Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Neon Boneyard

This is where the great neon signs of Las Vegas go to die (or just rest a while before someone puts them back into use).  Welcome to the Neon Boneyard.  No, these are not historic buildings.  But they are a part of the nation's architectural history!

Here lie the remains of hundreds of signs that once lit up the Vegas Strip or Fremont Street downtown.  Many are familiar to anyone who visited the city within the past twenty years.  Binion's Horseshoe, the Stardust and the Tropicana are just a few.  Some of the hotels, motels and restaurants represented by these signs are no longer with us; others, like the Tropicana, are still around.

Some of the signs are relics of the past. 

Luckily for us, even in an ever-changing city like Las Vegas, there are preservationists who recognize the value of the past.  These signs represent the old Vegas.  Neon and flashing lights were the order of the day before the new breed of signs that now reign over the gambling empire.  Giant video monitors have replaced the vintage signs that once glowed in the desert.  The new look Vegas is impressive in its own right, but, in my opinion, doesn't have the same "knock you off your feet" effect of the old.  You certainly can't feel the heat of the lights as you once did on a drive down the strip!


As the old signs were dismantled, the sign companies held onto the parts for a time.  Some were re purposed, but most were not, and, as the inventory grew, the companies began to discard them.  Historians came to the rescue and created the park as a means of displaying and saving the iconic remainders.  Entry to the boneyard is through the restored lobby of a early 1960s era motel which has been moved the site.

The LaConcha Motel is long gone, but this piece of it lives on as the front door to this literal walk down memory lane.