Word comes from the Neon Museum that the wonderful La Concha Hotel lobby is being resurrected and pieced back together. Once re-assembled, it will serve as the Welcome Center for the Neon Museum. This is great news and we applaud the Neon Museum and the Friedmutter Group for their continuing efforts to preserve this wonderful building.
The early 1960s was a swinging time in Las Vegas mythology. The Rat Pack was holding their Summit at the Sands Hotel and all over the Strip, the stars of the day names blazed on marquees from one end of Las Vegas Blvd to the other. Downtown was known as Glitter Gulch with all that expansive neon shooting into the night time sky. It was in this mid-century atmosphere that renowned architect Paul Revere Williams designed the La Concha Hotel. Williams was known as the "Architect to the stars" and was world famous for his designs and architecture.
The La Concha was built on Las Vegas Blvd South and was located just south of the Riviera Hotel. Jack Dennison's Copper Cart Restaurant was next door in a Morrocan themed building that had once been Ash Resnick's Morrocan Restaurant.
Williams was the first well-known African American architect of his generation and he used the idea of curling shells of parabolic concrete to give the La Concha its distinctive, jet-age look.
The La Concha also had a pole sign that could be seen up and down the Strip.
But in the mid-2000s, with the changing face of the Strip all around it, the La Concha faced the wrecking ball. An international cry for help went out and people began a letter writing campaign to save the building. The owners, the Doumani family, opted to donate the building to the Neon Museum if the Neon Museum would pay to have the building moved. It took a great deal of time and fund raising but the Neon Museum successfully raised the money. Just before Christmas, 2006, the La Concha was parsed up and moved via flatbed truck to the Neon Boneyard where it awaited restoration.
Word came last week that the restoration has begun. There is still a long road ahead of the Neon Museum to turn their overfilling lots of signs into a Museum but at least they appear to be on their way.
The La Concha and its sign
The La Concha lobby at night
Being disassembled for its move
Being hoisted into the air
Waiting in the Neon Boneyard
Rising from the ashes
Special thanks to RoadsidePictures
and VegasTodayandTomorrow.com for allowing us to use their images.