Some people don’t believe that Las Vegas has a real history that it likes to keep – just look at how many casinos have literally gone up in smoke to make way for the next new thing.
Well, there are people working to change that by preserving historic buildings and neighborhoods all over the valley.
And Las Vegas could soon have another historic downtown neighborhood if the Nevada Preservation Foundation makes its way.
Heidi Swank is the executive director of the foundation and happens to live in the Beverly Green neighborhood, which is bordered by Oakey Boulevard to the north, St. Louis Avenue to the south, Rexford Drive to the west and 6th Street to the east.
Swank said several prominent Las Vegans lived in the neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. It also features 200 custom homes, which she described as “flawless examples of mid-century architecture”.
“So there are many social and many architectural reasons this is historical,” explained Swank.
One of the biggest hurdles to being labeled a Historic District is that 51 percent of property owners have to endorse it.
For two years, Swank and the Foundation hosted neighborhood meetings, sent out mailers, and answered questions from residents about what it really means to be a historic neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there just because we don’t have a lot of historic neighborhoods in Las Vegas about what it means to be in a neighborhood,” said Swank. “This only applies to the street view of your home. If you want to gouge yourself out, renovate the inside of your home … nothing stopping you from being in a historic neighborhood.”
Swank said based on what happened in other cities, when a neighborhood is designated as a historic neighborhood, home values will rise slightly and fall more slowly in a slowing market.
Perhaps more importantly, as a neighborhood becomes a historic neighborhood, property owners tend to be more repairing their homes, which encourages neighbors to do the same. Swank said it happened in the John S. Park neighborhood of Las Vegas.
“Because you’ve worked so hard with your neighbors and learned all of this through your neighborhood’s history, people are more likely to take pride in the look of their home,” she said.
The Nevada Preservation Foundation is hosting a Vintage Vegas Home Tour this May featuring some of the city’s most interesting and historic homes.
Swank announced that the reception for those paying a VIP ticket for the tour will take place at casino owner Jackie Gaughan’s iconic apartment upstairs in downtown El Cortez hotel-casino. The VIP tickets are $ 100 and the general public pre-sale tickets are $ 45.