Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 | 7:22 a.m.
Frank Scott's life was a Horatio Alger story for Las Vegas.
His rags-to-riches tale began in 1936, when his father, a railroad storehouse keeper, moved his family to Southern Nevada. That same year, Scott dropped out of Las Vegas High School and got a job at Berkeley Bunker's Fifth Street Texaco Station.
As he checked oil and pumped gasoline, 16-year-old Scott dreamed of the future. One of his dreams would become a casino on the spot where Las Vegas was founded - the old Union Pacific Railroad depot at Main and Fremont streets - a stone's throw from the shop where his father would work for years.
The Union Plaza opened downtown on July 2, 1971.
Frank E. Scott, who also was a Las Vegas bank chairman, Nevada Power director and president of the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Resort Association, died Wednesday in Las Vegas of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was two days shy of his 86th birthday.
Services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Palm Mortuary, 1325 N. Main St. A graveside service will follow at that location. There will be no viewing.
"Dad was a pioneer and a visionary," daughter Elizabeth "Liz" Foremaster of Sacramento said. "He had a keen ability to grasp a concept then build on it.
"And he was a curious, caring and personable man. He knew all of his employees by their first names, from the cleaning girls to the chef."
Scott's partners in the Union Plaza venture were the late U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon and gaming pioneers Jackie Gaughan, J.K. Houssels Jr. and the late Sam Boyd.
Scott served as president and chief operating officer of the Union Plaza from 1973 to 1983, overseeing its $50 million expansion in 1981 that gave the 26-story resort more than 1,100 rooms.
"It feels like a 10-ton truck has been taken off my shoulders ... (but) I'm going to miss this beautiful old lady," Scott said when he stepped down from running the day-to-day operations of the resort that today is called the Plaza. It was sold in 2004 to Barrick Gaming.
Born Feb. 24, 1920, in Los Angeles, Scott began to build his business empire after returning to Las Vegas after World War II. He had served as a second lieutenant in the Army in Japan.
In 1947 Scott went to work for Tommy Roberts at Roberts Roof and Floor Covering. Two years later, Scott and Roberts' brother Joe Roberts purchased the company, which became one of the largest of its kind in Las Vegas.
In the 1950s and '60s, Scott opened a wholesale building material company, operated a fixed-base aircraft operation and founded Stocks Ready-Mix Concrete.
In the early 1970s, Scott, as chairman of First Western Savings Association, was credited with saving the bank from a $100 million debt and near-financial ruin by recruiting late Air Force Gen. R.G. "Zack" Taylor as president and hiring other key personnel who turned the operation around.
In 1976 Scott and late Sun photographer Frank Maggio bought the historic Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah and spent $4 million refurbishing it and bringing it up to fire and building codes. Scott later sold his interest in the 98-year-old hotel that is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
In 1983 Scott was named co-Convention Man of the Year by the Hotel Sales Management Association's Las Vegas Chapter, sharing the honor with entertainer Frank Sinatra.
Scott served 18 years on the Nevada State Contractors Board, including a stint as its chairman, was president of the Nevada Development Authority and was a member of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board.
Scott was at one time or another a board member of the local Boy Scouts chapter, a UNLV trustee, a captain of the Sheriff's Mounted Posse and a board member of the Nevada Museum of Fine Arts.
In addition to his daughter, Scott is survived by two sons, R. Lane Scott of Newport Beach, Calif., and Dr. Richard Scott of Las Vegas; a brother, Floyd Scott of St. George, Utah; a sister, Alice Reed of Las Vegas; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Ed Koch can be reached at 259-4090 or at [email protected]