The Las Vegas Cultural Corridor features everything from books and mobsters to the Old Mormon Fort.
Written by Temple Kinyon
The Las Vegas Cultural Corridor has enjoyed tremendous change over the past decade. Nestled in the heart of the city along Las Vegas Blvd. North, Corridor Coalition members include: the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the Neon Museum, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, the Las Vegas Library, and Cashman Center. While not physically located in the Corridor, The Mob Museum is also a participating member. Armed with their goal to be the “Downtown trail to arts, science, history, education, and family fun,” Corridor members have invigorated the area into a cultural base for residents and visitors to enjoy.
According to Marilyn Gillespe, executive director and founder of the LV Natural History Museum, “Coalition members had the idea to create a cultural pedestrian area.” The result of that collaboration with the City was completion in 2011 of the pedestrian bridge connecting cultural locations on each side of the street. “Since 95% of our patrons are here during the day, we wanted the bridge to be useful and attractive both during the day and night,” Marilyn explained. Corridor members were involved in the process and the City listened to their requests. Artist David Griggs was commissioned and drew inspiration from the cultural aspects of the Corridor to create the attractive piece, complete with touches of neon.
Both the City and Corridor members agree continued revitalization of the neighborhood over the past ten years has been key in meeting the Corridor’s goals. Recently, members painted the vacant Ukulele Lounge building, making it more pleasing to the eye outfitted with its new mural. Painting other abandoned buildings is also on the Coalition’s to-do list.
“Walking through the Neon Boneyard signs and learning their stories is like getting a history lesson on Las Vegas,” Dawn Merritt, public relations and marketing director, the Neon Museum.
Other enhancements to the Corridor include: the Natural History Museum receiving a facelift; the Neon Museum procuring additional vintage signs and locating their visitor’s center to the former La Concha Motel; the Las Vegas Library amassing remarkable gaming and local histories, along with a large Spanish language collection; and creation of the Mob Museum with its bold and authentic anthology showcasing organized crime’s impact on Las Vegas. Cashman Center continued as the home of the Las Vegas 51s and the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort steadfastly maintained the story of our simple and proud beginnings.
The success of the past decade’s collaboration between Corridor Coalition members and the City shows in the revitalization of the neighborhood, a beautiful bridge for ease of access, and presentation of our culture in a fresh and inviting way, all while maintaining Las Vegas’ rich history.