This is a two sided marker
Standing on Fremont Street today, it's hard to visualize the canvas tents with hand-painted wooden signs that lined this dusty street and served as hotels, saloons, shops and banks in the early 1900's. During the transition from a frontier town to a neon-lined gambling extravaganza, Fremont Street, named after explorer John C. Fremont, has remained at the heart of downtown Las Vegas. For many decades, Fremont Street was where residents shopped, teenagers cruised, and tourist played.
Early on, canvas tents were replaced with wood, brick, and concrete block buildings in the Romanesque, Victorian and Greek Revival styles. Like a typical western town, wide arcades and broad canopies with carved balustrades extended from high false fronts over the boardwalk. Corner buildings had angled entrances to take advantage of the busy intersection. The most historic survivor of the era is Golden Gate Hotel & Casino (then Hotel Nevada), which open in 1906 at One Fremont Street. The hotel was built using concrete as the primary building material by John F, Miller, who bid successfully on the corner lot at the 1905 land auction that created the new town of Las Vegas.
The sudden influx of tourism triggered by the construction of Hoover Dam and the legalization of gambling in the early 1930s fit perfectly with a "Wild West" theme that Las Vegas promoted, attracting thousands of visitors. Soon "sawdust joints" with wooden swinging or sliding glass doors replaced most of the smaller businesses along Fremont Street. Businesses had names like The Frontier Club and Hotel Apache, with signs rising above the rooftops with ornate western lettering and bright contrasting neon colors.
During the 1940s, Fremont Street exploded with neon as signs became larger and more innovatively arranged, battling to catch the consumer's eye. Modern streamline styles appeared in sign design and many casinos featured lighted overhead canopies and large, rounded, ever-flashing bull nose corners. The height of signs kept increasing, with the famous Las Vegas Club sign rising 120 feet above the sidewalk. Open frame sign appeared on rooftops, and combined with large marquees, they created neon "wraps" that covered the entire building fa?ade with dazzling light. The most spectacular "wrap" was created at the Golden Nugget in 1956.
In the 1950s and 1960s the introduction of high-rise towers forever changed the scale of Fremont Street. Casinos expanded, absorbing neighboring businesses, exemplified by the Horseshoe Club's takeover of Boulder Club and later the Mint. Wild West imagery remained popular, personified by the 1951 "Vegas Vic" sign, which waved at visitors with a friendly "Howdy Podner" from atop the Pioneer Club.
Due to its roots of spectacular lights, the biggest big-screen on the planet, Viva Vision, dazzles over 25,000 visitors nightly with free light and sound shows, and has become the signature attraction of the Fremont Street Experience. This canopy was built in 1995 and contains over 12 million LED lights and has a 550,000-watt sound system. Even with all these profound changes over the last 100 years, much of the history of Las Vegas still exists under the layers of neon on Fremont Street.