Las Vegas Boneyard Museum: The final vestiges of a bygone era.
The Neon Museum, aka “The Boneyard,” is a non-profit organization whose mission is to collect, preserve, study and exhibit iconic Las Vegas signs “for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment.” Perhaps more than any other venue in the city, this is where the true history of the “Entertainment Capital of the World” can be seen.
Las Vegas Boneyard – Lighting up the Desert
The town’s very first “blazing electric light display” was
added to the façade of the downtown Boulder Club in 1934, three years after
gambling was legalized in Nevada.
The marquee was designed by the Young Electric Sign Company, or YESCO, founded
by English immigrant Thomas Young, who had adopted the Mormon faith and set up a
sign-making shop in Ogden, Utah around 1920.
Twenty-five years later, Young established a branch office
in Las Vegas
and set about bringing French-invented “neon” lighting to Fremont Street. His creations included
the first electric signage on the Strip at the El Rancho Resort as well as
“Vegas Vic,” a 75-foot-high welcome sign commissioned by the Las Vegas Chamber
of Commerce to symbolize the city’s “friendly frontier hospitality.” By 1985, YESCO
would be responsible for roughly three-quarters of all the glowing lights seen
in Las Vegas.
But as the desert oasis grew, continual renovation caused
many of its original properties to be bulldozed into history. Soon, all that
would remain of once-famous landmarks like the Hotel Apache, the Northern Club
and the Hotel Sal Sagev would be their old signs, many of them piled in heaps
within a padlocked junkyard located at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North.
Renewed Reverence for the Past
Fortunately, there was civic support for preserving, restoring and exhibiting the city’s singular signage, aided by funding from the Nevada Arts Council and The Caesars Foundation; a private entity financed by Caesars Entertainment’s properties. The Neon Museum was established as a 501(c)3 organization in 1996 and its management gradually set about turning the two-acre dumping ground into an outdoor exhibition space referred to affectionately as the “Boneyard.” The facility opened to the public in 2012, featuring more than 150 signs, seven of which have been restored, plus a visitors’ center housed inside the lobby of the former La Concha Motel (circa 1961).
There’s also the Neon Boneyard North Gallery housing more rescued signs, which is available for weddings, special events, photo shoots and educational programs. Hour-long docent-guided tours are offered daily. Tickets are at $18 for adults, $12 for seniors, military personnel, veterans, students and Nevada residents, and $30 for a “combo” that includes a day tour of the Mob Museum on Stewart Avenue at 3rd Street. Children six years old and under are welcome free of charge.
For those who prefer a free sample of the Boneyard’s
treasures, nine restored signs can be viewed as public art along the streets of
downtown Las Vegas
and visited on a self-guided tour twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
This “street gallery” includes the illuminated signs of the Lucky Cuss Motel,
the Bow & Arrow Motel, The Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion’s
Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda Hotel horse and rider, the
Landmark and 5th Street Liquors—vintage Vegas at its best.
is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.
Jackpotcity.com is our editorial pick for your gaming needs. Currently offering an entire suite of casino games, as well as a wide range of Canadian deposit options, JackPotCity truly offers world-class gaming.
Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.