When developer Irwin Molasky built the the Paradise Palms neighborhood in the 1960s, along with the adjacent Boulevard Mall, the question was “Who’s going to go way out there?” There wasn’t much happening beyond Eastern Avenue.
But residents filed into the stylish neighborhood’s low-slung modern homes designed by Southern California architects Dan Palmer and William Krisel, and the mall became a popular hangout, drawing shoppers away from Downtown stores.
A Place in Paradise... The Quintessential Las Vegas Neighborhood, at the Boulevard Mall, revisits the neighborhood and mall, when both were new developments in a mostly empty valley.
- A Place in Paradise... The Quintessential Las Vegas Neighborhood
- Boulevard Mall’s food court, 3528 S. Maryland Pkwy.
The exhibit, curated by Brian "Paco" Alvarez, features images from the archives of the Las Vegas News Bureau, including large-scale black-and-white aerial photographs that highlight the expanse of the neighborhood surrounding Stardust Golf Course (now National Golf Course) where residents lived alongside celebrities who were performing on the Strip.
Interior shots of Las Vegas’ first mall accompany images of its lengthy construction. Other images feature the celebrities who lived or stayed in the area.
The valley grew, extending newer housing outward. Some of the Paradise Palms homes fell victim to shoddy renovations or neglect. But in recent years, residents have reclaimed the mid-century homes and bonded over the neighborhood's history, establishing a Social Club for residents who meet up and different homes and pushing for historic designation of the area.
Many of its residents, current and former, turned out for the opening reception, including Juergen Barbusca. As a child he moved into the neighborhood and lived just down the street from the “Sahara House,” which accommodated celebrities performing at that hotel. So ingrained were they with the neighborhood that his mother, Erica, once drove Jim Nabors to the airport.
Paradise Palms resident Clay Heximer, who has been leading the neighborhood’s organizing efforts and created a Paradise Palms website, says the exhibit is a good educational tool for new residents to the area, a way to connect them to the history.