Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Neon / Atomic Testing
Neon lighting, introduced in Paris in 1910, offered a brilliant, and efficient, alternative to the incandescent light bulb. In the United States, neon's popularity soared, used to advertise motels, restaurants, theatres, and it even appeared on the Goodyear Blimp. The spectacular signs of Broadway's "Great White Way" became the ultimate neon display.
Then, just as quickly, its popularity faded. After World War II, skilled neon craftsmen retired and were not replaced; less expensive, mass-produced plastic signs became common. As the use of neon declined around the country, it found a new, unexpected life in Las Vegas. The first neon sign in Las Vegas was built in 1929, probably for the Oasis Café at 123 Fremont Street. The 1940s and 1950s saw the birth of the Las Vegas Strip and "Glitter Gulch" downtown. The hotels raced each other for the biggest, tallest, and brightest casino sign.
Las Vegas wanted to project an image of lights, glamour, and excitement, and neon played a large role in creating that image. The signs dwarf the very buildings they are advertising; at night in Las Vegas, the signs themselves become the architecture. Neon has gaiety, joy, and pageantry. The canvas is the night.
Many locals and tourist traveled to Mount Charleston to better view the blasts. The mushroom cloud became a symbol of the times. Atomic hairdos, atomic cocktails, and Miss Atomic Bomb contest became part of Las Vegas culture. Testing moved underground in 1963, after a treaty was signed by the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Controversy arose over the issue of the "Downwinders," who were exposed to radiation in the fallout patterns. Health problems for those exposed to the radiation, including soldiers who participated in the tests, are a tragic by-product of the era. The last underground test was September 23, 1993. A portion of the site, Yucca Mountain, is currently being developed for storage of nuclear waste.
Erected 2005 by The Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is on the north side of the pedestrian mall at North 3rd Street. Marker is in this post office area: Las Vegas NV 89101, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. El Portal Theatre (within shouting distance of this marker); The Flame Restaurant (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Nevada Motel (about 400 feet away); Chief Hotel Court (about 400 feet away); Fremont Street (about 500 feet away); Aladdin's Lamp (about 600 feet away); County Courthouses (about 700 feet away); Historic Preservation (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Las Vegas.
Also see . . . Atomic Testing Museum. There is a museum in Las Vegas called "The National Atomic Testing Museum", which has many photographs and exhibits about the testing. A real eye opener. (Submitted on March 17, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California.)
Categories. • Entertainment • Science & Medicine • War, Cold •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 1, 2011, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 917 times since then. This page was the Marker of the Week January 27, 2013. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on October 1, 2011, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 14. submitted on January 26, 2013. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.