When the plug is pulled at casinos, chapels, restaurants and other businesses, Sin City’s iconic art form – the neon sign – used to get sent to the scrapyard. That was until The Neon Museum, a 501c3 non-profit, began collecting and preserving these timeworn signs, ensuring the treasures won’t be forgotten.
Since 1996, volunteers have devoted their time to preserving the legacy of the disregarded signs of Las Vegas, keeping them in a dusty, three-acre lot dubbed the “Neon Boneyard.” Wander around and find dead casino marquees, unlit wedding chapel signs and bygone used car billboards scattered about like noodles in alphabet soup.
%Gallery-154843%Not only is the Neon Boneyard full of cool visuals, it also illuminates a side of Las Vegas history that many people wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see. For now, travelers must make an appointment in advance in order to visit the Neon Boneyard. However, there are plans to open a bona fide visitor’s center in what was once the lobby of the La Concha Motel, a 1960’s curvilinear structure that almost fell victim to a bulldozer in 2003 until preservationists swept in and relocated the lobby to the Boneyard.
The team has worked to assemble an outdoor “gallery” of restored signs along the east end of Fremont Street, where visitors can check out nine once forgotten signs that have been restored to blinking glory. That gallery, which includes a lamp-shaped sign originally installed in 1966 at the Aladdin Hotel, is available free to the public 24 hours per day.