I first met Heidi about eight years ago when we were both involved in the early days of the Atomic Age Alliance, an organization dedicated to Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas. She and her husband were both passionate about Mid-Century Modern architecture and wanted to learn more about Las Vegas' role in that history.
She and her husband, Scott, have a MCM home in the historic Beverly Green neighborhood that they have lovingly restored. They live in a 1956 Cinderella ranch designed by Hugh Taylor for Rose and Louis Molasky the parents of Irwin Molasky. They co-founded the popular Flamingo Club- a roving, invitation-only neighborhood mixer whose motto is “Building community one cocktail party at a time."
She is dedicated to the worthy idea that our classic homes are worth saving. While Las Vegas experienced tremendous growth in the final decades of the 20th century and early 21st century, its original neighborhoods offer a look back at not only how the city grew but through its architecture offers insight to those years before the explosion boom and what was important to the residents who owned those homes.
In addition to be elected to the Nevada State Assembly for District 16, she is also the Exective Director of the Nevada Preservation Foundation.
The NPF is a "non-profit that provides historic designation and grant support to neighborhoods, homeowners, and business owners who reside in a historic area or own a historic building. The Foundation supplies much needed support to navigate the extensive process of obtaining local, state, or federal historic designations. Once designated the Foundation also provides grant-writing support and functions as a clearinghouse for grants benefiting historic districts/homes. As more of our state’s architectural past ages into eligibility for historic designation, it is important for the stability of our communities that we work to maintain our history."
Despite her very busy schedule, we were able to interview her for this series.
CLV Blog: How did you become interested in preserving Southern Nevada history?
Swank: As an anthropologist by training, I have long been interested in the ways in which our past makes us who we are today. In particular, I'm interested in how our built environment and the ways in which space is used in these homes reflects and impacts how we see them, how we use them, and how we understand ourselves.
One of the more interesting things about Southern Nevada history is that there isn't a lot of time depth. Many people discount the area because of this saying we don't have any history. However, because our history is relatively new it is in many ways more interesting.
We don't have hundreds of years of