The city of Las Vegas will receive $800,000 in grant money to restore the iconic La Concha Motel Lobby, listed on the City’s Historic Register, to be used as the Visitor’s Center of the Neon Museum. The mid-century modern masterpiece was slated for destruction when local activists raised a fuss and enough money to save the swooping seashell shaped building, designed by architect Paul Revere Williams, the first African American admitted into the American Institute of Architects. Williams also designed the Beverly Hills Hotel and the futuristic, spidery LAX-themed building at the LA airport.
The Neon museum rescues discarded neon signs, most of which rest at the “Boneyard,” a vacant lot filled with fantastic lighted signs that await the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to restore them. Repaired signs are scattered throughout downtown Las Vegas and lit nightly.
The museum sits along the Las Vegas Boulevard Scenic Byway. Three newly refurbished neon signs are scheduled to be added to the median in late 2009. www.neonmuseum.org.