Mid-Mod Marvels Recap!

Our buddy Dennis McBride, the Curator of History at the Nevada State Museum not only saved our Saturday programs with his canny foresight but he also wrote up this wonderful recap of all the events:

A Successful Weekend

On October 22-24, the Friends of Classic Las Vegas hosted its second annual Mid-Century Modern event. Co-sponsored this year by the Architectural and Decorative Arts Society, the El Cortez Hotel, Retro Vegas, VeryVintageVegas.com, the Metro Arts Council of Southern Nevada, and RAFI Planning, Architecture, and Urban Design, Mid Mod Marvels proved once more the enduring popularity of mid-century modern living.

The weekend started with a swank affair Friday night at the Morelli House, maybe the best known Mid-Century Modern landmark in Las Vegas, owned and restored by the Junior League. League members dressed in period clothing, provided tours of the house, and hosted a meet-and-greet reception for Mid-Century aficionados. The Nevada State Museum supplied a series of photographs of mid-century Las Vegas from the Jay Florian Mitchell Collection to round out the evening. With plenty of wine and nibbly things, the evening gave a hint of the fun yet to come.


Saturday included two panel discussions and the Las Vegas premier of the film, William Krisel, Architect, a documentary detailing the career of famed mid-century architect Bill Krisel. The Las Vegas National Golf Club on Desert Inn Road, around which Krisel and his partner, Dan Palmer, built their iconic Paradise Palms residential development, hosted Saturday’s events.

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Mid Mod Marvels Weekend comes to an end!

Thank you to everyone who helped make the official second annual Mid-Century Modern weekend such a success!

Recaps to follow!


The Friends of Classic Las Vegas and the Architectural and Decorative Arts Society present:

Mid-Mod Marvels:  A Celebration of Mid-Century Modern Architecture and Design

The Events:

Living the Mid-Mod Lifestyle Party:

The fun begins on Friday evening, Oct. 22nd with a reception at the famed Morelli House.  The Junior League of Las Vegas has graciously agreed to open their doors for a cocktail party to kick off our weekend of Mid-Century Modern madness.

Alan Hess will be there to say a few words about not only the era of Mid-Century Modern but also provide a bit of history about the Morelli House.

The reception starts at 5:30 pm and goes until 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $25.

Mid-Century Modern History and Las Vegas

We kick-off Saturday afternoon, Oct. 23rd at the National Golf Course's (originally the Stardust Golf Course) Clubhouse with two panels on the era and Las Vegas.


The first one:  Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Design and Las Vegas  begins at 1:00 pm:

Panelists include Alan Hess,  architects George Tate, William Krisel and Dr. Robert Tracy talking about the influence of architects such as Welton Beckett, Wayne McAllister and Paul Revere Williams on local architects such as Walter Zick, Harris Sharp, Hugh Taylor and the influence of Mid-Century design on Las Vegas. 

The second one: The Las Vegas Bureau in the Mid-Mod Era begins at 3:00 pm:

The Las Vegas News Bureau helped put Las Vegas on the map in the Mid-Century Modern era.  The photographers captured not only the stars of the era but also the buildings and hotels of the era, most of which are gone or altered way beyond their original design.  Panelists will include:  former News Bureau manager, Don Payne.


In the evening of Oct. 23rd, we will present the Las Vegas premiere of the documentary, "William Krisel, Architect" at 6:30 pm.


The documentary, produced by Design OnScreen and directed by Jake Gorst, looks at the life and the influence of William Krisel.  Known mainly for his Mid-Century Modern architecture in California, Mr. Krisel's influence on the residential architecture of Las Vegas can be seen in the Paradise Palms neighborhood.  Working with developer Irwin Molasky, Mr. Krisel designed the homes in that subdivison.

Following the screening, the will be a Q&A session with Alan Hess about Mr. Krisel's career.

Tickets for Saturday's events are $20.00

Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas Bus Tour:

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 24th, we will offer a double-decker bus tour highlighting the Mid-Century Modern neighborhoods of Las Vegas.  This will be a different tour route than the one we did last year with new open houses at two Mid-Century modern homes.  Neighborhoods we will glide through include Marycrest, Paradise Palms and the Scotch Eighties.

The tour leaves from the Reed Whipple Cultural Center at noon, include a stop at the Morelli House and will last three hours.  The bus will return to Reed Whipple at the end of the tour.

Please be aware, like last year, seating for the tour is limited.

Tickets are $20.

Now, if you want to save a few dollars, you can buy a three-day pass for $50.  Passes and individual tickets will be available on the ADAS website.  As soon as they have the page up, we will post a link here.

So, start planning your wardrobe and your itinerary, because this is going to be one great weekend you won't want to miss!

Support for this great weekend provided by:

City of Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission

Sponsors for this great weekend are:

The El Cortez

The Junior League of Las Vegas

Metro Arts Council

Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas

Retro Vegas

Terry Wilsey


Water, the Scotch 80s and the First Mayor of Las Vegas


Pete Buol watches water flow like black gold out of an artesian well. 



