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LAS VEGAS STRIP – 1958

Stardust Vegas sign

Welcome to all the new Slide of the Week members that I met last weekend at the VIVA LAS VEGAS ROCKABILLY WEEKEND. I had a BLAST!!! For those of you who weren’t there you may well want to join the fun next year

Rockabilly music fans from all over the world gather annually on Easter Weekend at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas. They totally deck themselves out in vintage 50s clothes, take over the parking lot with their vintage 50s cars and strut their stuff while gambling, drinking, smoking and have the best time listening to all kinds of rockabilly bands. A vintage marketplace offers something for everyone including me! I found a dashing 50s butterscotch colored summer suit that belonged to a Texas oil millionaire. I did a Retro Las Vegas Slide Show which included this week’s incredible slide, one of my all time favorite finds – the Stardust just after it opened in 1958.

Gambling was legalized in Las Vegas (Spanish for: the meadows) in 1931. Over the next ten years Fremont Street, the heart of town, became a two block long Mecca of Wild West themed gambling saloons like the Horseshoe, Lucky Strike, Pioneer Club and Golden Nugget. With a staggering abundance of cheap electricity from Boulder Dam, a trend soon began to glorify the clubs with intoxicating electrified facades signs – each one built to out-do the last. Upstairs, above the Horseshoe Club the Hotel Apache was the nicest place to stay in town until 1941, when El Rancho Vegas became the first casino resort on what was to become “the strip.” The next year The Last Frontier opened on the strip. Like the El Rancho it was designed to transport guests back to the days at the Wild West – think Knott’s Berry Farm and Frontierland. The Flamingo, built in 1946, was the first place in town to be decorated with Mid-century modern furnishings and appointments. The Thunderbird, 1948, had a local Native American theme and in the early 50s the Middle East provided the inspiration and motifery for the Sahara, Algiers, Sands and Dunes.

But it wasn’t until 1958 that Las Vegas went high Sci-Fi. The Stardust offered the universe in Land of the Giants scale. Futuristic space age signage never got any better than this. It’s the greatest, grandest, brightest and most out-of-this world sign ever!

GOD BLESS AMERICANA and STARDUSTIANA