When visitors think of Las Vegas, naturally everything glitz and glamour will spring to their mind: streets lined with posh hotels, world-famous show attractions, and 24-hour nightlife. Towering above the crowds, billboards and high-tech video screens in colorful hues vie for the stunned visitor’s attention. And yet, one of the world’s most famous old-fashioned neon attractions is still located at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!
Neon signs were introduced in Vegas in the 1930s and had their heyday until the 1980s. But as LED screens began taking over the Strip, many of the old signs were removed. Lucky for all fans of vintage design and shabby-chic sceneries, there is a place to still worship the electronic fossils of old school logography: The Neon Boneyard.
In a city that was basically built out of neon, it’s fitting someone had the bright idea to pay tribute to the era of light bulb patchworks and plain old type signs. Established in 1996, the Neon Museum collects and restores signs from old casinos, hotels or wedding chapels in the Nevada area. Currently, the collection holds about 150 vintage signs. Some important historical pieces in the boneyard include the bright lights that once fronted the Moulin Rouge Hotel, the Stardust, Desert Inn as well as Caesar’s Palace.
In addition to the 2 acre lot, the Neon Museum also maintains twelve restored signs throughout Downtown Las Vegas. Some can be seen on a self-guided visitors walk through the Fremont Street Experience. Three others have been added to the median of Las Vegas Boulevard in front of the Neon Museum itself. The Neon Boneyard is only available through guided tours, reservations are recommended.
The Neon Museum is located at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard, across the street from Cashman Center and along the Las Vegas downtown museum corridor.
Cordula Schaefer is a photography enthusiast who loves to venture out to explore new places and hardly ever leaves the house without a camera. A New Yorker at heart, she is especially fond of city trips and has a soft spot for beautiful beachscapes. She currently bases herself in Berlin and keeps the visual documents of her travels at Cordugram.