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Mid Century Modern


Programming Notes For The Mid Mod Madness And Mondo Lounge Weekend Of Events

Morelli_Sketch_1I’m very proud to be one of the corporate sponsors – as well as having been on the planning committee with the fabulous folks at Classic Las Vegas and the Architecural and Decorative Arts Society of Las Vegas


William Krisel AIA is the guest of honor for the Mid Mod Madness Weekend 

SPECIAL guest of honor is Mr. William Krisel – noted architect of more than 40,000 mid century modern homes and commercial buildings in California. Approximately 300 of his designs are in the Paradise Palms Neighborhood of Las Vegas. We’ve posted the movie trailer before, but here it is again.

Design On Screen is responsible for this and other documentaries about noted regional architects of the modernist movement. I’m featured in the film from when I organized the Las Vegas segment.

The Las Vegas Premier of this documentary is Saturday Night October 23 as part of the Mid Mod Madness weekend. Mr. Krisel will also be on the 1pm Saturday afternoon panel; will attend the Friday evening cocktail party at the Morelli house; and will do a private Q and A following the movie. The complete schedule of events and links to buy tickets are in this post, or scroll down several posts.

William Krisel, Architect from Design Onscreen on Vimeo.


Fall Open House of the Morelli House.

There’s something for everyone this weekend. The Morelli house will be open to the public for a free tour on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 from 1pm to 4pm. Phone or email reservations are suggested at 822–6536 or [email protected] .

A special show “Remains of the Day” is on exhibit at the Morelli House

“Remains of the Day” is an exhibit featuring photographs of mid-century modern buildings in Las Vegas that have escaped the wrecking ball and still exist as a reminder of our city’s rich mid-century architectural heritage. The Nevada State Museum Las Vegas has loaned Junior League selected images from its archives, most of which come from the collection of renowned photographer Jay Florian Mitchell. Mitchell moved to Las Vegas from New York in the mid-1950s, and for the following 25 years carefully documented the growth and development of his adopted home. The Nevada State Museum Las Vegas, located in Lorenzi Park, is currently showcasing a special exhibit on Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas which includes several dozen of Mitchell’s most distinguished images, as well as period domestic and aesthetic artifacts.

The Mid Century Modern Bus Tour Of Vintage Las Vegas Homes And Historic Neighborhoods

GetImageI’ve written and arranged the itinary of the bus tour. This year the primary focus will be the mid century modern homes of Vintage Las Vegas as well as the historic neighborhoods. We’ve arranged to tour the insides of two very special homes, and one of the finest examples of unique Mid Century Modern commercial – the club house at the Las Vegas Country Club.


3 Day Event Pass

Friday Evening’s Reception
All Saturday’s Events
Sunday Bus Tour








Mondo Lounge Returns To Las Vegas

Logo_mondo_smallThe same weekend – At The Palms Hotel – MONDO LOUNGE


There’s plenty of time to bounce back and forth so you can catch all the events at both Mid Mod Madness and Mondo Lounge.

Mondo Lounge goes on into the late night for some raucous partying!

Famed Mid Mod Artist SHAG is the special guest host for the entire weekend at Mondo Lounge.

Here’s the direct link to the Mondo Lounge Schedule and to Paypal to buy your ticket.

Between Mid Mod Madness and Mondo Lounge we’ve planned a full blown Las Vegas Modernism weekend. We hope to see you at both events.


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A Mystery Mid Mod In Las Vegas

Mystery mid mod office building in Las VegasOne of our readers found this Architect’s drawing at a garage sale in Westleigh the other day.

I can’t for the life of me recall ever seeing this building. Do any of you have a clue?

Maybe it never got built? Maybe it’s in some other city?

I’m hoping it didn’t get torn down before we were paying attention to such things.



George G Tate AIAGeorge G. Tate is the architect. I started googling and found that his firm was founded in 1960 in Las Vegas. It later became Tate Snyder Kimsey and is still in operation. George’s Biography on the website is worth looking at also, but it’s a flash site so I can’t copy and paste it. It does say that he retired in 1995.

I’m also curious as to what the phone number exchang DU– stood for. When I was kid our number was Belmont 5–1169. Anyone remember the exchange abreviations for Las Vegas?

EnchantmentWay2-6_FRONT  Tate Snyder Kimsey, architectsIt’s always fun to look at the websites of the various architects as there’s alway interesting things to see and history to be uncovered. On the TSK site I found the coolest modernist project that’s dated 2007. This was just as the market was turning, and I’ve never heard of “The Enchantment Way” as ever having been built. Even the website for it seems to be frozen in time at 2007.

So once again, I just spent a pleasant hour googling, when I was supposed to be catching up on paperwork.


