Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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Las Vegas Boulevard sign-lighting ceremony set for Monday

City officials to turn the lights on three historic signs

Silver Slipper - 1968

Sun file photo

In this 1968 photo, the marquees of three Howard Hughes hotels light up at dusk. Rumors flew at the time that Hughes bought the Silver Slipper casino because he feared a camera was placed inside the toe of the shoe, which always stopped and faced his Desert Inn penthouse. After the casino’s previous owners refused his repeated requests to turn off the shoe, Hughes bought it in 1968.

Click to enlarge photo

Cars park outside the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall in this photo taken in the late 1950s to early '60s. Its original name is the Golden Slipper Gambling Hall and Saloon because "Silver Slipper" is unavailable at the time. It sits on the Last Frontier Village, right next to the Frontier Hotel.

Las Vegas Blvd.

With all its neon, most people would probably agree that Las Vegas Boulevard is one of the most colorful roadways in the country.

But a group of city leaders will gather Monday afternoon to celebrate the resort/casino-laden street's official designation as an National Scenic Byway, with a lighting ceremony of three historic signs.

The festivities will begin at 4:45 p.m. on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard, across from the Silver Slipper neon sign at the south end of the Reed Whipple Cultural Center parking lot, 821 Las Vegas Boulevard, North.

The stretch of The Strip from Washington Avenue to Sahara Avenue received the official National Scenic Byway designation in October.

"There is only one Las Vegas Boulevard and this designation will help us to seek federal grants to add more neon signs, like the three we will be turning on next week, along this great corridor in downtown Las Vegas," Mayor Oscar Goodman said in prepared remarks.

The city began working to get the federal designation in 2000 and received a state designation in 2001. The state designation allowed the city to get a $25,000 grant for a corridor management plan to restore and place as many as 20 historic neon signs in the median islands along the roadway.

The first three completely refurbished neon signs were installed in three refurbished medians as part of a $1.1 million streetscape improvement that began in May. They will be lit up for the ceremony:

-- The Bow & Arrow Motel neon sign went up in August north of Bonanza Road. The 35-foot-by-6-foot sign was first installed during the late 1950s or early 1960s at the former motel, which was at Wyoming Avenue near Dino's.

-- The Binion's Horseshoe sign, formerly on Fremont Street at Binion's Horseshoe Casino in the late 1950s, was installed in August at the beginning of where Las Vegas Boulevard splits into a byway. It is 13 feet high and 12 feet wide.

-- The Silver Slipper neon sign was installed in September. The famous landmark used to sit atop the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall as a part of what used to be called the Last Frontier Village, a replica of an old western town on Las Vegas Boulevard. The Last Frontier became the New Frontier, which was eventually absorbed into the Frontier, which was imploded in 2007. The sign is 12 feet high and 17 feet wide. The slipper's main body contains 900 incandescent light bulbs, with about 80 more in the new gold bow.

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