Cashman Center
The Cashman Center

Unlike many American communities, Las Vegas does not tend to treat its past with much respect. Given that the modern Vegas, with its population nearing 600,000 and its mega-hotels on the Strip, is but a half-century old, it’s a wonder that there is much architectural history at all. This is especially so in a town where buildings are more often imploded rather than renovated or re-purposed.

Therefore when approached to design this project, I was unsure where we might find appropriate locations where identical point-of-view positions might be located for the paired images. For some locations, such as the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” it is the contrast of the barren desert landscape of the earlier image, taken when the expansion of the Strip had not yet extended that far to the south, to the modern photograph with the gleaming Mandalay Bay Hotel now occupying the same landscape. In the sequence with the most profound change, a very early Bonneville street—yet to be paved—morphs in 10 seconds into a busy boulevard of a modern metropolis.

A partner on this project, responsible for brief historical essays for each of the sites, was UNLV history professor Michael Green. The Las Vegas archival image research was done with the assistance of UNLV student Aaron McArthur.