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More Historic Neighborhoods In Sight For Las Vegas

Nevada Preservation Foundation

Beverly Green neighborhood in the shadow of the Stratosphere hotel-casino.

Some people don’t think Las Vegas has any real history it likes to keep around – just look at how many casinos have literally gone up in smoke to make way for the next new thing.

Well, there are people working to change that, by preserving historic buildings and neighborhoods throughout the valley.

And Las Vegas may soon have another historic district downtown, if the Nevada Preservation Foundation has its way.

Heidi Swank is the executive director of the foundation and she happens to live in the Beverly Green neighborhood that is bordered by Oakey Boulevard in the north, St. Louis Avenue in the south, Rexford Drive to the west and 6th Street to the east. 

Swank said the neighborhood was home to several prominent Las Vegans in the 50s and 60s. It also features 200 custom homes that she described  as "pristine examples of mid-century architecture.."

"So there's a lot of social reasons and a lot of architectural reasons that this is historic," Swank explained.

One of the biggest hurdles to being named an historic district is 51 percent of property owners need to support it.

Swank and the foundation spent two years hosting neighborhood meetings, sending out mailers and answering resident questions about what being an historic district really means.

"There are a lot of misinformation out there just because we don't have a lot of historic district in Las Vegas as to what it means to be in a district" Swank said, "It only applies to the street view of your home. If you want to gut, renovate the interior of your home... that is nothing that being in an historic district will stop you from doing."

Swank said based on what has happened in other cities, when a neighborhood is designated an historic district, home values rise slightly and drop slower in a market slow down. 

And perhaps more importantly, when a neighborhood becomes an historic district, property owners tend to fix up their homes more, which spurs neighbors to do the same thing. Swank said that is what happened in the John S. Park neighborhood in Las Vegas.

"Because you've worked so hard with your neighbors, and you learn all this about the history of your neighborhood that people tend to take more pride in the appearance of their home," she said.

The Nevada Preservation Foundation a Vintage Vegas home tour in May that will feature some of the most interesting and historic homes in the city. 

Swank announced that the reception for the people who pay for a VIP ticket to the tour will be held in casino owner Jackie Gaughan's legendary apartment at the top of the El Cortez hotel-casino downtown. The VIP tickets are $100, advanced tickets for the general public are $45. 


Heidi Swank, executive director, Nevada Preservation Foundation 

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.