Saturday, April 23, 2016

Neon Museum and Hoover Dam

Boy, we have been busy! I am looking forward to a quiet Sunday to rest up (and do a little weaving.) But let me tell you about our Friday.

After we spent much of Thursday walking around Las Vegas we were ready for something else to do. I found this little museum called the Neon Museum not very far from the campground, where old neon signs are restored and displayed. We had to check it out.

The office of the museum is housed in the historic La Concha Motel building, newly restored and very beautiful. The mosaic inside is a reproduction of the original one that was displayed in the reception area.
Our tour was led by Amy, a volunteer docent who leads tours on her one day off a week. Amy is passionate about neon signs and really knows her stuff.
And oh, the stories behind the signs! We visited "The Boneyard," where the signs are kept, some of them restored.
The Green Shack was originally located next to the Hoover Dam, and the owner sold bootleg whisky out her kitchen window. When the dam was finished and the men left, she moved to Las Vegas. Her business was very popular in the 1930s.
We saw the sign from the Stardust Hotel....
...and the Sahara.
But my favorite stories were the ones told about simple signs like this one. This MiniMart was located outside of Vegas, and they did, indeed, give away free aspirin. It was said that you could give them $20 to hold, go into the casinos to gamble, and when you lost all your money you would go back to the MiniMart. The owner would return your $20 so you could afford gas to get home.
The Frontier was where Elvis first performed. The audience hated his music and lewd movements so much that they ran him out of town, not to return for many years.
This statue was created by an artist who showed up for the museum tour last week. He was very upset to see that his work had been painted and the figure given a Hawaiian shirt. He had intended it to remain unpainted with a rust finish.

After we left the Neon Museum we went back to pick up Auggie and drove to the Hoover Dam. We learned about the building of it from the Boulder City Hotel Museum, near the Dam.

It is truly an amazing structure and a fascinating part of our history. Here are some fun facts to know and tell:
  • The Hoover Dam is 726 ft tall, 171 ft taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
  • The base of the Hoover Dam is as thick as two football fields measured end to end.
  • There is enough concrete in the Hoover Dam to build a two lane road from Seattle, WA to Miami, FL, or a four foot wide sidewalk around the Earth at the Equator.
  • Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US and contains enough water to flood the entire state of NY with 1 foot of water.
  • Between 1931 and 1936, when the dam was built 96 men were killed in industrial accidents. None, however, were buried in the concrete.
On Saturday we drove 208 miles to our next campsite in Utah, where we will be for at least a week.

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