Most people might not recognize this guy, or his name, but Guy McAfee was a pivotal figure in the rise and development of Las Vegas. He’s not quite as recognizable as Oscar Goodman, Bugsy Siegel, or Elvis, but Guy McAfee deserves his place in Vegas history for one reason and one reason alone:
He named the Las Vegas Strip.
This one-time police officer and business man began life as an orphan in Kansas. As an adult, he found his way out to Los Angeles and became a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Eventually, he moved over to the police force, where he became the head of the vice squad. This appointment raised some eyebrows, due to McAfee’s involvement in saloons and the gambling industry. He was allowed to continue in his position despite his extra-curricular activities, until Judge Fletcher Brown came to office in 1939. It was then that Mr. McAfee made his move to Las Vegas.
His first venture into the casino industry was the Pair o’ Dice Club in 1939, which later came to be known as the first official casino on “The Strip”. After that, he went on to co-found The Pioneer Club and build The Golden Nugget.
He christened the four-mile strip of Las Vegas Boulevard after another famous “boulevard” from his previous home town, the Sunset Strip. He was also instrumental in securing the land for the unincorporated township known as Paradise, which established a tax shelter for Las Vegas casinos.