Historic Mount Charleston Lodge remembered after fire destroys local landmark

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One doesn’t think of Mount Charleston, without noting Griffith Peak or Mary Jane Falls, both of which are named for the prestigious family who helped shape Las Vegas into the bustling city it is and developed much of Kyle Canyon in the early 1900s.

8 News Now would like to thank Bob Stodal the Chairman of the City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation board for providing historic photos of the well-known landmark.

“When I worked there I remember some of the people who came up and romances that took place,” Stodal recalls.

He also says he started collecting old photos of the earlier years of Mount Charleston Lodge when he started working there as a janitor in 1961.

“When I graduated from Las Vegas High School, it was an opportunity to learn to become a bartender,” adds Stodal.

He says Mount Charleston as a recreational facility really began in 1905 after E.W. Griffith and his family created Griffith’s camp, which over the years expanded into a dude ranch, where people would stay to get their divorce.

“Dude ranches were really just a place you could spend your six weeks, residency in Las Vegas,” Stodal says.

At one point it was known as Charleston Park, then it became known as the Charleston Park Lodge and Casino.

Another name the casino was also known as was the Ponderosa.

“Post World War II that the Frontier Hotel leased the entire hotel, they were successful, because they knew how to run a hotel and casino and take care of visitors and that was in 1948, they operated it for a while and then there was a change of hands,” he recalls.

Through all that, Las Vegas was drawn to the wonderfulness of Mount Charleston.

But in 1961, a fire destroyed the lodge, and at the time it was owned by the Hacienda resort owners in Las Vegas, who were determined to rebuild.

In 1962, construction soon began and several years later, the restaurant and lounge were added.

In 1974, the Orcutt family then took over operations, and in 1994 added over a dozen cabins to the location.

In 2018, it was sold to the Ellis family, which also owned the Ellis Island Casino in Las Vegas.

Many local residents and visitors have fond memories of the lodge.

If you would like to share pictures and memories, you can do so by emailing them to: PIX@8NEWSNOW.COM

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