Once upon a time, Las Vegas ( Spanish for ‘the springs’) was a prosperous destination place. Fred Harvey had built a resort hotel, and trains brought tourists. The Plaza hotel, which is on the plaza, was rather swanky at one time. Management have just re-swanked it and apparently the movie ‘John Carpenter’s “Vampires”‘ was made right here.
That movie could have played at the curiously named ‘Serf’ theater.
It’s been years since Las Vegas was prosperous, so there is lots of lovely decay to photograph. Back when I was in college, I remember one of my professors * used to come to Las Vegas every weekend to photograph things. (I saw that he later published a book of photographs of concentration camps, but I would rather see his Las Vegas.)
Like this lovely old bank that sits catty-corner to the Plaza Hotel, across the plaza.
This building is a remnant of the railroad tourist boom. Fred Harvey did a lively trade in flogging Navajo art and rugs to the tourists. Some of it was tourist quality and some of it was museum quality. The core holdings of the Heard Museum in Phoenix came from the Fred Harvey collection.
There is a group of investors who bought the old railroad hotel and are attempting to modernize it and make Las Vegas a destination resort again. Perhaps it will actually happen, perhaps it will stay the same.
- The first time I ever went to Las Vegas was for a class assignment from this professor. It was to visit the State Mental Hospital.