Learn How to Recognize and Preserve Historic Architecture

If you’re a regular reader of Urb Appeal, chances are you have an interest in vintage homes, historic preservation, and the architecture of Las Vegas in general. That, or you’re just someone who likes to keep a finger on the proverbial pulse of Downtown real estate. Either way, there’s something for you (and your family!) to learn this weekend in DTLV about both the history of our city’s buildings, and how to preserve the ones in which we live.

All month, in honor of Black History Month, the Neon Museum (770 Las Vegas Blvd. N.) has been enhancing its Neon Boneyard tours with information on African-American history as it related to Las Vegas’ development, including such figures as architect Paul Revere Williams and Sarann Knight-Preddy, former owner of the Moulin Rouge casino and first African-American to receive a Nevada gaming license. Williams—who also created dozens of historic buildings and homes in Southern California—designed the distinctive, space-age, shell-shaped La Concha Motel lobby, which was saved from demolition in 2005 and moved to the Neon Museum where it was repurposed as the facility’s visitor’s center.

On Saturday, Feb. 21 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., that lobby will serve as the focal point for a special kid-friendly program, “Pop-Up Architecture: Paul Revere Williams in Las Vegas.” Free for Neon Museum members and $5 for non-members, the program will include an interactive element in which children (grade six and up) can create a pop-up card of the iconic La Concha lobby while learning about its landmark creator.

Also happening at just about the same time is Nevada Preservation Foundation’s first-ever Windows Resource Fair, taking place at the Trinity Life Center (1000 E. St Louis Ave.) on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Sponsored by NV Energy, the fair (free for NPF members; $10 for non-member individuals or $15 for pairs) is bringing together vendors and experts to address a conundrum many owners of vintage houses face: finding a balance between maintaining the historic integrity of their homes and making them energy efficient.

As someone with a 1962 tri-level that contains an entire wall of single-pane, aluminum frame windows, I can attest to the challenge of keeping out the Mojave Desert heat (or the cold for that one week in December). But as Nevada Preservation Foundation Executive Director Heidi Swank found out first-hand, ignorantly replacing original windows with new ones can not only compromise a home’s historic integrity, but also may not be worth the investment. That’s why the resource fair only features products that meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, from cellular shades to window films. The event will also feature a photo exhibit of historic Las Vegas buildings and homes by Heather Protz, with proceeds of sales from the photographs benefiting the nonprofit NPF.

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