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The Lonnie Hammargren Interview

Lonnie Hammergren

On June 13, Las Vegas lost another one of its unique characters. Thats the day Dr. Lonnie Hammergren passed away.

I’ve been sitting here trying to find a way to pay my respects to this extraordinary man as well as explain what is known as one of our “lost podcasts.” So bear with me.

When Dr. Lonnie passed away, the news was filled with comments from people whose lives were saved by Nevada’s first neurosurgeon. There were also a few comments about his time as our lieutenant governor.

But most of all, the comments were about his house. Actually, it’s houses. Three of them. All filled to the rafters and beyond with Las Vegas, Nevada, and world history artifacts.

Halloween, which was, at the time of the recording, a state holiday. Not because it was Halloween but because that’s the date Nevada became a state. October 31, 1864. (Nevada Day)

Halloween was the one day each year that he opened his homes for people to wander through and admire, giggle, gawk, and whisper funny comments to each other about his eccentric collection.

The joke always was that if you were looking for a piece of Las Vegas history, you try Dr Lonnie’s house first. If it wasn’t there, then you check the museums!

In 2007, Dr. Lonnie wanted to know what people thought of him. He explained that he wanted to hear what others would say about him at his funeral. So he staged a mock funeral and New Orleans-style funeral parade and then lay in an iron lung within a sarcophagus in his garage for an hour.

The Lost Podcast

It was 2006. Sazzy and I had just started The Vegas Tourist Podcast. We were still getting our feet wet learning how to make this all work when the idea was hatched to do an interview.

But who would let some media neophytes interview them? A phone call was made, and he answered it. Telling us, “Come on Over,” he had an hour or two open this afternoon.

What was planned as a one, maybe two-hour interview lasted pretty much the entire afternoon. My wife at the time, KJ, spent the time photographing as much as she could. Unfortunately, those photos were lost in a hard drive crash. Note to self: back everything up!

He was and will always be remembered as one of the kindest, friendliest people I have ever met.

Enjoy our very first podcast.
Dr. Lonnie Hammergren, you will be missed.