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El Cortez Hotel given national recognition

Reported by: Jerry Brown
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Updated: 2/26/2013 11:02 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Philadelphia has Independence Hall.

Boston has the Old North Church and New York City can boast Grant's Tomb.

Now add downtown Las Vegas's El Cortez Hotel and Casino to that list.

News 3's Jerry Brown tells us how a Las Vegas institution joined such elite company after being named by the National Park Service to the National Register of Historic Places.

The world was at war, but America was still enjoying a tenuous peace when the El Cortez opened its doors for the first time in 1940. Flash forward 73 years later.

“We're the oldest continuously operating property in town,” said Alexandra Epstein, Executive Manager of the El Cortez.

Epstein has reason for pride these days. The landmark on East Fremont Street has just been named as a historic landmark.

“We're in with some good company,but we are also the first casino on the register,so to set that standard is also very,very exciting for us,” she said.

Back east and across the pond in Europe, they measure their history by the century. Here in Las Vegas we go by the decade. The venerable El Cortez Hotel is now in its eighth decade.

"We've had customers who have been coming here for decades and employees who have been working here for decades,and that sense of familiarity and family is something that doesn't go away easily and is definitely still tangible," Epstein said.

Liz Butler is the El Cortez's longest-serving employee. Her first day on the job was Dec. 2, 1970. She has seen many changes in here 42 years at the hotel.

"It's not the same,it was different then," Butler says.

The location is going to be different soon, as well as downtown is changing. The East Fremont Street revival finds the El Cortez facing unprecedented new challenges

“Tying to remain true to the authenticity of the El Cortez, while still pushing ahead into the future, and that's something we work on a daily basis," Epstein said.




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