Googie architecture is running out in Las Vegas after the wedding chapel fire

A closed wedding chapel that burned down in January is believed to be one of the last vestiges of futuristic architecture that once populated the streets of Las Vegas from the Boulder Highway to the Strip.

Known for its protruding angles and wall-to-wall windows, the Googie architecture was seen in the iconic former Stardust and is still featured on the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and even on a McDonald’s on Paradise Road in near East Sahara Avenue.

A McDonald’s with Googie architecture and a neon sign of the original mascot Speedee on Paradise Road on Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 14, 2021. (Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto

January 12th blazed at 1431 Las Vegas Blvd. South destroyed the googie gem in downtown Las Vegas that was originally built as Bob’s Big Boy.

As a result, the investigators recovered the body of 30-year-old Steven Warren. Almost two months later, on March 8, the Las Vegas Fire Department announced that a second body had been recovered. The crews dug up the debris last week looking for more victims as well as evidence of what could have started the fire.

The damage was estimated at over $ 1 million and the insurance company continued to work with the fire department to investigate the cause of the fire on Monday.

According to Cynthia Ammerman, executive director of the Nevada Preservation Foundation, Googie architecture gave shape to space exploration that fascinated Americans between the 1940s and 1970s. The work has been shown most commonly in the construction of cafes, restaurants, car washes, motels, and signs.

Flamingo Collision Center, formerly Pete Findlay's Oldsmobile Showroom, one of the last ...
The Flamingo Collision Center, formerly the Pete Findlay Oldsmobile Showroom, one of the last remaining space-age buildings, influenced Googie architecture in Las Vegas at 3024 Fremont Street on Sunday March 14, 2021. (Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review- Journal) @csstevensphoto

Ammerman said Bob’s Big Boy’s wedding chapel was designed by Armet Davis & Newlove, a Santa Monica, California-based group of architects who have been promoting restaurants, cafes, and churches since 1947. A googie-style sketch of the Romeos on the company’s website The Times Square restaurant in Los Angeles is on the front page.

“Think about what was going on with the space age then. The Jetsons are a googie, ”said Ammerman. “Strange geometric shapes, anything you can think of could be in the sky or futuristic is manifesting.”

Bob’s Big Boy opened its first Las Vegas location on November 8, 1966 in the now-burned building north of East Oakey Boulevard. It’s been named a favorite in Southern California since 1937, with 450 locations and an infamous double-deck hamburger, according to an article from the Business section of the Review Journal that month.

It was unclear from records when the Bob’s Big Boy was bought out, but by 1989 the restaurant had become a wedding chapel. After seven changes of ownership, the youngest owners filed for bankruptcy in September 2019. They closed a wedding chapel for good, and in February, Stratorise LLC petitioned the court for payment of debtors with the insurance money from the fire.

A former wedding chapel, once a Bob's Big Boy that burned down in January, is in ...
A former wedding chapel, once a Bob’s Big Boy that burned down in January, is pictured in downtown Las Vegas on Sunday, March 14, 2021. It was one of the last remaining buildings designed by Goet in the space age and designed by Armet Davis & Newlove, who created many of the most iconic Googie-style cafes and restaurants. (Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review-Journal) @csstevensphoto

Ammerman said the Nevada Preservation Foundation did not have an updated record of the building’s history that would include a building’s cultural, political, and historical significance in the city. The organization is working to catalog all of the building histories for the city of Las Vegas to determine which other properties are not yet on record.

“Any building that has this type of facade, the stone that is just as integrated into the street scene as it is, and that creates the landscape as (Las Vegas Boulevard) works with the historic buildings on the street – these are ideal buildings for that preserve, ”she said last week, discouraged by the loss of the story. “This building had been adapted and reused in its lifetime. We are always in favor of cheering a building for a new use, a new purpose in its next life. “

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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