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Support Grows to Save a Las Vegas Strip Icon Set for Demolition

One of the most recognizable parts of the famed Sin City road faces a wrecking ball.

Las Vegas icons come and go. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack -- once synonymous with the Las Vegas Strip -- have become relics of the past, fondly remembered by many but most certainly not the type of entertainment Sin City offers today. Perhaps DJs like Tiesto Zedd, and Calvin Harris who entertain huge crowds as resident DJs on the Strip now will one day seem as outdated.

The city has also seen a large range of iconic Las Vegas casinos disappear into history. Names including The Dunes, The Sands, Aladdin, Bourbon Street, Boardwalk, Stardust (the casino that inspired the movie "Casino," New Frontier, and a handful of others were literally imploded wiping their legacies away.

Now, of course, some of those names were bigger than others, but Las Vegas has always been an endless series of changes where nothing is all that sacred. Some casinos don't quite get imploded -- the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was rebranded to Virgin Hotels in 2021 -- but names from the past can come back.

That's sort of what's happening at The Mirage, where MGM Resorts International MGM has sold the hotel/casino to Hard Rock International for $1.075 billion. The transaction, which has not closed, will bring the Hard Rock name back to Las Vegas (albeit it's a different Hard Rock company that the previous one). 

The problem -- at least as some people see it -- is that Hard Rock plans to build a Guitar Hotel similar to its Florida property on the grounds of the Mirage. To do that, it is expected to shut down and remove the iconic Mirage Volcano.

That's something some people want to stop and they're taking steps (small ones not likely to be successful) to stop the Mirage Volcano from facing the wrecking ball (or perhaps an implosion).

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The exterior of The Mirage Hotel & Casino at night. DK

 A Long-shot Effort to Save the Mirage Volcano

It's easy to see why people would want to try to save the volcano, but equally easy to see why others would be less nostalgic, Alan Feldman, a distinguished fellow at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute and former longtime gaming company executive told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The volcano is incredibly iconic for its generation. I think it’s very important to remember that Las Vegas is a city that is built on change. And it has built its success on change and on reinventing itself,” he said.

Now, a Change.org petition has been started to save the attraction which has been signed by over 6,000 people. The petition reads in part:

"The Mirage was the first "megaresort" ever to appear in Las Vegas, and on its opening day in November 1989 it was the most expensive resort ever built. From day one the The Volcano has been delighting The Mirage's visitors to what is an increasingly rare and totally awesome free Vegas attraction and highly emotional experience. Moreover, it's located on the most visible piece of land on the Las Vegas Strip! Frankly, it should be a historical landmark."

Trying to get the site designated a historical landmark might be a more effective way to save it than an online petition, but Las Vegas' tradition of not being overly nostalgic about historic buildings works against that idea.

The Mirage Volcano was a first-of-its-kind free attraction, It was later followed by Bellagio fountains, the pirates at Treasure Island, and the light show at the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas, Casino.org reported.