Highlights of our work
Video interviews - The Classic Las Vegas Collection
Over the course of five years, we interviewed over 100 native-born or long-time residents of Las Vegas — men and women who grew up there before and after World War II — and who helped build the small town into the Entertainment Capital of the World. As part of our preservation efforts, the video interviews have been transcribed and we have digitized almost half of them from their original analog masters. The Classic Las Vegas Collection will ultimately be housed at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, UNLV's Special Collections and the Clark County Museum.
Images and ephemera - Classic Las Vegas Collection
We've also digitally scanned hundreds of images, news stories, and ephemera from our interviewees' personal collections. Carefully preserving these images helps illustrate the story of the Las Vegas they helped build and the Las Vegas we all want to know more about.
Working with the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, the Clark County Museum, and the Springs Preserve, we've hosted five years of panel discussions on an array of topics including life in Las Vegas in the 1930s, the building of Boulder/Hoover Dam, performing in Las Vegas and the African-American Experience in Las Vegas. These informative panels often included the very individuals who had been part of the historic topic and who shared their memories and colorful experiences with the audience.
The Story of Classic Las Vegas: An Overview is a film that looks at the history of Las Vegas - both its myths, including Benjamin Siegel, and its real history. It is the story of how hard-working men and women built the Entertainment Capital of the World and ultimately brought down the mob.
Sharing the incredible history of Las Vegas and keeping you posted on current preservation projects is central to our efforts. We have been publishing blog posts since 2006 — full of historical narratives, personal stories and nostalgic images of the Classic Las Vegas era. Subscribe to our Classic Las Vegas History and Fremont Street History blogs to join the conversation as we pay tribute to the past and stay up-to-date on the latest Las Vegas happenings.
Were excited to announce the publication of our multimedia book Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip 1930-1955 by Classic Las Vegas founder and historian Lynn M. Zook. This is the first of a series of upcoming books focusing on different aspects of Las Vegas history, with a percentage of all sales directly supporting our continued historical preservation work.
About Lynn Zook
Filmmaker, Preservationist, Historian and Author behind Classic Las Vegas
"This site is dedicated to helping preserve the history of the Las Vegas of our collective memory, the Las Vegas I grew up with, what we call Classic Las Vegas."
I grew up in Las Vegas during a very mythic time, the 1960s and the early 1970s when top entertainers of the era such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and many more were visiting the town on a regular basis. I always thought the Dunes sign would be part of the Strip and that the front of Caesars (where my mother worked as a showroom waitress when the hotel first opened) would always be turquoise.
By the early 2000s, it was apparent that the landscape of the Las Vegas I had grown up in was being destroyed. I was determined to help preserve the histories of the men and women who made that era possible. Thus, this historic preservation project was born. The website and blogs have became a way to connect with all of you who share that passion for Classic Las Vegas, its history and its place in our collective memory.
Utilizing many of the interviews we conducted as part of the historic project, I created a first-person narrative documentary, The Story of Classic Las Vegas: An Overview, that explores the real history of the city from the 1930s-1970s. I also worked with Carey Burke and Allen Sandquist to write Las Vegas in Postcards, 1905-1965.
Through it all, I have been driven by the desire to share the Las Vegas I knew, which is so different in so many ways from the Las Vegas of today, with others."