In 2015, Derek and Greg Stevens purchased Fremont Street’s Las Vegas Club casino and several neighboring properties, including Mermaids and Topless Girls of Glitter Gulch. All told, it adds up one entire city block that the Stevens brothers intend to demolish and build up anew. It’s an exciting prospect—the first new resort-hotel to be built from scratch on Fremont Street in decades. And yet, our first thought upon hearing this good news was, what about the signs?
That block of Fremont features a number of vintage neon signs that feel pretty essential to the character of the street, including Vegas Vickie, the kicky neon cowgirl that debuted with Bob Stupak’s Glitter Gulch casino in 1980; the sign for Herb Pastor’s Golden Goose casino, circa 1974; and the giant “Las Vegas Club” letters themselves, which have been part of the streetscape for more than 60 years.
The idea of losing all this glowing history is unthinkable, and according to Derek Stevens, we can continue not thinking it. He says the signs will be saved, one way or another.
“In everything we’ve done, from the Golden Gate to [transforming] Fitzgerald’s into the D, we’ve tried to have a connection from the past to the future,” Stevens says. “The signs are going to be part of the design. Whether they’ll be internal or external, I’m not quite sure yet. … I’m a pretty big fan of Vegas history. I don’t see anything getting the wrecking ball.”
That said, he’s yet not sure what leftovers the Neon Museum might inherit, or even when demolition will begin (though late 2017/early 2018 seems likely). “We’re not at a point where we can commit [to] anything. … We’re pretty close to the end of our 50th—our 50th—design meeting. We’ve probably got another hundred or something to go.”
In the meantime, the signs will stay in place and Vegas Vickie will keep on kicking.