Norma Jeane by Jasgur

1946 | Marilyn in Vegas

A New Chapter for Norma Jeane

Vegas twice in one year is… a lot(of fun).🎲

We didn’t intend to have a Vegas pt.2, but Glitter Gulch called us back. We bought tickets to the Steve Martin & Martin Short show and one of them got sick in September so the show was rescheduled to December. Yes, we paid double. Yes, I lost more $$ on the slots. Yes, it was still fun. No, I don’t have that kind of money. Yes, I will go again (not this year).

When I was in Vegas a few months ago, I mapped out as many Marilyn sites as possible and crammed them into a weekend. It was nice being back again to double-check my research and learn some new things.

Last time, I thought the Federal Court House was the court where Norma Jeane filed for divorce from James Dougherty. This building is now the Mob Museum, so I went to check it out with full confidence that Marilyn had been there. 😂 Spoilers: I was WRONG.

As we walked around, I kept telling the people who worked there “Marilyn was divorced in this building!” Then one extremely kind historian and guide gently told me that divorces took place at the County Courthouse, not the Federal Court. She then went to do some research for me and came back with so much helpful information! I’ve never been so happy to be corrected and get the right info.

Many websites incorrectly label the Federal Court as the County Court. The Federal Court saw high-profile cases, including Mob hearings (which adds a super interesting element to the museum).

The courthouse history in Las Vegas can be confusing – there have been many redesigns! Here is what I found out about the actual court where Norma Jeane was divorced:

A temporary Las Vegas Courthouse was built in 1909. This became a library when the permanent court was built.

In 1914, architect Frederic DeLongchamps designed what would be the “permanent” County Court. This is the building Norma Jeane would have filed for divorce from Jimmie in 1946. It has very similar elements to the Federal Court building (built in 1930)

In 1959/60, the “permanent” (nothing is permanent) County Courthouse was added onto and then demolished. Below is an aerial photo of that transition.

Norma Jeane & James’ divorce papers.
C. Norman Cornwall, Esq. – Norma Jeane’s divorce attorney

Today, the spot where Norma Jeane was divorced is now the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.

Case closed! Another historic building torn down and lost to history. Even though it’s not the spot I was looking for, the 1930’s Federal Court is a cool building. I recommend checking out the Mob Museum, unrelated to Marilyn’s time in Vegas.

It also served as the post office at the time, so it’s entirely possible she mailed a letter there.🤷🏻‍♀️

For more about Las Vegas in the 1940’s and what it would have looked like when Marilyn visited, here is a documentary I found on YT!


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