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The Riv Lives On

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Last night marked the final end of an era in Las Vegas. The last remaining buildings of the Riviera Hotel and Casino were imploded. An earlier implosion in June of this year celebrated the last hoorah of this famous landmark- with a viewing area and party set up nearby for the curious to come, watch, and remember while they said their goodbyes.

Last night’s’ implosion of the final buildings went off without a hitch and also without the fanfare. Those of us who call Las Vegas home have witnessed this occur over and over again in our ever evolving city. The old being discarded for the new. It has become a common theme here in Las Vegas.

Luckily, some of the members of the Got Good Bones ™ community here in Las Vegas got to be among the many who explored the vacant halls of the hotel floors and made their way methodically down to the basement area, the employee lounges and the money counting rooms, scouring for items and mementos to remember this historical venue.

Officially opening in 1955, it was the first high rise with all of its nine floors. (yes only nine!!) The opening ceremony was graced by none other than Liberace- who cut the ribbon to mark the grand occasion. He would also be a headliner, sharing his musical showmanship and flare there for many years to come. Within a month of each other- the Riviera, The Dunes and The Royal Nevada all opened up their doors to the budding young town. Speculation and media buzz was that they would falter- as it was too much for a young city to handle.

Over the years- there would be a myriad of owners- and there is a rich history of mob bosses and influence. (There is lots of information on the internet about its history if you would like to do further research on it)

It is also rumored that the hotel was haunted.

Many famous movies have also been filmed on site, Casino, Jason Bourne, Vegas Vacation, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Even the last season of Hollywood Squares was played and taped from there.

Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, George Burns, and Barbara Streisand are just a few of the famous performers who all performed in its showrooms. Many popular Vegas shows also called the Riviera home; such as Splash, Crazy Girls and An Evening at La Cage.

So much history brought down in a few seconds.

Luckily, many have memories, photographs and stories from the time that they spent at this iconic property in sin city. I was lucky enough to have spent time their on many occasions as a resident of Las Vegas for the past thirty years. We all can go online and see old photos, videos and read all about the Riviera in its heyday. Some though, are lucky enough to have a piece of history in their own homes. Whether it be a casino chip or an end table.

I wanted to present some of the photos of items that a few of the members of the Got Good Bones™ Community were able to see, share, rescue and in some cases, even give a new home to. You will see from the pictures- that the Riviera legacy lives on and will continue to do so. Some pieces have been transformed; and I love that. As Las Vegas changes and grows, expands, and gets makeovers; the pieces of history that were part of The Riviera will continue to live on and its bones will never be forgotten.


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Danyel Guay Galloway
Photo by: Danyel Guay-Galloway


Riviera Vintage Mesh and Lace Clothing

Photo by: Vintage Lace and Mesh Clothing

Riviera Tara Luckey-Castellano

Photo by: Tara Luckey Castallano


Riviera Zurii Malia D'Ambra

Photo by: Zurii Malia D’Ambra


Riviera Allison Shamblin-Padura

Photo by: Allison Shamblin-Padura

Riviera Theresa Cordova Estrada1

(Outside loading dock on day of sale)

Photo by: Theresa Cordova-Estrada

Riviera Amy Chairsell

Photo by: Amy Chairsell,  Owner, Roxtrot Vintage


Riviera Amy Glasby Chicarell

Photo by: Amy Glasby – Chicarell, Owner,  Battle Born Vintage

Riviera Crystal Barney Dirks

Nightstands that have been given a new look.

Photo by: Crystal Barney-Dirks

Johannah Back
I have been a picker\collector\decorator my whole life. I grew up in an eccentric family of artists and collectors. I studied Interior Design- but never finished my degree, as being a mom of two amazing children always seemed to close the door on my college pursuit. I know what inspires and motivates me.

2 thoughts on “The Riv Lives On

  1. Thanks for sharing Johannah. It’s true, “Out with the old and in with the new” is the way Vegas does Vegas.

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