Featured Image Credit: LV Wedding Connection
Up until now, our Home Spotlight blog series has covered properties that still exist. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the subject of this Home Spotlight… the granddaddy of all Las Vegas mansions: Hartland Mansion. Up until 2022, it was a looming piece of vibrant Las Vegas history. And then… well, we’ll get to that.
Building the Biggest of All Las Vegas Mansions
It was in the 1940s when construction began on two properties at the corner of 6th Street and Park Paseo. Situated in Downtown Las Vegas, the neighboring homes weren’t too far east from where the city’s Arts District would be established decades later. For a time, these homes remained completely separate structures.
But in the 1970s, these two properties were combined into one massive mansion to trump all other Las Vegas mansions. The looming abode measured at just under 31,000 square feet, boasting eight bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. Well, nine full bathrooms and four half bathrooms to be specific. But it was enough to become the largest private residence ever built in Las Vegas… at least until Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah came along.
The Luminaries Attracted to Hartland Mansion
Even before the structures were combined to create the largest of Las Vegas mansions, the property was attracting America’s elite. Elvis Presley famously laid his head there when he was in town. Marilyn Monroe and Ronald Reagan visited the spot just as Ginger Rogers and Frank Sinatra kicked up their heels between its hallowed walls.
In later years, it was the site of performances from the likes of Willie Nelson and Michael Jackson. Hartland Mansion was even committed to celluloid. It was the site of music videos by Kiss’s Gene Simmons as well as a collaboration between CeeLo Green and the Muppets. In 1995, it joined Las Vegas mansions that had previously graced the silver screen when it appeared in Martin Scorcese’s Casino.
The Christening of Hartland Mansion
But Hartland Mansion didn’t really find its identity (or its name) until the 1980s. That’s when the most lavish of Las Vegas mansions was purchased by Grammy-nominated gospel artist Toni Hart. Over the next seven years, Toni’s family would fully renovate the mansion. It was through these efforts that most of the home’s eccentricities were put into place.
At its peak, Hartland Mansion featured a 35-foot-high domed entry modeled by brothers Larry and Garry Hart to resemble the iconic Dome of the Sea restaurant that once punctuated the Dunes Hotel. Many who visited Hartland Mansion recall this lavish entryway more than any of the property’s other features.
Beyond the entry, guests would find a sweeping curved double staircase. Recounting the classic 1939 film Gone With the Wind, the stairs were the perfect herald for the solid fantasy Hartland Mansion provided. One room was completely devoted to Elvis, remembering the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in all his sparkling glory. Another featured wall-to-wall velvet.
Arguably, the most decadent of the mansion’s rooms was its grandiose party room. Strewn with gilded ornamentation, the room was further distinguished by its large indoor swimming pool and surrounding topiaries. Black contours created visual segments that were overtaken by a floral pattern at the pool’s center. Each room was redolent with the “more is more” approach seemingly inherent to Las Vegas.
The Short Life of Mansion 54
Following the death of his mother and brother, Garry Hart sold Hartland Mansion to Gene Campbell. With his Epic Venues business, he planned to turn one of the oldest Las Vegas mansions into a popular event space. In 2018, he rechristened Hartland Mansion to Mansion 54. Several weddings had been held on the grounds before, but Mansion 54 made these a regular occurrence.
Unfortunately, not regular enough. By 2022, Campbell had put a $4 million price tag on Hartland Mansion. The icon of Las Vegas mansions quickly sold to Lanny Dean Love who had built a fortune from the Adult Superstores chain.
The Sudden Loss of Hartland Mansion
With the purchase of Hartland Mansion, Love now owned 3.6 acres in the neighborhood on the periphery of Las Vegas’s downtown. Yet, there still wasn’t room in Love’s vision for Hartland Mansion as it stood. At the beginning of July 2022, a demolition crew razed the legendary Hartland Manor, much to the horror of its neighbors. Speaking to KTNV Las Vegas, former owner Garry Hart likened the demolition of the mansion to “old Vegas versus new Vegas.”
Plans are still underway for what exactly Love will build at the site of the former Hartland Mansion. Rumors have flitted from hotels and casinos to mixed use high rises. But, since we’re primarily interested in Las Vegas homes, the tale more or less ends here. It seems that not everything that happens in Vegas stays there after all.