Gambling on a Dream Presentation and Book Signing: Dec. 8th

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If you live in Las Vegas or visiting there, I am happy to announce that I will be doing a presentation and book signing for my newly published book, Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip 1930-1955 on Saturday, December 8th at the Nevada State Museum (at the Springs Preserve).

I’ll be talking about the early days of the Las Vegas Strip when it was better known as a pot-holed. two-lane highway that connected the small town to southern California, how it began and how it grew.

It all begins at 2:00 pm and I hope to see you there!

Lost Vegas: The Mint

It was a majestic mid-century modern piece of architecture sitting right there on Fremont Street amid the western motif of the Golden Nugget and the western flavor of Benny Binion's Horseshoe Club.

The Mint, all pink and adorned in a necklace of chaser lights and neon, is the one hotel on Fremont Street that to this day, when Hollywood set designers want to reference that era and Las Vegas, the Mint is the go-to choice. With its pylon sign and the chaser lights rising into the night sky to light the neon star at the top of the pylon, the Mint gloried in its mid-century modern finery.

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Preservation Spotlight: Help Save Davy's Locker Neon Sign

The whimsical neon fish that has long advertised Davy's Locker bar on Desert Inn near Maryland Parkway is endanger of going dark forever and possibly being replaced by generic strip mall sign. 

Erin Ryan writes in Las Vegas Weekly that the concern is more than just preservationists and lovers of neon fish being hyperbolic. Ryan writes of the concerted effort by Cindy Slight and others to keep the whimsical  neon fish going.

“It’s so sad. It’s sad for me as a native; I mean my grandfather went to that bar. And it’s sad for me as the bar owner, because we don’t even look open at night,” says Cindy Slight, who started managing Davy’s in 2006 and worked her way into partnership and finally ownership. But she doesn’t own the property or the sign, a relic she says draws all kinds of people to stop and snap photos. At night, though, when bars make most of their money, the almost entirely burned-out banner has the opposite effect. “The sign kind of went the way of the economy at the time,” Slight says, “and so it’s just been an uphill battle ever since.”

There was a victory in that uphill battle, albeit brief. “Davy” has gone dark before, and in 2011 the neon was restored with the help of a generous bar patron. But when the lights started flickering again about five months later, Slight discovered that the $3,100 they’d paid didn’t cover any kind of maintenance. Davy’s Locker is ’60s-era, complete with Rat Pack lore, but Slight says the property owners aren’t local and favor replacing the classic sign with something generic. “So much of old Vegas is gone. You have to really look hard to find the little pieces that aren’t. That’s one of the things I love about Davy, and to see that go …”

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