"Vegas has changed a lot since 1945. 
Hell, Vegas has changed a lot since 1985..."

-Brian Leming, neon sign designer


Welcome to Classic Las Vegas where we are dedicated to helping preserve the real history of Las Vegas.

For the record, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel did not create or build Las Vegas.  There was a town with people here long before he arrived. The real history of Las Vegas is the story of incredible courage and of desperation; of tragedy and heroic deeds; of injustice and of compassion.  And ultimately, of good guys trumping the bad guys. 

It is the rich and textured story of everyday men and women who turned a dusty railroad town into the Entertainment Capital of the World. These hard working men and woman set the stage for Las Vegas to become the metropolisof the 21st Century. Travelers from around the world now enjoy world classentertainment, 24-hour fun and incredible Las Vegas hotel deals that have made Vegas both affordable to the masses and exciting to the high rolling gaming community. Without the everyday men and women of the past, the LasVegas of today would be a very different place and we believe their history is worth saving. This is the story, in their words, of the real Las Vegans-- the mom and pop business owners, the housewives, the waiters, dealers, dancers, showgirls, the performers, the head-liners, the trailblazers, the visionaries, the natives.

Our History Matters

Classic Las Vegas is dedicated to helping preserving this unique history before it is lost forever.  So far we have conducted 130 video oral histories with these courageous pioneers. Along with the preservation and archiving of photos, memorabilia, home movies, journals and letters we are creating an archive and a resource for anyone interested in the real history of this amazing town.

Video interviews and memorabilia archived for the public

We believe that it is vital to preserve this unique history not only for today but for future generations, too.  History is what binds us to our community and helps us call that place home.  These stories remind us all of the sacrifices that were made to make Las Vegas a better place to live for everyone. All of the video interviews, personal photos, documents and home movies that we have archived will ultimately be housed in the Lied Library's Special Collections at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Historical documentary film:
this is the first time many of these voices have been heard

In addition to the video oral histories, our accomplishments include a “work in progress” documentary film.  In June 2005, we screened “The Story of Classic Las Vegas” to a capacity audience at the CineVegas Film Festival.  The response was overwhelming.  The living interviews presented a moving history of Las Vegas told in the very words of those who made that history. Order your own copy of this documentary on DVD today!

The Classic Las Vegas Blog and upcoming events

Our companion blog, “Classic Las Vegas” is filled with stories about these amazing pioneers, photos, and lots of fun and historical information.  The blog is updated several times a week and we encourage you to bookmark it and become a regular reader.

We hold monthly events at various museums throughout the Las Vegas Valley.  These events feature many of our interviewees in roundtable discussions talking about living in Las Vegas and the history they helped create.  It is a great way of learning first hand about the history of the town.  These events are open to the public and cover a myriad of subjects.

We love to preserve the history that is Classic Las Vegas, but at the same time we like to promote the future of our beautiful city. Planning a visit to Las Vegas? We recommend visiting one of the experts in Vegas that know the ins and outs of the travel and tourism landscape. Try EarlyVegas.com where you will find valuable Las Vegas coupons and fresh, up to date Vegas show deals, hotel promo codes, club deals, dining credits, pool reviews and tour specials.

Your help will make this historical preservation project possible

With some very generous contributions, our project is aggressively preserving the history of Las Vegas not only for future generations but for the hundreds of thousands of new arrivals to Southern Nevada who would love to learn more about this place they will call home.

You too can be a can become a supporting member of our team and contribute to this important preservation effort. Visit our contributors page to find out how!

We hope you share our passion for 20th Century Las Vegas. After visiting this site, if you are as excited about saving the history of Las Vegas as we are, please contact us. Also, please sign our guest book to stay updated on the progress of our project and to hear about our upcoming special events.


"True pioneer spirit back then, everybody looked out for one another. There was a camaraderie that doesn't exist anymore, but that's the price you pay for growth... " 

-Steve Cutler, resident of Las Vegas since 1953

Preserving the memories of the Vegas that was…  
...one interview at a time.

© 2005 As We Knew It, LLC
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