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Preserving Las Vegas history, Huntridge Theater among 11 endangered sites

Posted at 6:53 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 23:38:08-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Preserve Nevada, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Nevada’s cultural, historical, and archeological heritage, is highlighting the state's 11 most endangered sites in 2021.

From Las Vegas to Reno, budget cuts brought on by the pandemic are causing financial pressure to keep eleven historic sites open. Theaters, burial grounds, schools and even Nevada’s Indigenous Languages could all be shut down because of lack of funding. Wildfires are also a huge threat to the existence of some of these sites. “Preserve Nevada” is the state’s first statewide historic preservation organization and is trying to create awareness.

Preserve Nevada director and UNLV history associate professor Michael Green explains: "History links us in so many ways. Frankly, a lot of what we do in life is in itself tied to history. History can seem distant but it’s also very individual. All of us have a history. These little strands, we little strands, form this big ball of twine if you want to put it that way."

One site hits close to home. The historic Huntridge Theater in Downtown Las Vegas has been a staple in the community since 1944 and became the first desegregated theater in Las Vegas. The theater is built on land that used to be owned by international businessman Leigh S-J Hunt.

RELATED: Huntridge Theater renovation plans continue

"If you grew up here, as I did, that’s one of the main places you went to the movies. For a lot of long-time Las Vegans that’s a special memory. The Huntridge covers a lot of ground in terms of World War II Las Vegas, childhood and culture here and certainly our history of segregation," says Green.

There are plans to reconstruct the theater but Green says preserving it and other historic sites will always be a challenge. That’s why community members, government and nonprofit agencies are coming together to raise awareness and encourage the community to help fund and preserve these sites.

MORE: Dapper Companies to purchase and renovate Huntridge Theater

You can check out Preserve Nevada and how you can help here.