Las Vegas mayors seem to have always been a colorful group.  Then as now, they were frequently outspoken and seemed to attract controversy. Though Las Vegas was founded in 1905 with the famed land auction it would be six years before the citizens of that small dusty community felt the need for a mayor.  The city of Las Vegas was incorporated in 1911 and with that brought the need for a mayor.

The first mayor was also one of the biggest civic boosters.  Along with "Big Jim" Cashman, Sr and Maxwell Kelch, Las Vegas city boosters tend to have larger than life personalities.  Pete Buol was no exception.  He was the optimistic sort who looked at that dusty railroad town and could see a brighter future ahead.  Not everyone has that knack and Buol appears to have possessed it in spades.   According to his campaign literature "ability doesn't count, knowledge is useless, experience has no worth without the driving force of optimism."   He had grown up in Chicago, the son of a Swiss master chef.  He had an eighth grade education but more importantly, he had ambition.



Pete Buol the first mayor of Las Vegas 

He won a lottery at 19 and found himself worth over $100,000.  Unfortunately for Buol, he didn't have the acumen for finances and quickly ran through the money.  He made another small fortune with a food concession at the Chicago's Exposition.  He served over 5,000 people a day, charging $.25 cents a meal.

He came west and spent some time in Hollywood before heading to Nevada.  He had hoped to invest in a mine in Goldfield but, as he later told a reporter, his bankroll was too small in Goldfield to have much of an impact.  He decided to go to Las Vegas.  He arrived by stagecoach just ahead of the railroad and the land auction.

The town was barely a town.  There was the old Kiel Ranch, the Stewart Ranch and a couple of wildcat businessmen, Jim Ladd and John Miller, had some tent hotels.  The only physician in town, Halle Hewetson, operated out of a tent.   Buol decided that real estate might be worth investing in. 

In 1905, at the land auction, Buol had two subdivisions for sale.  Buol's Addition, which was just west of the railyard, shops and Ice Plant and Buol's Sub-division was "just far enough away to be out of the noise and smoke of the shops and engines."

Buol quickly realized that one of the most important elements of selling real estate in this climate was water.  The Railroad had secured the water rights to Big Springs, the large artesian springs,  which fed the creek that ran down to the Stewart Ranch (where the Sawyer Government Building is today).  But Buol noticed that there were other artesian springs bubbling up around the valley.  Less than six months after the land auction, Buol was the manager of the Vegas Artesian Water Syndicate and he was ready to start drilling for water.

Buol was not the only one drilling for water.  Others were drilling for irrigation and crops.  Buol was drilling to enhance housing development.  In 1910, he brought in a large well near 6th and Fremont (near where the El Cortez is today), adjacent to his Buck's Addition

The railroad had long resisted supplying water to those outside the original township.  But with Buol's water supply, the area east on Fremont and north (to where the freeway is today) was able to develop into a very residential area. 

Buol and a friend ran for mayor because no one, according to Buol, was interested in the job.  He won by 10 votes.  His salary was $15 a month.  One of his first orders of business was rules for business licenses.    He served for two years, being succeeded by the man who had run against him, his friend Bill Hawkins.  He was then elected to the assembly.

He and his wife built a home at Seventh and Ogden.  According to writer A.D. Hopkins, their house had "walls eight inches thick, adobe inside and brick without, porches on all four sides, and a peaked roof, it was said to be the coolest in summer and warmest in winter of any in town. Its eight rooms were heated with wood fireplaces. "  When Mrs. Buol entertained her lady friends, Buol would serve them gourmet dishes harking back to his gourmet days with his father.

Through his connections, Buol met a Scotsman, Sir John MurrayMurray had traveled extensively around the United States.  The two men corresponded and Buol traveled overseas to pitch an idea for a new development to the wealthy Scot.  Murray agreed to invest $100,000 in the new development ot be located on the far west side of the train tracks.  Buol returned home a hero to the townsfolk who were worried about the continued growth of the town.

Unfortunately, World War I interfered with Buol's plans.  Once Britian entered the Great War there was a ban on all exported assets.  Buol had to abandon his idea of an agricultural oasis just outside of the little town he loved.  However, the name stayed attached to the development and later become one of the most sought-out addresses for those who could afford it, the Scotch 80s.

Buol continued speculating.  Some of his efforts are now long-forgotten such as the little town of Johnnie or Plantina (near where Sandy Valley is today).  However, he invested in a lime deposit that helped establish the town of Sloan.   He had a borax claim that was said to have netted him $250,000 when he sold it to Francis "Borax" Smith.

In 1925, Buol and his family left the little town that he had done so much to develop and moved to the California Coast.  He continued to pursue his mining claims and was badly injured in a mine cave-in in 1929.  He died ten years later following a stroke.

Though he made a great deal of money during his lifetime, he died relatively poor.  But Pete Buol's legacy lives on in the town that he believed in so fervently, the Scotch 80s are still one of the most sought off addresses in VeryVintageVegas


Special thanks to the Las Vegas Review Journal for letting us use these images.

If you are interested in a home in the Scotch 80s, we encourage you to contact the crew at VeryVintageVegas.com