Las Vegas as an enduring outpost of the American West

On an almost spring-like day, the 4 pm tour brought together Sal and Jennifer from Oregon; Jim and Debbie from Seattle., and Brian from Wisconsin. They had signed up to learn some history and they seemed to get the part about Las Vegas as an enduring outpost of the American West, defined first by its rail road history and then as America’s first gambling Main Street. Starting on the steps of the Mob Museum always instills a sense of past and present, bookends that allow the tour to unfold in personal, yet unexpected ways. On Third Street, we paused at Ace Pawn, one of the oldest such shops, and Brian wondered aloud about once seeing a gold tooth in the window, maybe giving its owner the funds to get back home? The lore of local pawn can be intriguing. At Main Street Station with its exuberant display of Belle Epoch antiques, Sal noted an interesting nod to today’s Steam Punk culture. The Seattleites, world travelers of sorts, smiled at Downtown’s midcentury neon architecture and saluted their own Space Needle of the era. We paused at the fire spouting Mantis as sunset – and they all scurried on to more evening events, but not without Debbie proclaiming, “This was almost as good as Elton John!” Some testimonial.