A view of the Bird Cage Casino with the Mint and the Boulder Club during what was probably a Helldorado Day parade.
Notice that this was before construction of the Mint tower and today this whole block is Binion's.
The Bird Cage and Binions corner 50 years apart
Bird Cage Las Vegas Matchbook
Bird Cage Casino in Downtown Las Vegas 1958-1959
Bird Cage Casino in Downtown Las Vegas 1958-1959 swizzle stick
Bird Cage Casino in Downtown Las Vegas 1958-1959 matchbook matchcover
Chips from the Bird Cage Casino in Downtown Las Vegas 1958-1959
On June 26, 1957, the application by Steward R. Kennard, Jr. and Maurice W. Fortney for a gaming license for the new Bird Cage Casino was deferred by the members of the state gaming commission.   {Reno Evening Gazette  June 27, 1957, page 19}
Steward R. Kennard, Jr. and Maurice W. Fortney, described in an article as “California bakers”, again applied  for a gaming license for the Bird Cage Casino.       {Nevada State Journal  Nov, 20, 1957 Page 22}
Nevada’s gaming control board today recommended a license for the new $600,000 Bird Cage Casino on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. It is expected to open about January 1, 1958. Approved for the license were Steward R. Kennard, Jr. and Maurice W. Fortney, both former Los Angeles bakers and Stanley W. McDonald and Leonard D. Marks, both of Las Vegas.
{Reno Evening Gazette  Nov. 21, 1957, page 21}
A new major downtown Vegas casino was recommended last week for a Nevada gambling license by the state gaming control board. Operators of the Bird Cage at First and Fremont Streets told the board they planned to invest $600,000 in the operation including a $218,000 for a bankroll.
Maurice W. Fortney and Stewart R. Kennard formerly of Los Angeles, said they would operate 7 games and 102 slot machines.  The casino is  scheduled to open about Jan. 1, 1958
Also listed on the license but presently without financial interests were Stanley W. McDonald, the casino manager, and Leonard D. Marxen, the auditor.
{Nevada State Journal  Nov 24, 1957 Page 23}

100 Fremont

Las Vegas, NV


Bird Cage Casino

   Jan 1, 1958 to April 30, 1959

The Bird Cage closed (temporarily) Nov 20, 1958 about 11 months after it opened on January 1, 1958.
Earl Johnson, manager of the club, denied that financial matters forced the club to close. He said that the club planned to remodel “to give Las Vegas an entirely new type of club”.
{Reno Evening Gazette  Nov. 20, 1958, page 38}
Less than a month later on December 19, 1958, the operators of the Bird Cage appeared before city commissioners looking to get three more Keno games licensed. At the time they were only approved for one Keno game.  The commissioners were reluctant to act immediately saying that “the idea might cause a disturbance among local gamblers” and they postponed a decision.
{Reno Evening Gazette  Dec. 19, 1958, page 2}

The beginning of the end for the Bird Cage

The answer to their request for three additional Keno games came in about a month. Despite pleas from employees of the property who appeared before city commissioners,  it was a ‘no’ to more Keno games for the struggling casino.  One backer claimed that without the additional play from the extra Keno games the casino would fold.  Commissioners felt that they “did not want to open the door for any new fads.”       {Nevada State Journal  Jan 13, 1959.  Page 2}
The lack of business was sited by the owners of the Bird Cage, as the closed the doors on April 30, 1959 for the last time.   Maurice Fortney said that they were not bankrupt but that a lack of business did not warrant keeping the business open. The other owner, Steward R. Kennard, Jr. said that about 25 employees were let go.
{Reno Evening Gazette  April 30, 1959, page 32}
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This is a non-commercial, educational, hobby site. Images on this site are from our personal collection and from personal collections of fellow enthusiasts who have shared their scans with us.  Other images are noted by source with links to the original.  If you feel that any image used here has infringed upon fair use of an image you hold the copyright to, please contact us at the links above and it will be credited or removed at your request. 
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TCR numbers are used by express permission of SSS Publishing publishers of The Chip Rack.
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