Welcome to the fine art blog of San Diego photographer Stefanie Poteet. Here you will find photographs of everything from vintage hot rods to rubber ducks and everything in between.

If you are interested in Stefanie's wedding and event photography or portraiture, please visit her client blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Motel Monday - You're a Shining Star

Baby You're a Star
On my last trip to Las Vegas I made sure to take a tour of the Neon Museum, commonly referred to as the Boneyard. The museum has been saving signs since 1996 and currently boasts over 150 donated and rescued signs. It's also been responsible for the restoration and installation of several formerly retired neon signs around Las Vegas and managed to save the iconic lobby of the historic La Concha Hotel which closed in December 2003. I'll have to tell you more about the concrete paraboloid building and it's architect another time...

Yes, I paid attention on the museum tour. My guide would be so proud.

You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with today's Motel Moday post. Well here goes... The majority of the signs in the boneyard are the original products of Young Electric Sign Company, more commonly known as YESCO. You can see their logo on the bottom of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. YESCO loans out signs to the casinos and then trades old signs for brand new ones as the need arises. The retired signs are then turned over to the boneyard.

According to my museum guide, YESCO currently has a grandfather, father and son team working for them as their neon crafters. When interviewed, the son stated it takes about 10 years to master the art of bending or curving neon tubes for signs. He said they also receive several inquiries about custom signs, but many people are discouraged by the cost. Expressed in it's simplest form, neon signs cost approximately $20 per bend in the neon tube. Not only does this explain how expensive neon is to maintain, but it makes me marvel even more at today's Motel Monday feature.

The Starlite Motel opened in 1952 in North Las Vegas on what used to be called Main Street. Not surprisingly the street was later renamed to Las Vegas Boulevard North. The Starlite still seems to function as a genuine motel and the neon sign out front has been impeccably maintained. I didn't see a broken tube or an unlit star on either side.
Did I mention it's 60 years old? I'd love to look that good at 60.

Happy Monday!

- Stefanie

No comments: