What better way to start off vacation photos than with a trip through my "backyard". A nod, right off the bat, to the latest Las Vegas iconic casino to close (just this past week) - the old downtown Las Vegas Club Casino. Disclaimer up front, these have all been color enhanced a wee bit - these old signs screamed "circus sideshow feel" to me the other day, so I breathed just a tad of life back into them. Beautiful on their own, these faded beauties made me smile with the added "oomph" to their old colors - I do love color! This will be a two-part post - "Field Trip Friday" will follow...on Friday, of course.
If you're in Vegas (or you live here and don't get out much), this is one of the BEST attractions outside of the glitz and glamour of the casinos - the signs that lead many TO the glitz and glamour INSIDE the casinos. Two acres (it's all outdoors, so plan accordingly - umbrellas and water are HIGHLY recommended) and 150+ old rescued neon signs, ranging from the recognizable Las Vegas landmarks, to restaurants, to a duck from a used car dealership. It's where old signs go to die...and hopefully find new life at the hands of some great restorative workmanship. The giant Silver Slipper is one of eight, so far, placed at various spots along downtown Las Vegas Boulevard.
The lobby from the original La Concha Hotel was moved in 2006, from it's location on the Las Vegas Strip, to serve as the museum's Visitor Center. Originally built in 1961, it's the perfect example of the space-age/atomic craze of the time (THE "Bomb" had its beginnings here in the Vegas desert. Vegas also houses The National Atomic Testing Museum, which is quite something to see, too). Tours are all docent guided, and all start through these doors. The upper right neon sign was from the original facade at Binion's Horseshoe Casino.
One of the original downtown casinos - the Golden Nugget, built in 1946.
It is thought that the 1905 reference above the big golden nugget is to the year Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.
The La Concha sign traveled with the original lobby. Large pink feather from The Flamingo, resting in front of the old Fox Theater sign. The remaining letters from the Moulin Rouge Casino are bottom right.
So many memories down this lane - Stardust, Showboat, Sahara, Sassy Sally's - all visible remnants. The City Center Motel sign leads me to wonder if the NOW City Center complex wasn't named for this, exactly! And the lower right is, obviously, the "money shot"!
Two of the more "old school" memories - Binion's Horseshoe and The Stardust signs.
In addition to the "big guns" of Las Vegas neon, are the smaller motels and restaurants. It's amazing to me just how much of the original neon tubing, and how many of the light bulbs have actually lasted, intact, over all these years (and moves).
The Minima sign was in front of a roadside truck-stop - offering free aspirin and "tender mercies" for those leaving town (the amount of free aspirin given away was staggering). The "Color TV" sign made me smile - SUCH a big deal in the motels at one time...something we take for granted now.
Neon letters - I go back in a few weeks, and have promised myself an entire alphabet. This was my third trip through - ten years ago were the first two treks. Ten years ago, this was housed in a LARGE, fenced, vacant lot with knee-high weeds, broken glass, and a seriously different vibe, though WAY fabulous. Today, you walk with your head up and not looking down at what you are stepping on, through some seriously well thought-out display areas. My fine-arts grad daughter even commented on the great shadows being cast by the structures that day, along with the obvious visual overload.
This trip was spent with two of my favorite girls...my daughter Jaci (pronounced "Jackie"), and her cousin (my niece), Jessi. Lots of photo ops here, along with some great history on the signs AND the town itself - the docents are well versed. A little more about the park itself on Friday, but you can click here
If you want to go, and are facing incredible daytime heat (we are STILL in triple digits - I was watching last night, and at 9:00 p.m., it was 99 degrees), shoot for the morning hours. If the heat doesn't bother you (it's not this hot ALL year round - just most of it), you're "in like Flynn! Take that water - take that umbrella - make your reservations in advance, as they are selling out weeks in advance - yes, it's that cool!