Which of These Sci-Fi Ships Was Once Slated for a Full-Size Replica in Las Vegas?
Answer: The USS Enterprise
In the early 1990s, there was a huge push by the Las Vegas redevelopment committee to boost crowds in the downtown area. To that end, they held a competition calling for a major attraction that would draw in tourists and flood the downtown area with visitors for the hotels and casinos alike.
The forerunner in the contest was a life-size 1:1 scale replica of the famous Star Trek starship, the USS Enterprise. The finished project, proposed by the Goddard Group design firm, would be roughly as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall, taller than many of the buildings in Vegas, and would house everything from restaurants to live shows to tours of key areas and stations on the actual USS Enterprise itself (all fully fleshed out and to scale, of course).
The redevelopment committee loved the idea and Paramount Pictures appeared to be on board with the plan. Around 1992, it looked like it was full steam ahead with the project until the CEO of Paramount Studios, Stanley Jaffe, put the brakes on. He contrasted the building to a movie and explained that if Paramount makes a bad Star Trek film, then audiences eventually forgive and forget and they get a chance to make a new and better one. But if they built a giant monument to Star Trek in Las Vegas and it ended up being a hideous eyesore or a flop, then it would be there forever.
While he may not have been wrong, he did tank one of the more ambitious projects that Las Vegas has seen and, at the same time, broke the hearts of Star Trek fans everywhere. For the curious, the contest went forward without the USS Enterprise and the end result was the Fremont Street Experience: an attraction that revitalized “old Vegas” and drew in tourists to the original Vegas strip on Fremont St.
Image courtesy of the Goddard Group.