John Grayson

John Kell Houssels

John Kell (J. Kell) Houssels, Sr. (1895-1979) turned a small card parlor on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas into a gambling club, and over the next four decades he became one of the most respected operators of casinos in Southern Nevada, including the El Cortez, Showboat, and Tropicana.

El Cortez Hotel-Casino

[VR Morph by Howard Goldbaum.]

When it opened in 1941, the El Cortez Hotel-Casino was considered the finest such establishment in downtown Las Vegas. It was the brainchild of Marion Hicks, who migrated to Las Vegas when authorities shut down Southern California's gambling operations.

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