If you grew up in Las Vegas in the 1980s (like me), two things were a must. Wayne Newton and his huge 40-acre ranch called Casa de Shenandoah were one of them. To be sure, back when Newton acquired the property and built his resort, the property at the corner of Pecos Road and Sunset Road was in the boonies. Now it is in one of the most developed areas of the city. However, this is not a story about the rapid growth of Las Vegas since 1980, it is a story about the fascinating history of Wayne Newton’s version of Neverland, his home, the Casa de Shenandoah. As a kid, we loved taking a route past Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah to see if we could spot any of his precious Arabian horses or the zebras or giraffes that were rumored to also be living in his resort complex. nearly 40 acres. What we didn’t know at the time was the crazy history of the estate or what was going to happen between 1981 and 2019, when he finally unloaded the property at a very low price.
In 1966, Wayne Newton, then 24, purchased five acres of dusty desert located about 10 to 15 minutes southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. When he bought the first five acres, they were vacant. Over the next year he had a stable and a corral built. Newton lived in a guest house on the grounds with his parents, brother and sister-in-law. In 1968, his new wife, Elaine, moved in. Between 1969 and 1972, Newton acquired more land to increase his property to nearly 40 acres. He parked his Lear Jet on the property, although McCarran International Airport is located just 10 minutes west of the Newton Ranch.
Newton raised Arabian horses on the ranch in the 1970s. In 1973, he added two more houses and a horse hospital to the property. In 1976, 120 Arabian horses lived at the Casa de Shenandoah. That same year, Newton began work on a new home on the property – a $ 4 million (today’s $ 18 million) – southern-style mansion that Newton himself designed. The house was supposed to be a replica of Tara’s Gone with the Wind plantation. Elaine Newton decorated every room in the house except Newton’s office, nicknamed the “Red Room,” with red velvet walls, where he conducted interviews. Newton also stored his extensive collection of Rolls-Royces and the 1928 Duesenberg that once belonged to Howard Hughes, on the property. Eight houses dot the property.
In 1979, Newton and his parents were living at the Casa de Shenandoah with about 70 staff. Deer, ducks, wallabies, peacocks and swans also roamed the property freely. The Casa de Shenandoah was protected by a white cinder block wall about seven feet high. Still, Las Vegans regularly let their pets – especially rabbits – fall over the wall, believing it to be an animal sanctuary rather than Newton’s house. Newton also kept penguins and sloths on his property. He built a huge bird cage to hold over 100 types of avian creatures. He also had his own jet terminal and a runway for his private plane. Presumably, he was able to use the air traffic control tower at the nearby airport for his take-offs and landings.
Newton’s finances have been hit over the past few decades and have really slipped during the economic downturn that began in 2008. In 2010, he left Casa de Shenandoah in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. He sold the ranch to a development company in 2010 for $ 19.5 million and retained a 20% stake. The idea at the time was to transform the Casa de Shenandoah into a theme park. However, over the decades Las Vegas developed around the once remote Newton ranch, and the neighborhoods around the property weren’t interested in the increased traffic and noise that a theme park would bring. Even though the city approved Newton’s plans, its neighbors derailed it, adding to the list of lawsuits, money issues and poor planning the property has faced since Newton sold a stake in this one in 2010. The development company he partnered with, CSD, LLC, went bankrupt and the Casa de Shenandoah was put back on the market.
La Casa de Shenandoah hit the market again for $ 70 million in the fall of 2013. It was the most expensive house for sale in Las Vegas at the time. It ultimately sold for $ 5.56 million in July 2019. However, the Casa de Shenandoah drama doesn’t end there. Newton and his second wife went to court to try and get some of Newton’s personal belongings, including Jack Benny’s violin, Nat King Cole’s watch, and Jackie Gleason’s pool cue. Newton argued that the items inside his old home belonged to him, not the new owner of the property. The owners of Casa de Shenandoah believe Newton’s personal items and collectibles are part of the sale. Newton argued that he was allowed to leave his things there in the partnership agreement with the previous owner. Newton ultimately won this battle and he was allowed to remove his personal items and collectibles from his old domain.
Where does Wayne Newton live now? Mr. Las Vegas just moved down Casa Street from Shenandoah to a 9,145 square foot home he bought for $ 3 million in May 2019. He also bought the adjacent 10-acre property about a month or so over. late. Is Newton amassing land for another Shenandoah Cabin? Only time will tell…