The Signs of Sin City (Las Vegas), Nevada
Paris, France, might be known as the City of Lights, but it does not hold a candle to Las Vegas and its neon.
In 1931, two events occurred that paved the way for Las Vegas to become not only the Mecca of gambling that it is today, but also the city of neon signs. First, construction began on the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and, second, gambling became legal in the state of Nevada once again. While both helped give birth to the modern Las Vegas, the creation of the Hoover Dam and its electricity allowed Las Vegas to become the City of Neon Lights. The electricity provided by the new dam helped transform Las Vegas from a sleepy frontier town into the tourist attraction it is today.
By the mid-1930s, Las Vegas, like the rest of the country, was quickly catching neon fever, and hundreds of these glowing signs began illuminating storefronts and businesses up and down Fremont Street; soon casinos, diners, and department stores had neon tubing brightly displaying their lighting up the Strip, and the Vegas skyline.
In the early ‘50s the casinos and businesses on Fremont Street sought to make themselves distinctive to those on the Vegas Strip so they began creating larger and more attractive signs. The most famous example of this trend on Fremont Street is the endearing Las Vegas landmark from 1951, “Vegas Vic,” the 90-foot-tall cowboy in front of the Pioneer Club.
The following gallery contains photos I shot this past October 2021, while visiting Las Vegas. I hope you enjoy them.
Last year, in 2021, I fulfilled a lifelong dream photographing the entire original Route 66. From Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California (please check out the Route 66 Gallery in my "Galleries" section.). After finishing Route 66, I turned my attention to U.S. Route 99, also known as the "Golden State Highway" and "The Main Street of California." Route 99 was one of the original US highways commissioned in 1926; carrying the migrant farm workers of the 1930s through the rich and fertile San Joaquin Valley (these are the same migrants that fled the Dust Bowl ravaged mid-west via Route 66).
Route 99 stretches across almost the entire length of the California's famed Central Valley. These photos span the cities: Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Kingsburg, Modesto, Stockton, and Sacramento. I plan to finish up the Northern leg of Route 99 later this year.
Any contribution for gas money would be greatly appreciated (just click on the red tab located above). I fund these journeys with my own meager income. I really hope you enjoy this gallery and the incredibly fabulous signs I had the pleasure to photograph along the way.