Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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Eddie Wieber is a former editor of Sign Business magazine. I n 2012, the Neon Museum opened a dedicated campus a few blocks from the Fremont Experience in downtown Las Vegas with a Jetson-style visitor center, its own "Boneyard" with a number of restored and working signs, and the North Gallery, where many other unrestored acquisi- tions are kept. The Neon Mother Lode Lately (i.e., in the past 20 years or so), a few neon museums have cropped up around the country. To wit: the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, California; the National Neon Sign Museum that recently opened in The Dalles, Oregon; another along a stretch of old downtown Pueblo, Colorado; and the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, which houses an eclectic collection of vintage neon signs from all over the U.S. Various neighbor- hoods in New York City, a stretch of the Boston Greenway, Beale Street in Memphis and countless other locales celebrate their iconic neon these days as well. Since the 1920s, when neon was first used for lit signage, it's come in and out of favor along Main Street, USA. Today it's come back into favor, at least in certain places— even considering that most electric signs are now lit with LEDs. What Stays in Vegas But in and out of favor never was the case in Las Vegas. When it comes to historical places, Las Vegas is but an infant, but when it comes to legendary neon signs, Las Vegas is where the historic mother lode is. And considering that Thomas Young delivered the first electric sign to a casino in Las Vegas back in the 1940s, the history of neon and the city of Las Vegas as we know it are about the same age. Neon helped travel- ing revelers find a place to stay in the desert back in the 1950s and 1960s. S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2019 • 21

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