Neon: the classic Las Vegas art form.
Neon signs have been prevalent in Vegas since the early 1930s. With the opening of each new casino came a new and more brilliant sign, many of which were designed and manufactured by the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), which built a satellite office inside the Apache Hotel in 1933. However, the very first neon sign in Vegas was not at one of the famous casinos, but rather, at the Oasis Cafe in 1929. The second neon sign in town was sported by the Las Vegas Club in 1930.
YESCO’s first sign installed in Vegas was for the Boulder Club. It followed with several other signs on Fremont Street throughout the late ’30s and ’40s. In 1951, YESCO built perhaps the most famous Vegas sign, Vegas Vic, which appeared over the Pioneer Club. Other famous signs include Vegas Vickie, Rio’s column, Lucky the Clown at Circus Circus, the Silver Slipper, and one of my all-time favorites, the Stardust sign.
Because Vegas has reinvented itself over and over throughout the past century, many of these wonderful signs have found themselves imploded or toppled to make way for the next big thing. Finally, though, a non-profit group began collecting and restoring many of these classic Vegas staples. You can see many of them at the Neon Museum Boneyard near the Fremont Street Experience. It’s definitely worth the trip. Check out their website for more information.
Though neon has fallen to the wayside in favor of plasma, LCD, and now LED screens, YESCO has weathered the changes and is still used for many of these signs, including Wynn’s new sign.