Sahara Ave History

San Francisco Avenue becomes Sahara Ave

The History of Sahara Avenue Las Vegas

Early on


The road was originally called San Francisco Avenue and served as the southern city limit for Las Vegas.

In the 1960s, city planners envisioned construction of an expressway along Sahara to Rainbow Boulevard.

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) removed SR 589 from its maintenance logs by the beginning of 2019,[2] and has begun the process of turning ownership of the roadway over to the City of Las Vegas and Clark County.[3]

A Story from the Las Vegas Sun 1962

Sahara next to seek its name on a road

Hank Greenspun

Thursday, Nov. 15, 1962 | midnight

In yesterday’s column, we did attempt to outline some of the major road changes in the county for the past 10 years. Hotels with some degree of influence have succeeded in being honored by having major roads named after their establishments.

The first to set the pattern was the Desert Inn which not only succeeded in influencing a name change but also in having the road turned so as not to interfere with their parking lot.

We now have four county roads named after hotels which does inspire hopes of similar recognition in the breasts of less recognized hotel owners.

Such ambition did prompt the Sahara Hotel to petition the ruling Fathers of the City and County to obliterate San Francisco from our county and city rolls and in its stead substitute a name which perhaps lends itself more appropriately to the motif of the desert.

Milton Prell and the other Sahara executives would also like to see the name “Sahara” memorialized just as “Desert Inn,” “Sands,” “Riviera” and “Tropicana” have achieved.

San Francis is a major artery running alongside the Sahara Hotel and what is left of El Rancho Vegas.

The name change has been pending since last February for there has been violent objection on the part of El Rancho Vegas and its owner, Beldon Katleman.

I could understand such opposition for Mr. Katleman’s attorney did point out that El Rancho is the oldest hotel in the town and if any names should be honored, his should be the first on the list.

The Sahara has countered with the argument that El Rancho no longer exists while they are very much in existence and becoming more so every day. They also list vast contributions to the city, country and state which is a valid argument.

It is not my purpose to take sides in the dispute between Katleman and the Prell forces for we could not be less concerned with what we consider trivialities. We do admit, however, that it is of major significance to the hotels involved.

What is difficult to understand is the opposition of hotels who already boast of highways and roads named after them?

A spokesman for the Desert Inn told the commissioners that the Sahara would benefit from free advertising on the Freeway from signs calling attention to Sahara Ave. He did not tell the commissioners that his hotel has had such an advantage for the past 10 years.

The Desert Inn spokesman offered to relinquish the name of Desert Inn Road which extends fro the Strip to the Boulder Highway if all the hotels would give up their claim to posterity by having streets named after them.

The Riviera spokesman, Benny Goffstein, also offered to relinquish his road name on the basis that the entire street is no longer than a mediocre mashie shot. Benny might have something but he was successful in the past I promoting a name change wand with additional influence could have the street extended to Boulder Highway by tearing down the Convention Hall.

It should not be too difficult as the county commissioners are usually anxious to oblige casino owners who contribute much to the welfare of the community.

What seems to be the basis of much opposition to changing San Francisco to Sahara Ave. is the amount of trouble involved in the name change. How much more confusion could result from changing four roads back to their original names as proposed by the hotels who object to Sahara Avenue.

And if their names should stand, would it not be discriminatory to refuse equal status to the Sahara or El Rancho or both.

In fairness to the Sahara and their request for a name change has been approved by the county planning commission, the city planning commission and the city commission. All that remains is county commission approval and all parties would be most naive if they, in any way, discounted Desert Inn influence on this August body.

The fact that the Sahara would have some slight advantage in its street extending to the Freeway can be attributed to the foresight of Milton Prell who many years ago foresaw the possibility of having a freeway access route located on San Francisco Ave. and accordingly built his hotel on the site.

I think all opposition from Strip hotel owners to the Sahara name change would dissolve if the Desert Inn could also have an access route from the Freeway to their hotel, with a sign on the Freeway proclaiming “Desert Inn Road.’’ It shouldn’t involve too much difficulty other than tearing down the New Frontier Hotel and one or two housing and industrial developments in the line of access.

I feel certain the D.I. has sufficient influence to accomplish it and perhaps that would solve the problem.

This newspaper is not taking sides nor are we for or against changing street names to match every hotel on the Strip.

All we ask out of the whole deal is to change the name of Main Street to SUN Alley. But we have no “juice’’ so I’ve already forgotten the whole thing.

Francisco Park Homes by Pardee Timeline

It begins with San Francisco Street…

The southern area of Las Vegas known as Meadows Village had streets named after other major United States cities: New York, Chicago, St Louis, Cleveland, Cincinatti, Baltimore, and San Francisco! State Route 589 (SR 589), which is now known as Sahara, was originally known as San Francisco Avenue. It established the southernmost boundary of Las Vegas city limits. Other streets in county lands were named after the property owners or destinations of the streets. However, it became a trend for major streets to be re-named after the major casinos on their corners:

(San) Francisco Park

Francisco Park began in 1954 with the first duplex tract. It was developed over a period of years, in multiple phases with additional subdivisions between 1956 and 1972… This was long after the Francisco street name had changed to Sahara around 1962. But the development had such success and received good will and good publicity, so the next ten years, developers Pardee Phillips continued to use the Francisco Park name that the populace knew and loved.

Francisco Park 1954

~ affectionately known as the highly desirable “Francisco Park Square” or Francisco Square for short.
East of Eastern and North of Sahara in the City of Las Vegas

One of our Own John Fish Jewelers was in San Francisco Sqaure

In 1959, John Fish Jewelers moved to Francisco Square on the northwest corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. They did business with locals and celebrities alike including Elvis, Liberace, and Fats Domino.  Also taking up residence in Francisco Square was Vintage Joe Julian Liquors Bar, Miss Bobbie’s Dress Shop. However, the place that probably most put Francisco Square really on the map was 1959 Garwood Van’s MUSICLAND: “The Record Shop of the Stars.”