VEGAS MYTHS BUSTED: The Restaurant Atop the Landmark Hotel Revolved

Despite the fond memories shared over the decades by many former visitors – and even some employees – the restaurant atop the Landmark Hotel did not revolve. It was as stationary as the ground 400 feet below it.

Landmark Hotel Las Vegas
Landmark Hotel Las Vegas
The dome atop the Landmark Hotel contained two highly stationary restaurants and two equally stationary lounges. By the way, check out the ‘L’ sign on top of the dome. This will come into play later. (Image: Facebook/Landmark Hotel & Casino)

In fact, there were two restaurants ringing the dome of the Space Needle-like structure – the Sunset Room and the Mandarin Room, as well as a lounge called Club 27  – which would have made moving, 360-degree table service a tad complicated for the staff.

But this Las Vegas myth was pervasive enough for a YouTube channel called Landmark Hotel & Casino to tackle it in 2021. The channel obtained the original blueprints for the tower. They show 32 steel support beams connecting the dome’s main two floors, all along the circumference. They would have impeded a moving platform by the windows, while bathrooms prevented one further back.

Sunset Room at the Landmark Hotel Las Vegas
Sunset Room at the Landmark Hotel Las Vegas
The Sunset Room atop the Landmark Hotel is shown with steel support beams that would have impeded a revolving platform. (Image: YouTube/Landmark Hotel & Casino)

The smaller dome on top of the main dome, also known as the hotel’s 31st floor, housed a second lounge and dance club called the SkyBar. Here, an obstructive stairwell and elevator are what made revolving impossible.

But, just to be certain, the YouTube channel obtained original marketing materials and located newspaper reviews for all the Landmark restaurants and bars. As expected, none mentioned movement of any sort.

Memories undoubtedly conflated the Landmark restaurants with the Top of the World at the Strat, which revolves 360 degrees every 80 minutes. The Strat opened as the Stratosphere in 1996, six years after the Landmark closed and a year after its implosion.

Since this was the shortest busted myth in this series so far, here’s a bonus myth, also about the Landmark…

A Man Flew a Plane into the Landmark to Kill His Wife

Evert Wayne Shaw crash site
Evert Wayne Shaw crash site
The site where a stolen plane crashed into the roof of the Las Vegas Convention Center (foreground), killing pilot Everett Wayne Shaw. The plane had clipped the ‘L’ sign atop the Landmark Hotel (background) and spun out of control. (Image: Las Vegas News Bureau)

For the 1996 movie Mars Attacks, director Tim Burton shot footage of the Landmark’s 1995 implosion to simulate its destruction in an attack by Martians. In real life, an earlier attack on the iconic Vegas Strip structure had been planned and came within a few dozen feet of being carried out.

At 9:25 p.m. on Aug. 2, 1968, a small plane clipped and damaged the “L” sign atop the dome, then crashed into the Las Vegas Convention Center across the street. Only the pilot, Everett Wayne Shaw, 39, died in the crash. According to a note found at his apartment, the crash was a suicide, not an accident.

Shaw, an airplane mechanic who worked at Nevada’s Jean Airport, was inconsolable over the failure of his month-old marriage. So he stole a Cessna 180 belonging to Alan Little, a dealer at the Frontier Hotel, for his fateful mission.

Eyewitnesses reported that the plane pulled upward at the last minute. This strongly suggests that Shaw had intended to crash it into the Landmark’s dome but had a change of heart and clipped the sign by mistake. The move sent him on a death spiral into the Convention Center’s roof.

In the end, it was an accident.

According to the way many people have told this story, Shaw chose the Landmark’s dome because his wife planned to dine in one of the restaurants there that evening – possibly with a lover – and he intended to take her/them out with him.

That part of the story wouldn’t have been possible, though. The Landmark didn’t open to the public until almost a year later, on July 1, 1969.

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