Guy McAfee

Guy McAfee (1888–1960) was an American law enforcement officer and businessman. Born in Kansas and orphaned in early childhood, he became a firefighter in Los Angeles, California and later served as the head of the vice squad of the Los Angeles Police Department. He was the owner of brothels and gambling saloons, with ties to organized crime in the 1930s. He co-founded casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada in the 1940s and 1950s. He is credited as the first person to refer to Las Vegas Boulevard as the Las Vegas Strip, after Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip.[1]

Guy McAfee
BornAugust 19, 1888
DiedJanuary 20, 1960(1960-01-20) (aged 71)
ResidenceBiltmore Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
OccupationPoliceman, businessman
Spouse(s)3, including June Brewster
Children2 daughters

Early life

Guy McAfee was born on August 19, 1888 in Winfield, Kansas.[2][3] He became an orphan in childhood.[3]


McAfee began his career as a firefighter in Los Angeles, California.[3] He subsequently served as the head of the vice squad of the Los Angeles Police Department.[2] At the same time, he was the owner of gambling "saloons and brothels and had ties to organized crime."[2] He was also the manager of the Clover Club, an upmarket club on the Sunset Strip.[3] He became known as the "Capone of LA".[4] When Judge Fletcher Bowron was elected as the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles on a platform to rid Los Angeles of prostitution, gambling and narcotics in 1938,[2] McAfee moved to Las Vegas, Nevada within a year.[5][6]

In 1939, McAfee acquired the Pair O'Dice Club on Highway 91 (the future Las Vegas Boulevard) and renamed it the 91 Club,[3] and the Frontier Club,[7][8] downtown Las Vegas. Meanwhile, with Milton B. Page, McAfee managed the El Rancho, another casino.[9] He was a co-founder of the Pioneer Club in 1942. Three years later he announced plans to build the Golden Nugget, downtown Las Vegas, which opened in 1946. McAfee was president of Golden Nugget from 1952 until his retirement in 1960.[10]

McAfee was also a real estate investor in California. For example, he was the co-proprietor of the Chapman Building in Fullerton, California alongside N. Morty Bernstein in 1949, which he leased to the American Red Cross.[11]

With Jake Kozloff and Beldon Katleman, McAfee acquired the Frontier Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in 1951.[12][13] They acquired it from Bill Moore for US$5.5 million.[14]

McAfee named the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas after the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.[2][15][16]

McAfee was a co-founder of the unincorporated place of Paradise, Nevada near Las Vegas.[2] It was established as a tax shelter for casinos.[2]

Personal life

McAfee resided at the Biltmore Hotel, a luxury hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.[4] He was married three times.[3] With his first wife Eva, he had a daughter, Alice.[3] He married his second wife, June Brewster, in 1936.[17][18] She filed for divorce in 1941.[17][18] His third wife, Kathleen, was the owner of a brothel in Los Angeles.[3] He adopted her daughter, Kathleen Elizabeth McAfee.[3] They resided in Beverly Hills, California.[19] In 1950, their house burned down; the fire was not deemed suspicious.[19]


McAfee died in January 1960 after a surgery at the Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center.[3][20] He was 71.[20]


  1. Lillisview, Maggie (6 June 2011). ""Guy McAfee credited with branding the Strip"". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. "Las Vegas: An Uncontentional History. People & Events: Guy McAfee (1888-1960)". PBS. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  3. Lillisview, Maggie (June 7, 2011). "Guy McAfee credited with branding the Strip". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  4. Viehe, Fred W. (Winter 1980). "The Recall of Mayor Frank L. Shaw: A Revision". California History. 59 (4): 291. JSTOR 25158002.
  5. "Gambling Mogul Makes Nevada Headquarters. Guy McAfee Doing Business at Las Vegas; Los Angeles Not To His Liking Currently". The San Bernardino County Sun. June 2, 1939. p. 5. Retrieved March 5, 2016 via
  6. Moehring, Eugene P. (2000). Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930-2000. Reno, Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780874171471. OCLC 19739921.
  7. Staff writer(s) (7 March 1939). "Film Star's Wife, Lured by Sunshine, Sports, Scenic Wonders Seen As Pied Piper for Nation's Top-Flight Divorce Colony". Evening Review-Journal. Las Vegas.
  8. Staff writer(s) (10 May 1939). "New Frontier Club To Open Tomorrow". Evening Review-Journal. Las Vegas.
  9. Harnisch, Larry (April 11, 2012). "Ruler of an L.A. gambling empire had a softer side". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2016. In the 1940s, apparently weary of the continual police attention, Page left for Nevada, running El Rancho Vegas, the first major casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip, with longtime Los Angeles gambling figure Guy McAfee. "He was a strange guy," Milton says of the former LAPD vice officer turned casino executive.
  10. "The Las Vegas Golden Years" (PDF) (Press release). Golden Nugget. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  11. "Fullerton Tenants Get Free Rent In Freeze". The Fresno Bee. Fresno, California. January 25, 1949. p. 4. Retrieved March 5, 2016 via
  12. "Major News Events in Nevada in 1951 Listed in Summary: August". Reno Gazette. Reno, Nevada. January 1, 1952. p. 7. Retrieved March 4, 2016 via Guy McAfee, Jake Kozloff and Belton Katelman bought the Last Frontier hotel on the Las Vegas strip.
  13. "Hotel Last Frontier In Las Vegas Sold". The San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino, California. August 24, 1951. p. 9. Retrieved March 4, 2016 via The state tax commission has approved transfer of the license to Guy McAfee, Jake Kozloff, both major stockholders of the Golden Nugget casino, and Beldon Katelman, owner of the hotel El Rancho Vegas.
  14. Wright, Frank (2005). Nevada Yesterdays: Short Looks at Las Vegas History. Las Vegas, Nevada: Stephens Press. p. 104. ISBN 9781932173277. OCLC 60708529.
  15. "A Century Later, Vegas Looks Back". Ukiah Daily Journal. Ukiah, California. May 15, 2005. p. 3. Retrieved March 4, 2016 via
  16. Sheehan, Jack (1997). The Players: The Men who Made Las Vegas. Reno, Nevada: University of Nevada Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780874174557. OCLC 45732264.
  17. "June Brewster to sue". The Nebraska State Journal. Lincoln, Nebraska. May 22, 1941. p. 7. Retrieved March 5, 2016 via
  18. "June Brewster and Guy M'Afee Part". The Monroe News-Star. Monroe, Louisiana. May 21, 1941. p. 12. Retrieved March 5, 2016 via
  19. "Fire Destroys Gambler's Home. Mrs McAfee Injured Rescuing Daughter". The San Bernardino County Sun. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  20. "Las Vegas Gambling Figure Dies". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz, California. February 22, 1960. p. 11. Retrieved March 4, 2016 via
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