November 2, 2015 - 12:56 pm
As rapid as a new Las Vegas landmark is constructed, another one is demolished. Memories of those attractions continue to shine bright at the Neon Boneyard Museum.
Providing visitors with a trip down memory lane, the Neon Museum takes guests on a stroll through vintage Vegas by preserving retired neon signs from Las Vegas’ glittering past.
From a sign that once stood atop the first interracial resort in Las Vegas, the Moulin Rouge, to Aladdin’s Genie Bottle from the now-extinct Aladdin Casino, the Neon Boneyard Museum helps document Sin City’s roaring history.
Here are seven things you might not have known about the Neon Boneyard Museum:
The oldest sign is over 80-years-old
According to the Neon Museum, one of the oldest signs in the Boneyard is the Green Shack sign from the 1930’s. The sign, which advertises chicken, steak and cocktails, can’t be much older as Prohibition was not repealed until December 1933.
It’s been around for a while, but not as long as the signs
With inception of the concept for the Neon Boneyard starting in 1996, the museum, which is home to more than 200 signs, will celebrate its 20th birthday in 2016. The two-acre campus is home to the Neon Boneyard Park, the actual neon sign Boneyard and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery, which is used for weddings and film and production crews.
What was the first to be restored?
The first sign restored by the Neon Museum was the Hacienda Horse and Rider sign. To mark their “official opening,” the museum installed the restored sign at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont street.
The signs are a lot bigger than you think
One of the most world-famous signs in the museum, the Stardust sign, was 188 feet tall and 96 feet wide. Rich in star-power, the Stardust, which was a frequent stop for entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and “the Rat Pack,” remained a Las Vegas mainstay from it’s opening in 1958 to its demolition in 2007.
The building is historic, too
The museum’s visitors’ center is housed inside the former motel lobby of the La Concha Motel. Recognized by its distinctive clam shell-shaped roof, the motel, which was originally constructed in 1961, formerly sat on Las Vegas Boulevard South next to the Riviera Hotel. In 2006, the lobby was spared from destruction and moved to it’s current home in eight separate pieces. It was completely reassembled in May 2008.
Their lease is (extremely) cheap
The Neon Museum sits on land that is leased to them by the city for $1 a year. After many failed attempts to “save our neon,” the city stepped up and helped create the museum. Now, the museum is an independent operation with its own non-profit status.
It’s pretty popular
From photo shoots, educational programs, special events and private or regular tours, during the 2015 fiscal year, 85,163 visitors have strolled through the relics of Las Vegas history at the Neon Boneyard Museum.