Other businesses are older (Union Pacific and Wells Fargo arrived in 1905), but Anderson Dairy—which retains its original name—reigns as the city’s oldest homegrown biz. Founded here in 1907, Harry Anderson’s 15-cow farm was on West Charleston Boulevard across from where UMC (founded in 1931) now stands. Anderson later moved his business to Hoover Avenue and Fifth Street (now Las Vegas Boulevard).
And in 1956, the growing dairy uprooted again to a state-of-the-art facility near Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue, where it stands today. Anderson remains the only brand of milk some longtime Las Vegans will buy.
Other businesses surviving the Las Vegas cycles of boom-and-bust did so by providing vital services to a burgeoning community: Cragin & Pike insurance (founded in 1909 as former mayor Peter Buol’s Real Estate & Insurance Company); the Las Vegas Review-Journal (originally the Clark County Review, 1909); Palm Mortuary (1926); the law offices of Jones Vargas (1938); Whittlesea-Bell Transportation (1941); Kellogg-Cutler-Yenchek Insurance (1943); Ideal Office Equipment (1947); Alarmco (1950); the Las Vegas Sun (1950); and Creel Printing (1953).
As you might expect, many others were involved in construction and development: Cashman Equipment (1931); Larkin Plumbing (1936); Young Electric Sign Company (1945); Del Webb Corporation and Jake’s Crane (1946), J.A. Tiberti Construction (1950); Ahern Rentals (1953); and Rakeman Plumbing (1957).
Few classic casinos still stand; they not only had to survive booms and busts, but also the fickle nature of tourism and its demanding reinvention pressures. As with banks, many casinos have undergone name and ownership changes, so although the Golden Gate’s building is older, the El Cortez holds the city’s oldest gaming license (1941). The Flamingo and Golden Nugget (both 1946), the Riviera (1955) and the Tropicana (1957) are also members of the dwindling 50-plus club.
On a smaller scale, M.J. Christensen Jewelers has been exchanging table wins for diamonds since 1939, while El Sombrero (1950), Mount
Charleston Lodge (opened in 1952 as Timbers, and, yes, not actually in Las Vegas) and Bob Taylor’s Ranch House (1955) have been dishing it up for decades.
This list of long-surviving local businesses is healthier than expected, but by no means complete. It is comforting to know that some have found a way to bring continuity to our town of hustle and change. RIP to those that didn’t make it.