Interestingly enough, vendors say it's the customers who are expressing the most nostalgia over the fact the Charleston Antique Mall will close forever -- at its present location, anyway -- at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 29 (http://www.charlestonantiquemall.com" target="_blank">www.charlestonantiquemall.com )
Previously known as the Red Rooster, the 16,000-square-foot, 40-vendor enterprise at 307 W. Charleston (two doors down from the Holsum Bread Lofts), now operated by Michelle and Cal Tully, will relocate to larger premises at the old Peter Piper Pizza site, 560 S. Decatur (adjoining Arizona Charlie's), with a "soft opening" expected in mid-May.
The Nevada Department of Transportation is seizing the current building for demolition, making way for yet another widening of Interstate 15.
I called around to some folks at the UNLV School of Architecture this week, asking if anyone has bothered to compile a brief history and photo folder on the old structure, which served as the city's 7-UP bottling plant in the 1950s. No one expressed any interest.
Well, it's hardly an early Frank Lloyd Wright. Besides, this is a town that regularly blows up its history on TV.
Let a New York antique dealer come up with a book signed by -- or a suit of clothes that she can document was tailored for -- a Rockefeller, an Astor, a Vanderbilt, a close relative of J.P. Morgan, or for that matter (going back a little further) bearing the name of a Washington, a Hamilton, even an Aaron Burr or a Benedict Arnold -- and visions of auction-house sugarplums begin to dance in their heads.
Here in Las Vegas, it's a standing joke among dealers that if a book or record album or tailored suit bears an inscription or "custom tailored for" label naming one of THIS town's best-known generation -- an elder Binion, Gaughan, Boyd or Dalitz -- a junk-shop customer will ask whether he can get it for a discount "because somebody wrote on it."
I picked up a couple of Capitol 78 rpm Mel Blanc records at the mall last week, one a Daffy Duck and one a Bugs Bunny, in their original colorful paper jackets, informing me they'd been OK'd for kids by none other than Bozo the Clown, originally $8 apiece, marked down to $4.80.
As I've disclosed before, the brunette maintains some rooms of vintage clothes there. Other acquaintances sell vintage cameras and furniture, record albums, Coke and Pepsi stuff. I've even seen a few shelves of autographed first editions.
Antiques used to be a sizeable part of the mix in the old Vegas downtown. Some remain. Renee Poole reports the planned NDOT demolition will spare her "Not Just Antiques Mart" up the street at 1422 Western Ave., which remains open from 10:30 to 5:30, six days a week. And some of the vendors from the Charleston Antique Mall are setting up as SinCity Pickers, around the corner at 10 W. Wyoming, between North Main and the railroad tracks.
We wish them all well, in a town where true local history buffs are badly outnumbered by stalking Scannerboys, checking bar codes in search of underpriced treasures.
Don't tell them the period of time over which valuable stuff was produced without bar codes, now. Wouldn't want to them to start getting ideas and, well ... looking things up in books.