Lighting up our Nights | Urban Living
DONATE
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on PressBackers.com, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you.

Lighting up our Nights

by

comment
culture_urbanliving1-1-e0c61abe857a9a0f.jpg

Las Vegas is known for many things: monolithic hotels, fine dining, the strip and Cirque du Soleil shows. And, of course, the iconic glittering neon signs—visuals that are unique to this part of the West. As old hotels have been replaced by new giants, much of that scintillating signage we all knew and loved has been taken down and stored on a desert lot that's been turned into a museum.

The Neon Museum's Neon Boneyard collection opened to the public in 2012, featuring 2 acres of 200 historic signs—only seven of which have been restored. Inside the visitor's center on 770 Las Vegas Blvd., there are smaller signs and a kitschy space used for weddings and special events. The cool thing for devotees of this old art form is that you can take an hour-long guided tour, and it's open for reservations seven days a week.

If you don't have time, you can see other signs on a self-guided tour that includes a gallery of iconic electric logos from the Lucky Cuss Motel, the Bow and Arrow Motel, the Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion's Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda's famous horse-and-rider sign, the Landmark and Fifth Street Liquors. Tickets are $19, but you can upgrade to one that includes the Mob Museum collection.

In South Salt Lake, you might notice that the Ritz Classic bowling pin is being removed from the old bowling alley at 2265 S. State. The giant sign was about to topple, due to rust and neglect, and is being recycled at a metal dump. But a new one exactly like it will soon go up in its place as part of the signage for 285 residential units that will replace the old Ritz Classic.

We don't have a neon museum in Utah, nor do we have good laws that protect the signs either, although private citizens and the city are working together to protect the classic old glass artwork. Think of signs still standing or removed just in Sugar House—Nu-Crisp Popcorn, Salt Lake Costume Co., Stark Steering, Tampico and the Granite Furniture Sputnik. The owner of Rainbow Neon Sign Co. in South Salt Lake is working with citizen preservationists to restore some of our electric history. Look up from your phones when you're taking your next Lyft or Uber at night—there's history all along our urban skyline. Did you know the Walker Center sign changes color to tell us the weather?