Nevada Preservation Foundation’s Home + History returns with even more history … and martinis

Tour Las Vegas’ Mid-Century homes.
Photo: Robert Baker / Courtesy

Palm trees, sleek exteriors and post-war optimism—nobody doesn’t love vintage Vegas architecture. Before the Valley was covered with endless faux-Spanish tract homes, our first forays into suburbia were infused with swingin’ Mid-Century Modern style.

While our city might still spend more time imploding than conserving, history wins this week with the Nevada Preservation Foundation’s weekend-long Home + History Las Vegas (HHLV): A Celebration of Vegas Cool program, scheduled April 27-29.

Events include the #UncommonVegas photo exhibit; the driving Vintage Vegas Home Tour; the chance to peruse Mid-Mod designer Hugh Taylor’s archive and more. Multiple bus tours are on offer, including a tour of modern institutional buildings (churches, schools, etc.) and a tour of the McWilliams and Clark townsites, which will explore early city landmarks. A new weekend highlight—unfortunately already sold out—is a bicycle tour of celebrity homes using the RTC’s Downtown bike share. Power of Pattern authors Ron and Barbara Marshall will discuss concrete screen block patterns. And Dunn Edwards’ color expert Sara McLean will discuss the color of historic Vegas and Mid-Mod stylings.

For several years, the event used to consist of only a Vintage Vegas Home Tour and Martini Tour. Last year, it expanded into a full weekend with 16 events. “Last year, our goal had been to sell 400 tickets, and we sold 750,” says Heidi Swank, executive director of NPF. This year, they’ve already sold more than 900 tickets to various events. “We have people coming from all over the world for this; it’s kind of astounding. We get a lot of people who never been to Las Vegas, but they’re coming for this.”

Some of the events are the same as last year, but many have been expanded, with new homes incorporated. If you can only attend one event, Swank suggests the one that started it all: the Vintage Vegas Home Tour.

“People think we blow everything up, and we don’t. … Everyone’s history matters,” Swank says. “The reason we look at places like Paris, when they were at point of their history where we are now, they realized they had history and they kept it. We’re on a different point on that progression as a new city. We have buildings over 100 years old. The bulk are from mid-20th century; about 50 years is a historic building—that’s 1968 and earlier. We have quite a bit built before 1968.”

Proceeds from the event benefits the Foundation, allowing the group to further their mission of preservation in Nevada. They help neighborhoods secure historic designations (such as Beverly Green and Paradise Palms), offer educational programming and host events.

Each event requires separate registration. Locations, times, prices and availability vary. To register and for more information, visit nevadapreservation.org.

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