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Vintage Silverplate Desert Inn Coffee Pot

Vintage Silverplate Desert Inn Coffee Pot


There is "new" Las Vegas and there is "old" Las Vegas. Will Clark's Desert Inn, or D.I. as it was nicknamed, was definitely "old" Las Vegas.  In the late 1940s, when Las Vegas was just a glimmer of what it would become, Wilbur "Will" Clark, the charismatic owner of several bars and a hotel in San Diego, sold all his investments and moved to Las Vegas with the dream of opening his own hotel and casino.  He would call his resort the Desert Inn and be one of the first to envision Las Vegas as a leading post-war venue for casino gaming and big-name entertainers from New York and Hollywood.

Since Las Vegas is...well, Las Vegas, the tale of Will Clark's Desert Inn soon gets mingled with members of the "Cleveland Group", an illegal gambling racket whose boss, Moe Dalitz, had ties to top organized crime figures. When the Desert Inn opens in 1950, Moe Dalitz owns 75% of the development, but it's Will Clark's name on the hotel's iconic marquee and he is in the lobby greeting guests and passing out flowers on opening day.

The Miami-style Bermuda-pink and green resort opened with a big splash of media attention. Radio comedian and ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, film star Vivian Blaine, the Desert Inn Orchestra, and others performed in the hotel's Painted Desert showroom for $25,000 a week. The upstairs Sky Room restaurant overlooked the "Dancing Waters," rising and falling fountains set to recorded music and lit by colored lights inside a figure-eight pool. A chef from the famed Ritz Hotel in Paris oversaw the gourmet restaurant. 

The Desert Inn's opulence soon attracted many celebrities and dignitaries including former president Harry Truman, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, Adlai Stevenson, and then-U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy. The hotel helped establish Las Vegas as a national showcase for major talent in the 1950s with headliners such as Ed Sullivan, Betty Hutton, Noël Coward, and Jimmy Durante.  Every major star of the latter half of the twentieth century performed at the Desert Inn. In fact in 1951, Frank Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert Inn and he would often perform there as the city became his main arena off and on for the rest of his life.

In November 1966, eccentric multimillionaire Howard Hughes - then considered the richest man in America - checked into the Desert Inn's top-floor penthouse. Hughes liked the apartment, stayed for several weeks, and instead of checking out at the end of his stay, he simply bought the entire resort for $14.6 million.

In August of 2000, after 50 years of providing the best hospitality and entertainment on the Las Vegas strip, the Desert Inn closed its doors forever.  In its final years it struggled to compete with the mega-resorts of the "new" Las Vegas and finally the property was purchased with plans to demolish it and replace it with something much bigger and shinier. 

The closure of the Desert Inn and its subsequent demolition was unpopular with many, as it seemed to mark the end of "old" Las Vegas. Perhaps it was all the myth surrounding Wilbur Clark, Moe Dalitz and Howard Hughes. Or maybe it was that long time residents were beginning to realize that their town was forever changing and would never again be that small, wonderful Entertainment Capital of the World where you could see Sinatra and the Rat Pack or Elvis for the price of dinner and drinks.

From the historic Desert Inn of Las Vegas, we are pleased to offer this handsome Vintage Silverplate Coffee Pot produced exclusively for the Desert Inn.  With the hotel's iconic cactus and cloud logo and its D.I. initials, the pot is bottom-stamped with the name Desert Inn along with its 1950 year of manufacture.  In excellent vintage condition, this charming pot will be a lasting souvenir of old Las Vegas and its famous Desert Inn.

Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. 5 3/4" x 5 3/4".

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