In conjunction with a brand-new survey of historic downtown Las Vegas motor courts, the Neon Museum of Las Vegas will host “Motor Court Magic: Mid-Century Architecture and the Roadside Motel” on Saturday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. This public panel discussion is part of the museum’s PRISM Times of the Signs Series sponsored by CenturyLink.
Designed to inform the public and motel property owners of the economic and cultural value of their properties and signs, the discussion will address how motor courts originated, impacted travel and eventually evolved into resort hotels. In addition, the ways in which roadside architecture helped shape the Southwest landscape and subsequent preservation strategies will be explored.
"The Historic Preservation Commission is thrilled to participate in the Motor Court Magic panel discussion,” said Robert Stoldal, chairman, Historic Preservation Commission. “One of the commission's focus has been to inventory mid-century modern buildings in Las Vegas in order to promote their preservation through events like this. These motels were so important to the growth and development of Las Vegas, setting the tone for Fremont Street and the Strip. Their preservation and activation is vital to downtown's revitalization.
Adds Michelle Larime, interim executive director, Nevada Preservation Foundation: "Nevada Preservation Foundation is extremely excited to be involved with this great outreach program. Motor court motels speak to the history of Vegas and really define our city's culture on many levels. The opportunity to preserve these buildings and integrate them into future plans for downtown Las Vegas should be an essential piece in revitalizing our community and local economy."
“Motor Court Magic” will be moderated by Urban Design Coordinator and Historic Preservation Officer Courtney Mooney, City of Las Vegas, and represents a collaboration between the Neon Museum, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Nevada Preservation Foundation and the City of Las Vegas. Panelists will include Demion Clinco, CEO, Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation; Jerry Stefani, expert in Las Vegas motels from the 1930s to the present; Susanna Newbury, assistant professor of art history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and Craig Palacios and Tina Wichmann, co-founders and principals, BUNNYFiSH studio.
There is no cost to attend Motor Court Magic, but advance registration is required. A cash bar will be available. For more information, go to www.NeonMuseum.org/happenings.