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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Kodachrome Vegas: 1958

Kodachrome Vegas: 1958

Classic Las Vegas -- Fremont Street. 35mm Kodachrome film taken by my father-in-law, Woodrow Humphries. I'm guessing 1958 or so. The Westerner was open from 1950 to 1962. The Mint and The Boulder Club (with its famous sign) are on the right edge. The marquee above the Nevada Club was a late-'50s addition. Any other thoughts are welcome. I just noticed the VW Beetle! View full size.

More Cars

Behind the Beetle is what looks like a 1955 Plymouth (it's hard to tell), followed by a 1956 Pontiac. We had one of the Pontiacs; it was the first car I ever drove.

1959 Model

Behind the searchlight trailer it looks like there is a 1959 Mercury or Ford station wagon.

Since the dark wood does not appear to go above the front wheel it cannot be a 1958 Mercury, and since there is no center hood scoop it cannot be a 1958 Ford.

[The car is a 1959 Mercury Colony Park. - Dave]

A Roof Over It

Previous posters failed to mention that this part of downtown Vegas now has a roof over it. It is the called the Fremont Street Experience. It's referred to as a "light canopy." The screen contains 12.5 million synchronized LED lamps, including 180 strobes and eight robotic mirrors per block. You have to see it to believe it. As Mr. Mel mentioned, check out "Vegas" on CBS, 10 pm on Tuesdays. Great show set in the early 60s. Or watch the original Ocean's 11 movie, with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

Not Just a 58 Rambler

But a 1958 Rambler DeLuxe, which meant there was no side trim or excess chrome (though still more chrome than 10 cars put together by today's standards). And instead of two headlamps on each side, there is only one. Many were sold as fleet vehicles, taxis and government use.

I purchased this model in 1996 and restored it. Despite its clunky family car look, I won my share of awards and trophies. Mine had the pushbutton transmission.

Fremont Street

I was on Fremont Street just a couple of weeks ago. The Plaza Hotel is still there, recently remodeled. The Golden Nugget is probably the nicest hotel on the street, but the casino is pretty tight compared to Binion's across the street. The Golden Gate, right at the end of the street and across from the Plaza, has a really nice little cafe called Du Par's. The giant cowboy is still there and hopefully will be forever.

Live It Up (at the Union Plaza)

@rfleischer, The Union Pacific station continued to operate in that location as long as passenger trains served Las Vegas, Amtrak's 'Desert Wind' being the last scheduled train to leave the station in 1997.

There was a lovely moderne station on the site until it was demolished to make way for the Union Plaza Hotel (last I knew it was known simply as the Plaza). Passengers continued to be served by a station on the UP property connected to the hotel.

It was very convenient to step out of the train and into the hotel, as I did more than a few times. From time to time, there are reports or rumors of a LA - LV passenger train being resurrected but I wouldn't hold my breath.

@Vintagetvs Quite right! Before they tarted it up, "The Meadows" was a nice place to go for a tranquil holiday.

Visiting the old Golden Nugget

What a beautiful picture this is of the old downtown Vegas. I used to love visiting the old Golden Nugget years back. I loved the old downtown area when I was a young kid. My folks used to let us see downtown as we drove through Vegas to visit with my godfather who lived just outside of downtown. I later gambled and usually ate at the Golden Nugget casino there on visits in the early 70's. I loved the howdy pardner sign down the street. I remember when Glenn Manning who was the giant man from the "The Amazing Colossal Mant" movie, tore down the frontier and howdy partner sign on the set for the movie.

Henderson Home News

Here's a newspaper that shows the exact same headliners at the Nevada Club from August 20, 1959.

Car guy's eye

I noticed the '58 Rambler and '58 Chevy first thing. My first car was a '58 Rambler, a gift from my parents, well-used by the time I got it. It had its good points, but style was not one of them. The Chevy came from another universe; a universe where things were beautiful.

Tuesday Nights

You might get the feel of this place and time watching the new CBS show "Vegas".

Music music music

I see the Hilltoppers headlining the marquee, and their site lists them as being active from 1952 to 1957, so pretty good chance this is 1958.

Nice to see Vegas

before it got gaudy.

Stunning Image!

Kodachrome and Vegas neon; what a combination!

There's something about the way Kodachrome reacted to and rendered green that is always eye-catching, but this is just amazing.

I wonder if they still make Cibachrome prints?!??! I'll take this in a 24" x 36", gloss lammed, on black Gator Board, please.

Union Pacific

Seeing the Union Pacific depot at the far end of the street reminds me of riding the train. During the 50's my family would ride the Challenger from the East LA station to North Platte, Nebraska to visit relatives. When we stopped in Las Vegas, late at night. I would step off the train and watch the lights of Fremont Street while my dad had a cigarette. Thanks for the memory.

Neon Kodachrome

A beautiful photo. I love the colors. The 'CLUB' sign in the upper left corner has a curious appearance of neon green outlines at only the outermost points on the illuminated letters. A neat effect from however Kodachrome reacts to the combination of incandescent and neon lighting.

Is that a searchlight in front of the Nevada Club?

[The much-brighter incandescents are blown out (grossly over-exposed) either on the film or, more likely, the scan, thus bleeding over and obscuring the neon outlines. Film still has the edge over digital in dynamic range. - tterrace]

Kudos too

And parked at the curb at left, a 1958 Rambler.

Kudos

Amazing photo. Car is the foreground is a 1958 Chevrolet.

 
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