Entries in Preservation Spotlgiht (13)

Preservation Spotlight: Clay Heximer, neighborhood preservationist


You may know Clay Heximer. He recently was profiled by writer Geoff Carter in Vegas Seven as "The Man Who Would Be Mid-Town"

But many of us have known Clay for quite some time. He and his wife Denise live in Paradise Palms, the wonderful Mid-Century Modern housing tract that surrounds the National Golf Course, just off Desert Inn behind the Boulevard Mall.

When I was growing up in Las Vegas in the 1960s, the National Golf Course was then known as the Stardust Golf Course. But it wasn't the golf course that caught my eye. It was the houses, most of which were visible from the car as you drove down East Desert Inn.

Those wonderful Palmer and Krisel were space age wonders and very different from the Sproul homes in my own neighborhood in Charleston Heights.

Clay and Denise live in Paradise Palms and their successful community outreach and history sharing has inspired many of their neighbors to learn more about their homes and the history of the neighborhood.

Clay started a website dedicated to the neighborhood, called appropriately enough, Paradise Palms and, like Joel Rosales, has been photographing the changing landscape of the city and the county.

Clay has been organizing and fighting to bring Historic Preservation ordinances to Clark County and he has been successful in convincing others to join his cause.

As we close Preservation Month and the Preservation Spotlight series winds down, it was important to me to include a grass-roots leader of history and preservation in the series.

Clay graciously agreed to answer some questions and spread the word about the importance of our neighborhoods, all of our historic neighborhoods.

CLV Blog:  How did you become interested in preserving Southern Nevada history?

 Heximer: Before moving to town I remember taking a family trip to Las Vegas. I recall sitting in the back of my uncle’s station wagon, driving down the strip. I was in awe of all the neon but I specifically thought the Stardust sign was the coolest thing ever. Since then, I just knew there was something special about this place and had gained an appreciation for classic Vegas.

 When I was 19, I worked with a construction company that was contracted the prep the Dunes for implosion. I remember being taken back by the celebration of the destruction of our history and was shocked by the disregard for

Read more at ClassicLasVegasBlog.com

Preservation Spotlight: Karan Feder, Costume/Clothing preservationist

Costume sketch of "Showboat" costume from Hallelujah, Hollywood! production number  Photo courtesy of Karan Feder 

I had heard about Karan Feder's work as clothing and costume preservationist before I met her last September.  When our paths finally did cross, it was because my mother was moving to a Senior Living establishment and the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas was interested in some of her and my late dad's vintage clothing (my mother had outfits dating back to the late 1960s/early 1970s).

Karan has long been interested in preserving clothing but the classic Las Vegas era from the 1950s-1980s with its entertainers, showroom production numbers and the way that people used to dress to see a show, is of special interest to her.

She is the President of Entertainment Exhibitions and the Volunteer Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas.

We had a great time talking about the challenges of preserving clothing and costumes:. (From the interview):

Feder: Another artifact of great interest to me is a one-of-a-kind Vegas stage costume donated to the museum. This is a large costume, as much sculpture as costume, measuring 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 5 feet tall. The costume is fashioned to resemble a paddlewheel boat.  Towering above the boat-portion, a marquee reads "Show Boat." There is a small handle crank on the right side of the costume that would have connected to the rear paddlewheel mechanism to create a realistic paddlewheel spin. 

The donation included a few additional boxes of parts, pieces and accessories that were said to go with the costume. It was easy enough to identify the matching cap, bowtie, cuffs and panties found in the parts & pieces boxes, but what to do with the included various lengths of pleated, sequined and ruffled trim pieces? 

Conservation and research continues, but with the help of the local entertainment community, the costume is now identified from the Vegas stage show Hallelujah Hollywood which ran from 1974-1980 at the

To read more of this fascinating interview, go to ClassicLasVegasBlog.com


Preservation Spotlight: Heidi Swank, preservationist

I first met Heidi about eight years ago when we were both involved in the early days of the Atomic Age Alliance, an organization dedicated to Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas.  She and her husband were both passionate about Mid-Century Modern architecture and wanted to learn more about Las Vegas' role in that history.

She and her husband, Scott, have a MCM home in the historic Beverly Green neighborhood that they have lovingly restored. They live in a 1956 Cinderella ranch designed by Hugh Taylor for Rose and Louis Molasky the parents of Irwin Molasky. They co-founded the popular Flamingo Club- a roving, invitation-only neighborhood mixer whose motto is “Building community one cocktail party at a time."

