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The Riviera Hotel & Casino Lives On in UNLV Special Collections

By Su Kim Chung on May 4, 2015 5:02 PM | Permalink

Swimming pool scene at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, ca. 1955 (Union Pacific Railroad Photo Collection)

Although the Riviera Hotel and Casino closed its doors for the final time this afternoon, a wealth of documents and photographs in UNLV Special Collections will ensure that it lives on forever. For those interested in the original design of the hotel and casino, as well as its many renovations, we have digitized numerous architectural drawings of the Riviera from the papers of noted architect Martin Stern Jr in our Dreaming the Skyline digital exhibit.  Many historical images of the Riviera Hotel can be found in our collections, and some have also been digitized as part of the Dreaming the Skyline exhibit. The Riviera's restaurants were also part of its appeal, and many of the menus which showcase its culinary history are part of our historical menu collection, digitized as part of the Menus: The Art of Dining exhibit. Publicity and promotional materials including press releases, photos of entertainers who appeared in its showroom, and a wide array of brochures and ephemera can be found in the Riviera Hotel Promotional and Publicity Collection. Probably one of the most unique and valuable collections we have is Marshall L Wright's  scrapbook of the Riviera Hotel and Casino.  As the Riviera Hotel's first general manager, Wright amassed a small treasure trove of original brochures, clippings, ephemera, and photographs on the Riviera in its early days, with some materials dating just prior to its opening.  The papers of Hal Belfer, one of the Riviera's first entertainment directors also enrich our holdings on the hotel as does our large collection of Fabulous Las Vegas magazine issues which features the newly-constructed hotel on the cover of its April 23, 1955 issue.  

Aerial photograph of the Riviera Hotel & Casino, ca 1955 (Marshall L. Wright  Photo Collection) 

So although the Riviera may be gone, it will not soon be forgotten due to the dedicated collecting efforts of UNLV Special Collections. If you have any additional materials on the Riviera that you would like to see permanently preserved in the UNLV Libraries, please contact Special Collections at special.collections@unlv.edu or 702-895-2234.

Front exterior of the Riviera Hotel with marquee advertising Liberace and the Treniers. (Manis Photo Collection)