Las Vegas and Surviving Historic Preservation Week


What a week!  It's hard to believe how much cool stuff went on this week and how much fun we all had.

Here's a little recap in case you weren't able to join us for all the fun, festivities and good times.

Tuesday's Roundtable Discussion of the History of Helldorado at the Clark County Museum was a great deal of fun (and a much appreciated shout-out to Glen Gamer and the mechanics at the Exxon station at Basic and Boulder Highway for a great assist).

Our panelists Emmett Sullivan, Don Payne and Tim Cashman all shared great stories and the audience was filled with people who shared their own Helldorado memories as well.  Thanks to everyone who participated and came out.  Special thanks to Mark Hall-Patton for moderating!

Wednesday night was a busy evening.  The Neon Museum had a special event and showcased the unveiling of the restored La Concha lobby.  It looks absolutely beautiful from what I hear and the way they sited the building is going to show off the entire museum when it opens hopefully a few years from now.

While the Neon Museum event (complete with Hard Hats with a La Concha logo) was underway, we were over at the Nevada State Museum with our Roadshow event, "Southern Nevada and the New Deal".  The docents had prepared Depression era snacks (the cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches were the big hit) for everyone to enjoy.

The historians on the panel, Dennis McBride and Peter Gough did a great job of talking about the importance of the New Deal, the Alphabet Soup programs and our old-timers Johnny Pinjuv, Mike Pinjuv and Bonnie Rams told some wonderful and often humorous stories of what it was like growing up here during that era.  We talked about everything from the CCC boys (whom Ms. Rams said of "When we passed them on the street, my mother would tell me "Don't look at them" but I did because some of them were cute") to the infamous Roxie's at Four Mile.  

Someone in the audience asked what Roxie's was and without missing a beat, Dennis took the microphone, looked straight at the lady and said "It was a whorehouse" in his best dead-pan delivery.  It brought the house down.

Friday afternoon found us all at Brian Paco Alvarez's 'Re-Invention' exhibit opening at the Bridge Gallery in City Hall.  There are some great photos of the evolution of the Golden Nugget, the Horseshoe and the Morelli House along with wonderful historical information.  (Special thanks to all for including us as one of the information sources!) 

Collector Carey Burke, former Lt. Governor (and collector) Lonnie Hammergren, VeryVintageVegas fashion maven Mary Joy Alderman, Pam Hartley, Jack LeVine, Bob Stoldal and more turned out to hear Paco talk about the importance of the architecture downtown and the importance of the historical photos.  

This exhibit is up until the end of the month so if you get a chance be sure to check it out!

Yesterday was Preservation and Cultural History Day.  Our volunteers at the Huntridge were unable to give tours of the building due to safety and power issues.  So, instead, they answered questions and gave a history of the building to those that stopped by and in-between pulled weeds and generally cleaned up the grounds.  It was nearing 100 degrees by 11:00 am, so we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all that!

At the Springs Preserve, the Paiute Indians were performing their Pow-Wow Dance and it was great.  Indoors (thank the Lord) were all the museums and historic preservation groups.  We had a great time passing out information, spreading the word about how important it is to become involved in helping to save our history and answering questions.

The Film Festival's afternoon screenings included a History of Helldorado (a collaborative film by the Nevada State Museum and FCLV) that included some great shots of Helldorado parades from the 1950s (including the Sambo's that used to be on the corner of Bonanza and Las Vegas Blvd. North).

Dennis McBride showed home movies from the Abe Weinstein collection.  Weinstein owned a 16mm movie camera back in the 1950s and in addition to shooting the usual home movies of his family, he shot some great color footage of the iconic neon signs of the Las Vegas Strip at night, wonderful shots of the original Flamingo and Tropicana Hotels and more Helldorado Parades.

Historian Bob Stoldal showed two short films. "Is Anybody Listening?" was a series that KLAS did 25 years ago on the preservation issues of the day back then.  A young George Knapp was the reporter on some of them.  Great footage of the old Ice House, the old Las Vegas Hospital and Kiel Ranch main buildings before they were lost to fires of a suspicious nature.

His second film was a series of ads and commercials from his private collection on the way Las Vegas was advertised in the 1950s.

"The Story of Classic Las Vegas", our own documentary, followed.

We got to the Helldorado Parade staging area about 6:30.  It was hot but we were having a great time.  Dr. Lonnie Hammergren brought his float with signs from the Frontier and the Nevada Palace.  He had a Granny Clampett bench seat welded to the top of the cab.  Jack LeVine drove the float while Dr. Lonnie and Mary Joy Alderman rode up top.  Dr. Lonnie's wife, Sandy, sat along side.

We were there in our Pink Cadillac with Lorraine Hunt and her husband, Dennis Bono.  Walking alongside passing out Classic Las Vegas Tee-shirts were Pam Hartley, Jeff King, Jenny and Zane Donaldson.

About half-way down the parade route, due to how slow the parade was going, the Caddie overheated.  We were pushed to the side but got to watch the parade go by.  The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's float included a miniature of Fremont Street at night.  By far, our favorite float.  The Paiutes with their Pow-Wow Dance were our favorite group.  The Long Beach Mounted Police with their beautiful Palomino horses were ahead of us.  Following behind were two young boys with the world's largest pooper-scooper wagon and shovel.  Kudos to those boys for keeping the parade route cleared!

We ended up at Mickie Finnz on Fremont Street where we could hear the fireworks going off over the East Fremont Entertainment District.  Dr. Lonnie and Sandy were there along with Paco. pam, Jack, Mary Joy and the rest of the gang including Dennis McBride and our good friends from Los Angeles, Eric Lynxwiler and Phil McKinley.

We cooled off and enjoyed the band.  By the end of the night we were all singing along to the Johnny Cash and country-western tunes.

It was a great way to end a terrific week of preservation, culture and fun.  Thank you to all who helped make this the best attended Historic Preservation Week yet.  We look forward to next year!

A special shout-out to Allen Sandquist (RoadsidePictures):  Everybody Misses YOU!!!  Hurry back!!!

In the meantime, as soon as I get some of the photos from Jack LeVine and Eric I will post them.  I also have video of the parade that I will try to post early this week. 

In the meantime,

"You don't have to call me darling,  Dahrling, I wonder why you don't call me, you never even call me by name!"