Vintage Life

Neon Museum Las Vegas

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The NeonBoneyard or Neon Museum is a complete must see if you happen to be in Las Vegas, in fact if you want a certain day or time, I highly suggest to book 1 month in advance, as this incredible Vegas attraction sells out super quick.

I have been to Las Vegas many times, and the last 2 trips I have had in Vegas, have been the high light of all my adventures in this fascinating town.

It’s super easy to come to Vegas, and miss all the amazing history museums, or not even  think about the history in any form, as Vegas tries to keep you on the main part of the strip, and suck you into it’s spectacle of lights, shows, and bars and giant Casino resort spectacles. Vegas is  designed to indulge you in over the top fun and entertainment, and of course gambling, little time for a history lesson.

Of course just being on the strip you are seeing history, like the Flamingo hotel, a stunning resort built in 1946,  the perfect strip location and still going strong, the hotel itself has a mob history, built by the notorious gangster, Bugsy Siegal and associates.

Point being, when walking down the strip all you see, has a history, and even though most of the original hotels and resorts have been knocked down, its really interesting to try and find out about how this beautiful city in Nevada, and how it came about.

This brings me back to the stunning Neon Boneyard Museum Las Vegas, it embodies import historic parts of Las Vegas history. Set on the outside of the strip, a short walk from the main down town area, you will first see the giant Silver Slipper, which points as a landmark to the grand entrance of the the Neon museum, set in the former La Concha shell lobby, which has also been moved to this museum location.

The Neon Boneyard Museum Las Vegas is beautiful, you can choose to do 1 or 2 tours as the museum has 2 tour areas, the main boneyard, filled with about 150 exhibits, which is ever changing, and then the one being in the north gallery, which plays host to the newish night tour, called “Brilliant” in which specialist technicians have created a lighting spectacle, in which lights are carefully designed, to emulate the original signs, making this a breathtaking experience.

Of course you will get so much from the main boneyard, as you will see the giant signs from great casino’s such as the Stardust, Sahara, and Treasure island, or just simply vintage  neon signs from  burger joints, and so much more.

What makes the Neon Boneyard Museum Las Vegas so enthralling, it allows you to stop and breath in history, think and wonder about those times, that era, the days of the showgirls,   the lifestyle, how people used to dress back in those times, always stylish and smart, no matter day or night, money or not, and ponder the going’s on.

The old neon signs represent a time gone by, that is fascinating and curious, and  it’s important we embrace and learn about history, and Vegas is so rich, so worth a visit.

I suspect the suburbs of Vegas  are full of showgirls and casino staff, with tantalizing stories about the going’s on from yesteryear, fun and shocking maybe, wouldn’t you love to hear about them. Anyway if you have a chance to visit this amazing city, make sure you visit the various museum’s, you won’t regret it, it will only make you feel in love with this amazing city even more.

As they say Viva Las Vegas 🙂

 

 

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A TINY TOUCH OF VEGAS HISTORY

 

A young Mexican scout named Rafael Rivera is credited as the first non-Native American to encounter the valley, in 1829.

Trader Antonio Armijo led a 60-man party along the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, California in 1829.The area was named Las Vegas, which is Spanish for “the meadows,” as it featured abundant wild grasses, as well as the desert spring waters needed by westward travelers. The year 1844 marked the arrival of John C. Frémont, whose writings helped lure pioneers to the area. Downtown Las Vegas’s Fremont Street is named after him.

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1900.    The population of Las Vegas, five years before it is founded as a city, is 22

1905     Las Vegas the city of Las Vegas was officially founded.

1906     Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad built

1909     Las Vegas becomes seat of Clark County

1919     Prohibition is ratified — all consumption, manufacturing and distribution of liquor banned.

1931     Nevada legalized gambling and divorce in 6 weeks and beginning of the Hoover Damand the 1st casino was built called the Pair-o-Dice Club on highway 91, later called the Las Vegas Strip.

1933    Prohibition is repealed

1944    Liberace makes his Las Vegas debut.

1946    Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel

1947    Siegel is murdered in Virginia Hill’s Beverly Hills home.

1951     Nuclear weapon testing began:  In true Las Vegas style, the city capitalized on the atomic spectacle. The Chamber of Commerce printed up calendars advertising detonation times and the best spots for watching. Casinos like Binion’s Horseshoe and the Desert Inn flaunted their north-facing vistas, offering special “atomic cocktails” and “Dawn Bomb Parties,” where crowds danced and quaffed until a flash lit the sky. Women decked out as mushroom clouds vied for the “Miss Atomic Energy” crown at the Sands. “The best thing to happen to Vegas was the Atomic Bomb” one gambling magnate declared.

1951     Frank Sinatra’s first performance at the Desert Inn.

1954    Ronald Reagan has two-week show at the Last Frontier.

1955    The Moulin Rouge, the first racially integrated hotel opens.

1956:   Elvis Presley performs first shows in Las Vegas at the New Frontier Hotel.

1957    Showgirls make debut with “Minsky’s Follies” at the Desert Inn.

1959    Betty Willis designs “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

1960    Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford) performs for first time.

1960    NAACP members, politicians and businessmen lift Jim Crow restrictions.

1963.   Atomic Age ends when Limited Test Ban Treaty goes into effect, banning above ground testing at the Nevada Test Site.

1964   The Beatles perform at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

1967   Siegfried & Roy debut at the Tropicana.

1967    Elvis and Priscilla Presley marry at the Aladdin.

1967    Evel Knievel crashes during his famous jumpover the fountains at Caesars Palace.

1969.   Elvis Presley starts his shows at the International, signing up for four weeks, twice a year, for $125,000 per week.

1976     Elvis performs his final engagement at the Hilton.

1979     Liberace opens The Liberace Museum, which displays his collection of rare pianos, cars and, of course, his bejewled wardrobes.

1987      Liberace dies

1996      Tupac Shakur is shot, and dies six days later.

2002      The Las Vegas band, The Killers, form.

2010       Hollywood leading man Tony Curtis dies at his Henderson home at the age of 85. Curtis, whose work ranged from light comedies such as “Some Like It Hot” to dramas such as “The Defiant Ones,” also portrayed Strip casino-resort owner Philip Roth on the TV show “Vega$” from 1978 to 1981.

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Former Las Vegas Casino’s

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  • Aladdin                      1966 – 1997
  • Boardwalk.                1966 – 2006
  • Castaways                 1963 – 1987
  • Desert Inn.                1950 – 2000
  • Dunes.                       1955 – 1993
  • El Rancho.                 1948 – 1992
  • El Rancho Vegas.      1941 – 1960
  • Hacienda.                  1956 – 1996
  • Klondike                     1962 – 2006
  • Marina                        1975 – 1990
  • New Frontier              1942 – 2007
  • Riviera                        1955 – 2015
  • Sahara                        1952 – 2011
  • Sands                         1953 – 1996
  • Silver City                  1973 – 1999
  • Silver Slipper             1950 – 1988
  • Stardust                     1958 – 2006
  • Thunderbird               1948 – 1976
  • Westward Ho             1963 – 2005

 

 

References

Neon Museum Las Vegas

Wikipedia

City Lab.com

Vegas Sun

 

Recommended reading 

Lost Las Vegas –  by Jeff Burbank

 

Photography

The Neon Museum

 

 

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