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Property Dispute Over Former Location of Historic African American Landmark
Racially Controversial 1955 Las Vegas Casino Site Up for Sale
By: Author Charm Baker
Now, the property is once again on the market and many believe it is in jeopardy of losing the historical value that the site should be afforded. According to author and former Las Vegas resident Charm Baker, "…the historical significance of the property does not seem to be of concern to Nevada."
Although Baker is currently a resident of Los Angeles, she says she has been following stories about the status of the Las Vegas property for some time. She tells how disputes regarding the 15-acre property located at 900 West Bonanza Road in Las Vegas are nothing new. Research shows that the address has been a topic of controversy ever since the 1955 first racially integrated casino was built on the site. History records how part of the structure was victim to an "accidental"
Conspiracy or Bad Luck?
A wide range of negative incidents and accidents have happened to and on the Las Vegas property, even long after the suspicious closing of the casino the same year it opened. Speculation has led many to question whether the cause could really be just bad luck, and a long list of coincidental accidents over the years. In the past, numerous conspiracy theories were swarming around the 1955 events of the Las Vegas Moulin Rouge. Today, it is considered to be a 62-year-old mystery.
Recently, author Charm Baker combined some of those conspiracy theories with recorded historical events, and used them as the basis for her new release: "Lights Out at the Moulin Rouge." Several writers have previously written detailed non-fiction accounts related to the Las Vegas Moulin Rouge, however Baker's book is a novel, not a work of non-fiction. In the book's Acknowledgements, Baker mentions a notable non-fiction title: The Moulin Rouge Mystique: Blacks and Equal Rights in Las Vegas, written by Earnest N. Bracey. Baker credits Bracey's book for helping her infuse her novel with realism, which she says was extremely important to her. Lights Out at the Moulin Rouge is available exclusively on Amazon and is the first attempt at using fiction as a platform to disseminate the details about this historic casino.
Source of Controversy
These days, the property is still a source of controversy, but instead of the racial issue, the source of the controversy has to do with what kind of future is in store for the location. When it comes to developing the land and making an attempt to restore or bring back the Moulin Rouge, there are many supporters. Katherine Duncan, president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce is among them, as well as the above-mentioned author, Charm Baker, and former showgirls like Anna Bailey and Carrie Adams. But while there are countless others, there are also those who are completely fine with turning the historic site into just another mall or shopping center.
As long as the future owner of the 900 West Bonanza Road property is still to be determined, the eventual outcome for the site is still uncertain. In a December 13, 2017 interview, the Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission told reporters that they were "…making a push for a more significant recognition of the site…"
They told how they were hoping to weigh in on any designing plans and whatever projects were being proposed for the location. They indicated they had no desire to have to wait until the review stage. According to Commissioner Colleen Beck, "When that happens, we're too late." This has prompted the commission's request that a letter be drafted and sent to whoever ends up acquiring the former Moulin Rouge site. They are recommending that the new owners recognize and convey the historic value of the site to the public in a significant and visible way. They also ask to be involved in the planning and development of this historic piece of Las Vegas property.
It is believed that this request may end up going to Spec Builders USA Inc, the company that came in second with a bid of $5 million plus the demolition costs. Kevin Hanchett is the property's receiver. Hanchett indicated that Spec Builders USA Inc plans to match the $6.2 million bid. They are supposed to be looking at a closing date towards the end of January 2018. Whether or not the deal will go through, remains to be seen. Current updates suggest the company is still waiting to hear from the city of Las Vegas and be given a firm number about the demolition costs they are expected to pay. Until a deal is made and finalized, the dispute over this historic African American landmark will continue, and possibly even afterwards.
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 08, 2018