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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT: Surprising things to discover about Downtown Las Vegas and its history

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:18:19-04

When was the last time you enjoyed an afternoon in downtown Las Vegas? There is more to discover there than you might know – including a rich and fascinating history embodied in many of its buildings, like The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Check out just a few surprising facts about downtown Las Vegas below!

The Building Housing the Mob Museum was Once Las Vegas’ Tallest Structure

Today the building might seem dwarfed by Vegas’ towering casinos, but the federal courthouse and U.S. post office now housing the Mob Museum was the tallest building in the city when it was dedicated in 1933.

The building has only continued to make history, including in 1950, when its courtroom hosted a hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce.

The Arts District Has Been Offering Culture for 20 Years

Also known as 18b, representing its size of 18 blocks, the downtown Arts District was formed in 1998 to provide a hub for arts and culture in Las Vegas. Supported by the growing popularity of First Friday events, the Arts District includes the Cockroach Theatre and over 30 art galleries and studios.

The Neon Museum Preserves Hundreds of Historic Las Vegas Signs

Maintaining Las Vegas’ glittering heritage, the 2-acre Neon Museum houses over 200 neon signs from the city’s history. These include iconic signs from Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust.

Under the Las Vegas Signs Project, the Neon Museum has partnered with the city of Las Vegas to install restored signs from the museum collection along Las Vegas Boulevard.

The Design of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is Based on the Hoover Dam

A project 20 years in the making, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts might be just six years old, but its design is a throwback to Las Vegas history. The art deco architecture of this leading performing arts center is based on the style of the Hoover Dam, honoring the dam’s role in Las Vegas’ growth as a city.

Even the “Genius in Flight” statue in The Smith Center’s Grand Lobby is an homage to the iconic “Winged Figures of the Republic” statues found at the Hoover Dam.

Learn More

You can discover more about The Smith Center’s incredible story and how it fits into the history of downtown Las Vegas at the center’s free public tours!

The Smith Center offers multiple free tours weekly. To view the upcoming tour schedule and to register for a tour, click here or call 702-749-2000.


The above article was submitted by The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.