Over the past decade or so, attitudes toward architecture in Las Vegas have shifted. Perhaps it was a new appreciation of our history as we passed our centennial, or maybe it’s a realization that the currently favored mid-century modern aesthetic is heavily represented in our neighborhoods. The work of the Nevada Preservation Foundation has helped develop and sustain that interest, most visibly through their annual Home + Heritage Weekend.
Now in its third year, the weekend has expanded into over a dozen events around Downtown Las Vegas and the focus has broadened from architecture to history and culture. “The weekend has started to take on kind of a cultural heritage focus,” explains Michelle Larime, associate director of the NPF. “People are looking for that new and different thing to do in Vegas, and, surprisingly, its cultural tourism.”
There will be bus tours of vintage neon signs, institutional midcentury architecture and neighborhoods of Las Vegas’ westside as well as walking tours of Fremont Street and the Beverly Green neighborhood. A Martini tour and a “Modernism with a Twist” lecture will offer looks inside the Liberace Mansion and the Morelli House, respectively. But, of course, the biggest event will be the tour of local midcentury homes, which have been carefully preserved and/or thoughtfully renovated.
With events like the Home + Heritage weekend, the NPF aims to raise the profile of Las Vegas’ architectural heritage, rather like the Palm Springs Modernism Week has done for that city’s style profile—and tourism revenue, hosting over 100 events for thousands of people. Las Vegas isn’t quite at that level, but the NPF is making progress. “Our out-of-state mailing list numbers have grown way above what we expected in just the first year. There’s been a lot of interest both locally and nationally,” Larime says. In opening our homes to the world, Las Vegas is learning to be as proud of its streamlined, neon past as it is of its over-the-top, LED present.
Home + History Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas, April 28-30, Ticket prices vary by event