Marion Hicks

Thunderbird Casino

In October 1947, Marion Hicks, a Los Angeles contractor and a partner in Las Vegas' El Cortez Hotel and Casino, and Clifford Jones, Nevada's lieutenant governor, began construction on the Thunderbird Hotel. The site they had purchased sat on the fledgling Las Vegas Strip on Highway 91 across from the El Rancho Vegas, and about a mile north of the one-year-old Flamingo. Hicks and Jones completed the Thunderbird in September 1948, and despite losing $145,000 to craps players on opening night, it became a financial success.

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.

Subscribe to Marion Hicks