Video Vault | The colorful history of the Glass Pool Inn
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
A fabulous, futuristic home in the south valley is up for sale if you are interested. But what strikes a chord with many more people is the story behind its owners.
Allen Rosoff's family acquired a small piece of land in the early 1950s near present day Russell and Las Vegas Boulevard, which was then a long way from the nearest hotel and casino.
"So my parents and my uncle decided they had to have something to attract attention," says Rosoff. "In those years, there weren't too many homes that had pools."
And so the family went about designing and constructing a motel which featured an above-ground pool with windows clearly visible from the road that was then called Highway 91.
"They wanted to build a pool above. And be in a position to attract attention. And that's exactly what it did."
Today, Rosoff and his wife, Susie, have a swimming pool in their living room, along with several other amenities which make their home unique. Back then, the idea of an above-ground pool with windows presented serious engineering challenges.
"You had the electrolysis, you had steel windows," enumerates Rosoff. "Brass fittings in there. Aluminum in a couple of other areas, besides your regular plaster and gunite."
The called it The Mirage. And over the decades, you've seen it in numerous movies, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
There was trouble in 1987, when a casino on Flamingo just west of Paradise changed its name.
"The former Ambassador Hotel and Casino is getting a face-lift and new owners," reported News 3's Teresa Luce at the time.
"They named it La Mirage," says Rosoff. "And that's when we got into a lawsuit."
The Rosoffs had won the case and the La Mirage was appealing, when the matter became moot in 1988 as casino mogul Steve Wynn contacted both properties.
"And he called me on the phone and he says, 'I want to buy your name.' I've never sold a business name," says Rosoff. "I have no clue what he's talking about."
Wynn paid off the litigants to the tune of $350,000 each and took the name for his new mega-resort which opened in 1989. It wasn't hard to come up with a replacement.
"How did it get its name?" asked News 3's Kurt Goff a couple of years later while strolling down to the main feature. "I'll give you one guess. It has something to do with uh ... yeah. The glass pool. It gives new meaning to the phrase life in a fishbowl."
Rosoff had no complaints in the early 1990s when one of his bartenders added monthly bikini photo shoots.
Business was booming in the early 1990s when News 3 ran a profile of the property.
"It's probably a reservation, but we'll answer it later," laughed Rosoff to a News 3 reporter as the phone rang in the background.
But in 1999, the Rosoffs sensed change on the way for Las Vegas, and sold the Glass Pool Inn.
"It was in a sense still its peak of recognition," says Rosoff today. "Which is the best time to walk away from it."
Today, it's the Rosoffs' residence sometimes used as an exotic location for film and video work, with its Star Trek doors, retractable skylight and sunken living room swimming pool.
"We've had quite a number of commercials filmed here."
The Glass Pool Inn operated a couple of more years after the Rosoffs sold it. The structure was demolished in 2003 to make way for a condo tower that never materialized.