Las Vegas Heritage Sites
Las Vegas Heritage Sites begin with historic black churches, Harrison House, Walker African-American Museum and West Las Vegas Library Theatre. They includes Moulin Rouge, the first black-oriented casino located in the historically black district of Las Vegas, north of Downtown.
Downtown Las Vegas
DESCRIPTION: From 1920-1940s, African-Americans owned a large portion of downtown property; common businesses were shoe shine parlors, a hotel, hair, cafe, nightclub, small gambling clubs, newsstand, and newspaper businesses. Today, Fremont Street bisects those streets with the oldest and second largest collection of casino hotels in Las Vegas. African-Americans also occupied 10 acres of land behind the Stardust Hotel.
DAYS & HOURS: 24/7
ADDRESS: 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Stewart streets, Las Vegas, NV MAP
Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino Historic Site
DESCRIPTION: Opened around 24 May 1955, Moulin Rouge had the class of a Strip casino resort, yet targeted Black patrons. It was owned by a diverse group of investors and attracted Sammy Davis Jr., Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and many other black stars. Former boxing champ Joe Lewis was given an ownership interest in the casino to serve as a greeter. At first owners on the predominantly mob-owned Strip welcomed it because it let them easily continue discrimination and tell would-be Black patrons to go to the Moulin Rouge. Casino owners on the Strip did not expect white celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Edward G. Robinson, Carey Grant and others to go there for the 2:30am show that became the hottest in town. We can deduce that the Mob did not like so much money diverted from their casinos on The Strip. Amazingly for such a successful venue, a number of circumstances were engineered to ensure that it closed only 6 months later in 1955. Without direct evidence, but certainly Mob implications, it went bankrupt. Suddenly, it reopened for the New Year’s holiday of 1956-57. Over the years it operated as a motel and bar without a casino, but never operated as a full casino again. In 1960, it hosted a meeting for Governor Grant Sawyer and civic leaders to sign an NAACP agreement to end segregation on the Strip. In 1992, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It reopened, again on a limited basis in 1993-1996. All that remains is the historic site, given the iconic sign resides at the Las Vegas Neon Museum.
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 900 West Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, NV MAP
Walker African-American Museum
From over 50 years of private collections, the museum preserves the history of people of African descent in Southwest Nevada. It hosts over 10,000 items consisting of ethnic dolls, art, artifacts, figurines, posters, prints, books, magazines, buttons, records, and personal items of renown African-Americans and more. A stop at the gift shop features Afrocentric art, gifts, greeting cards, fashion and accessories.
DAYS & HOURS: Reopens late 2015
ADDRESS: 705 West Van Buren Avenue, Las Vegas, NV MAP
Harrison House, built in 1942, was one of several boarding houses in the neighborhood during the 1940s and 1950s that hosted Sammy Davis Jr, Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and other black performers who worked in Las Vegas casinos; Harrison House is one of th few still standing; the beginning of the end for these boarding houses came when the Moulin Rouge opened in 1955, followed by desegregation of Las Vegas casino resorts in the 1960s; Katherine Duncan can schedule a tour of the Pioneer Trail along Jackson Avenue, visit a black church on Sunday, shopping and Soul Food dinner for groups; pick-up from your Downtown or Strip Hotel can be arranged
DAYS & HOURS: Group Tours only by appt
ADDRESS: 1001 F Street, Las Vegas, NV MAP
West Las Vegas Library Theatre
DESCRIPTION: Dedicated in 1989 and located in the heart of the Black community; wonderful selection of Black books, magazines and videos; Smithsonian and videos representing the African Diaspora available; also a comfortable venue for local plays; internet access and children‚s section DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 9a-9p, Fri-Sat 9a-5p, Sun 1p-5p
ADDRESS: 951 West Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, NV MAP
West Las Vegas Arts Center
DESCRIPTION: Dance and piano studio, art displays, location for many Afrocentric events (storytelling, book club, video series, African Diaspora discussions, Juneteenth, Kwanzaa)
DAYS & HOURS: Mon & Thu 1p-9p, Tues-Wed 10a-9p, Fri 10a-6p, Sat 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 947 West Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, NV MAP
First AME Church
DESCRIPTION: A relatively new church dedicated in 1975
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 8a, 11a
ADDRESS: 2450 North Revere Street, Las Vegas, NV MAP
Zion Methodist Church
DESCRIPTION: Opened in 1917 and oldest Black church in Las Vegas
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a & 6:30p
ADDRESS: 2108 North Revere Street, Las Vegas, NV MAP