She is dedicated to the worthy idea that our classic homes are worth saving. While Las Vegas experienced tremendous growth in the final decades of the 20th century and early 21st century, its original neighborhoods offer a look back at not only how the city grew but through its architecture offers insight to those years before the explosion boom and what was important to the residents who owned those homes.


Beverly Green neighborhood  Photo courtesy of Las Vegas CityLife

In addition to be elected to the Nevada State Assembly for District 16, she is also the Exective Director of the Nevada Preservation Foundation.

The NPF is a "non-profit that provides historic designation and grant support to neighborhoods, homeowners, and business owners who reside in a historic area or own a historic building. The Foundation supplies much needed support to navigate the extensive process of obtaining local, state, or federal historic designations. Once designated the Foundation also provides grant-writing support and functions as a clearinghouse for grants benefiting historic districts/homes. As more of our state’s architectural past ages into eligibility for historic designation, it is important for the stability of our communities that we work to maintain our history."

Despite her very busy schedule, we were able to interview her for this series.

CLV Blog:  How did you become interested in preserving Southern Nevada history?

 Swank: As an anthropologist by training, I have long been interested in the ways in which our past makes us who we are today. In particular, I'm interested in how our built environment and the ways in which space is used in these homes reflects and impacts how we see them, how we use them, and how we understand ourselves.

 One of the more interesting things about Southern Nevada history is that there isn't a lot of time depth. Many people discount the area because of this saying we don't have any history. However, because our history is relatively new it is in many ways more interesting.

We don't have hundreds of years of

Read more at ClassicLasVegasBlog.com

Preservation Spotlight: Mark Hall-Patton, historian

You've probably seen on on TV- from the local access Clark County channel to History Channel's Pawn Stars to talking with the late Huell Howser on Road TripMark Hall-Patton is one of the most recognizable faces of local history.

With his Amish-like beard, ever-present Atwood hat and relaxed manner, Mark has become a favorite of producers when they want someone to talk about Las Vegas Valley history. He oversees the Clark County Museum system, including the Clark County Museum out on Boulder Highway - the home of Heritage Street, the Searchlight Museum and the Cannon Aviation Museum at McCarran Airport.

He also is the history advisor on the very popular Pawn Stars cable show. Despite his busy schedule and the fact he was planning an out-of-town trip, we were able to persuade him to answer a few questions.

CLV Blog: How did you become interested in Las Vegas history?

MHP: I came to the Vegas area in December 1993 to help create and manage a museum at McCarran International Airport.  Now known as the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum, I had to do a great deal of research to know the history I was presenting. 

As a local historian anywhere I reside, I began researching Las Vegas and Clark County history.  I found our history interesting, but with many holes which led me to more research.  In 2008 I was asked by the County to take over the entire Clark County museum system (3 museums, including the Clark County Museum, Searchlight History Museum, and the Cannon Aviation Museum). 

Read more of the interview at ClassicLasVegasBlog.com

Preservation Spotlight: Joel Rosales, photographer


Today we shine our Preservation Spotlight on Joel Rosales. While you may not know Joel's name, chances are you are familiar with his photographs. For over ten years now, Joel has been documenting the changing landscape of Las Vegas and the surrounding Valley. From hotel demolitions to neon signage to historic neighborhoods, Joel has been photographing it.

Another native son, Joel has a keen interest in our history and our past. Through his original website, LeavingLV.net and now LostandFoundVegas.com, Joel has been sharing his photographs, memorabilia and photo collections with the world. 

I met Joel back around 2005-2006 when I began hosting panel discussions at the Nevada State Museum and have been a big fan of his work ever since. His dedication to documenting our history often means he is up before dawn heading to yet another location that will become a place that isn't there anymore but will live on in his photographs.

Joel was more than happy to answer a few questions and share his thoughts on the City, its history and his passion for preserving it.

CLV Blog:  How did you become interested in Las Vegas history?

 Rosales: Having been born and raised here I never really understood what Las Vegas really was to the world.  As I watched movies and read books that are much older than I am, I began to realize what a unique and storied history we have right here in my very own home town and began seeking out the places I'd seen and read about.  When the realization came that most of these places are long gone, I began delve much deeper into their stories and made myself


Read more of the interview at ClassicLasVegasBlog.com

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