The same 1950s and 1960s that brought the world Elvis, the Rat Pack and jukeboxes, also brought momentous change to Las Vegas.
This change, in the form of the valley’s expansive post-war era growth, included introducing midcentury modern design to a new generation of homes and communities.
Many of these historic homes and neighborhoods are on display during the fifth annual Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History event April 26-28.
Be it by bus, car or on foot, the weekend offers participants a choice of 23 individual events around the valley including A Night at the Neon Museum, Seeing Stars: Celebrity homes by bicycle and Revivals and Ranches: A Stroll through Time.
“This year we’ve focused on growing the event across the Las Vegas Valley,” said NPF Director of Neighborhood Stabilization Michelle Larime. “We’ve jumped from a 2½-day event into a full three days. This is pretty significant for us.
“We really wanted to expand our footprint and start getting people familiar with some of the architecture and history throughout the valley,” Larime added. “Not just in the area where we’ve been before.”
This year, offerings include a vintage home tour of historic Boulder City. On Friday afternoon, six of the city’s early 20th century bungalows built specifically for Hoover Dam employees and the historic Boulder Dam Hotel serve as windows into this timeless history.
“There are different kinds of dam houses, which is one of the unique things about them,” Larime said of this year’s new offering. “Depending on whether you were an executive or dam worker played into what type of house you would have access to.”
Friday night, participants get a preview of the new Vintage Vegas Modernism Show at the Opening Night Preview Party. The fundraiser, held at the World Market Center will benefit NPF Home + History tour, featuring a full reception with appetizers, cocktails and entertainment. All the event’s proceeds go directly to NPF.
Participants can purchase items from 40 premier decorative and fine arts dealers before the sale is open to the public. The sale showcases vintage modern furniture, home décor, rugs, Italian glass, pottery, art and jewelry emphasizing midcentury modern design.
“We require the material the dealers bring to the show be vintage,” said Dolphin Promotions Media Director Gordon Merkle. “In other words, no reproductions, not something you can find in a retail outlet.”
Dolphin Promotions, who organized the event, brings the unique show to Las Vegas for the first time. Dolphin has organized traditional antique and design fairs around the country for more than 30 years. The Vegas show is modeled after its popular Palm Springs Modernism Show.
“These (Vegas and Palm Springs) are the only ones we do exclusive modernism design,” Merkle said. “Midcentury modern has seen the largest increase in auction sales across any category. It’s a great investment value.”
According to Merkle, most exhibitors are from the Southwest, though some travel from as far away as London, New York and Alaska. Cost for items range from $10 to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the rarity of the item.
The Vintage Vegas Modernism Show will open to the public Saturday and Sunday.
“It has the potential to become a successful event like Palm Springs,” Merkle said, who plans to make this an annual event.
“And attracting new people to Las Vegas who are interested in midcentury design and architecture.”
Saturday evening, even the ghosts will be in high spirits during the annual Martini Event. Tours will be conducted into several hidden areas, providing a rare glimpse into a haunted hotel room and several other hidden gems inside the timeless Vegas icon, Binion’s casino.
Binion’s was recently featured on a “Ghost Stories” episode that aired on the Travel Channel.
“Things have happened here you can’t explain,” said TLC Casinos Inc. General Manager Tim Lager. TLC Casinos Inc. purchased the property in 2008. “Nothing scary, but unexplained.”
Festivities begin on the 24th floor rooftop pool deck with a cocktail reception complete with martinis, appetizers and stunning views.
“The view is spectacular,” Lager said. “We’re the only pool that has a view of the city.”
Participants also will get a glimpse into the next chapter of the historic casino. Two renovation projects are underway, and according to Lager, they will be completed later this summer.
Binion’s was created by combining two separate properties in 1988; the Apache Hotel and The Mint. TLC is refurbishing the entire hotel to reflect its original 1930s boutique style and will be reopening as the Apache Hotel.
“We’ll walk through that area and show the history,” Lager said. “A fully re-created room will show what the finished project will look like.”
The original Mint side of the building facing the Fremont Street experience, will feature the unique bar and restaurant, Whiskey Licker.
“It will be completely open to the street,” Lager said. “It’ll have a rotating bar.”
Sunday, the weekend’s main attraction, the Vegas Vintage Home tour, features historic homes in the John S. Park, Paradise Palms, McNeil Estates and Glen Heather and Rancho Park neighborhoods.
Self-guided tours showcase the iconic midcentury architecture, including sprawling, horizontal facades, butterfly roofs, clean lines, exposed beams and indoor/outdoor spaces.
The homes, dating from the 1940s to the 1960s, are either updated, restored or modernized to the mirror the original design.
“Interiors vary according to the homeowner’s tastes,” Larime said. “You’ll see some homes with collections of midcentury furniture, art and ephemora. Some homes features more of the modern minimalist approach with furniture that’s associated most often with the Danish designers.”
With more than 1,200 tickets available, Larime said they are hoping for 750 to 900 attendees to raise $40,000. Last year, NPS raised more than $33,000. All proceeds of this year’s event go directly back into the organization’s preservation work.
“We’re on the slow growth path,” Larime said. “So we’re not looking to make major jumps but just to keep the numbers increasing and heading in the right direction.”
• Vintage Boulder City History Tour, April 26 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.
• Opening preview party, Vintage Vegas Modernism Show and Sale, April 26 from 6-9 p.m.; tickets are $75. Proceeds benefit Home + History. The event will be held at Pavilion 2 of the World Market Center, 475 South Grand Central Parkway. Parking is free. The Vintage Vegas Modernism Show and Sale opens to the public Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Martini Tour: Backstage at Binion’s, April 27 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100. Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel is at 128 Fremont Street.
• Vintage Vegas Home Tour, April 28, starting at noon until 5:30 p.m.; tickets are $50.
Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History will be held April 26-28. Events sell out. Online ticket sales close end of day April 24. Tickets can still be purchased after Wednesday by calling the Nevada Preservation Foundation at 855-968-3973. Cash only tickets are available the day of the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nevadapreservation.org.