historians, journalists, and the newspaper’s readers were invited to nominate people who should be profiled in The First 100. More than 300 people were nominated, and most would have made interesting and historically significant stories. But since time and resources limited the number of profiles to 100, editors had to make hard choices about which to leave out.
Because such choices were necessary, the Review-Journal has never represented that the 100 chosen are the most important who could have been selected; the newspaper does, however, represent that all are significant and interesting people. Nor did the editors attempt to rank the relative importance of the 100 people chosen. Instead, they are presented in a logical order, approximating the chronology of their contributions.
Condensing the stories into a hardbound book for permanent addition to the libraries and homes of Las Vegas was not an afterthought, but part of Frederick’s original intention. Huntington Press was the writers’ first choice as publisher, because of its track record for producing quality books about Las Vegas, chosen and edited by people who understand the city.
Special Projects Editor A.D. Hopkins and writer K.J. Evans worked full time on the project for more than 17 months. Both had been editors of Nevadan, a Sunday magazine formerly published by the Review-Journal, which specialized in historical pieces and in-depth profiles. Hopkins also asked certain local historians and some of the Review-Journal’s star writers to contribute stories.
Historical consultants for the project were Robert Faiss, former city editor of the Las Vegas Sun and now an attorney specializing in gaming law; Michael Green, a history professor at Community College of Southern Nevada; Eugene Moehring, a history professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the author of a respected history of Las Vegas; Frank Wright, curator at the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society; and W.V. “Bill” Wright, former chairman of the museum’s board.
W.V. Wright, who was also the former general manager of the Review-Journal before his retirement in 1981, died in August 1998 after a short illness. He continued his involvement with The First 100 until a few weeks prior to his death. Kenneth J. Evans died on September 10, 1999, the day the authors turned over the last story to Huntington Press.
Others greatly helpful to the project include the staffs of UNLV Special Collections and the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society; historian Elizabeth Warren; and Joanne L. Goodwin, an oral history teacher at UNLV.
The original First 100 three-part series published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal would not have been possible without the sponsorship of the following: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Mirage Resorts, Del Webb Corporation, Howard Hughes Corporation, Park Towers at Hughes Center, the A.G. Spanos Companies, Palm Mortuary Inc., the Buzard Eye Institute, JHC Health Center, American Pacific Corp., Harrison Door Company, Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, Jim Marsh Jeep Eagle Mazda Volvo, Mission Industries, Nest Featherings Interior Decorating, Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino, Southwest Gas Corp., Sunrise Hospital, and Walker Furniture.
Our award-winning collection of biographies of the 100 most influential Las Vegans now in paperback. Meet the explorers, builders, outlaws, gamblers, and 14-karat characters who transformed Las Vegas from a desert waterhole into the extraordinary city it is today.
The First 100 brings to life the incredible men and women who ushered Las Vegas to the forefront of popular culture. From Mob boss Bugsy Siegel to millionaire eccentric Howard Hughes, Rat Pack crooner Frank Sinatra to flamboyant showman Liberace, powerful basketball icon Jerry Tarkanian to banking king (and casino kingmaker) E. Parry Thomas.
The First 100 holds particular value for students of gambling history, as several of those profiled are from the gambling world. The story of Bob Martin, considered the dean of all bookmakers, provides a fascinating look at how Las Vegas’ massive sports betting industry began. Anyone who’s ever visited the Gambler’s Book Club will love reading about its founder, John Luckman. There’s the story of Tony Cornero, who died, fittingly, at one of the Desert Inn crap tables that he frequented while struggling to build the Stardust. Others with gambling ties include Moe Dalitz, Benny Binion, Kirk Kerkorian, Bill Bennett, Bob Stupak, and Steve Wynn.
The First 100 profiles are punctuated by hundreds of black-and-white photographs, many never-before published.
Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Arizona Republic, Chance, Nevada magazine, Casino Player, Fun ‘n’ Games
“A remarkable picture history of Las Vegas.”
—Fun ‘n’ Games