Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Although their work has been on display for some time along the eastern end of Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, the Neon Museum itself just opened up a few months ago on North Las Vegas Boulevard.

Located on the right hand side as you approach Cashman Field (where the Las Vegas 51s minor league team plays), the Neon Museum is sure to catch your eye.

The museum building itself is actually the old La Concha Motel building that was renovated and moved from its South Las Vegas Strip site to its current location after it closed in 2003. It has a futuristic look, thanks to architect Paul Williams (no, not the old country singer), who built it as an example of the Googie architectural style so popular in the 1950s. Both the exterior and the interior greeting area mirror the Jetsons look.

I’d gone there during my December visit to Sin City, with the thought of buying my ticket and wandering around looking at stuff. Nope, they don’t allow that. What you need to do is get on one of their one-hour guided tours through what they call the “Boneyard,” where pieces of famous signs are stored.

It’s like a walk through old Las Vegas, with lots of memories dredged up as you meander amongst the signs. Well, “meander” is not a good word, you need to stick to the path, stopping occasionally to listen to the docent weave interesting tales about the signs, their establishments and owners, a lot of history made fascinating and actually exciting.

There were a few of us who were photo buffs, and we kind of lagged behind at times as we shot picture after picture of the relics. In and of themselves, they’re just broken pieces of stuff. But like I said, if you remember Las Vegas over the past 50 years or so, you’ll recognize many of the signs and they’ll evoke images of experiences you’ve had and sights you’ve seen on your visits to this desert oasis.

Moulin Rouge Sign Reconfigured to Read "in love"

The Yucca Motel
The Stardust Hotel & Casino

The Sahara Hotel & Casino

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