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Walter Zick And The Mid Mod Pods

Lynn Zook and I took a little field trip the other day. We were up and down Maryland Parkway looking at the many bank buildings from the 60’s. Could this be a Zick and Sharp? Is that one the same as in the drawing we have? We’re still doing our research on the bank buildings.

IMG_9039But the real fun part of our outing was the time-warp down memory lane as we went back to High School for a few minutes. We visited Valley High School on Eastern Avenue at Vegas Valley Drive. It was the first of several “Pod Schools”.

I’ve driven by Valley a couple hundred thousand times over the years, and never really paid it much attention. What’s visible from Eastern isn’t all that interesting, and I don’t pay attention to schools in general.

But I just had to find out what the famed architects Zick and Sharp and created back in the 60’s, and that meant I had to get onto the campus one way or another.

ZICK slide 56 Valley High SchoolWe timidly (yes) pulled into the parking lot thinking we’d get a one or two pictures taken before we were chased away.

We were armed only with the camera and 3 slides from the CD application to have a school named after Walter Zick. We quickly tried to get our bearings, and grab a photo or two, but…..

No one showed up, so we got our long shots and started trying to figure out what was what based on the slides.


Slide 56 above is a terrific study in itself, and started to give us a clue as to what was meant by “pod”.

Zick slide 57 Valley High School 1966When we went around the corner so that we were on the Vegas Valley Drive side, we found the same spot as this photo from 1966.

The building is curved! The suspended awning faces Vegas Valley, and the peaked supports create a grand entryway.

It’s certainly Mid Century Modernism. No doubt about it, and none of it is visible from Eastern Avenue. 



IMG_9039Today it looks like this. The fences aren’t an improvement. My back is to a long fence that now surrounds the school. The Gates that have been installed between the columns mess it up completely from an aesthetic point of view. We got this close, were inside the fence and still hadn’t seen an adult yet. The fence didn’t seem to be there to keep me out, so it must be to keep the kids in.






IMG_9045We stopped and talked to some gangly 15 year olds. They weren’t even curious about why I was taking pictures. They didn’t know what architecture really meant. They didn’t care that they didn’t know. That was baffling. Maybe I was only baffled because I’ve never had a teen-ager. If I was one of those kids, I’d have been asking questions a mile-a-minute.

We followed them right into the school and figured we’d get thrown out immediately. I don’t recall ever being called into the principal’s office 40 years ago, and was imagining it happening to me now.

Once again, though, not an adult in sight. Lynn suddenly realized that this was exactly the layout of Clark High School from when she was a student. Now I had a tour guide, and we decided to press on. I found my self wandering further and further into the dark recesses of my own high school memories, while Lynn was busy figuring out which locker would have been hers if we were over at Clark.  The light went on and Lynn realized what she’d always known, but never thought about before. The school was arranged like the spokes of a wheel. The center pod was open space with all the lockers, and it was surrounded by other pods which contained the classrooms.

IMG_9046“Let’s go down the ramp and see the cafeteria”. I followed and found myself in a cavernous room with a barrel ceiling, exposed steel beams, high clerestory windows and stunning suspended light fixtures.







IMG_9050IMG_9051I got a real kick out of the lit signs for the boys and girls bathrooms. Why the boys room one was mounted to flush to the wall, and the girl’s room was ceiling mounted didn’t make sense.



IMG_9049One of my favorite elements of all however were the arch supported pendant lights that surrounded the cafeteria.

So once again, I didn’t end up in jail; had a great afternoon with a great friend; and got to see some of the wonderful Mid Century Modern Architecture and Design of Walter Zick and Harris Sharp.

With a legacy like this, how could the Clark County School District have ever passed up Walter Zick for a school to be named after him.

We’ll be helping Walter’s family to apply again, and I think by the time we finish this series, we’ll have generated plenty of support.

Below the fold are Slide 58 with a broad view facing north, and the rest of the pictures that I didn’t use in the body of this post. All of the pictures in this series (and almost every picture on this blog) is a clickable thumbnail, if you’d like to look at them in a larger format.

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Uncle Jack’s Road Trip – Searching For Mid Century Modern Los Angeles

It may have been a short trip, but we certainly packed a lot in. Of course, business never stops and we negotiated a deal and am opening escrow on the new Papago listing in Paradise Palms, and on Friday we closed the 15th street deal. Hard to believe that 15 years ago I was selling real estate without a cell phone, text messaging, or email.

I’m just going to give you a little introduction, and each of these pictures has a whole story behind it. I’ll use them as a starting point and give you details thru the week.

IMG_6740My mother stayed at this 1937 Colonial in Los Feliz, which is where Mazie and Eddie live. Mazie is her best friend since they were 3 years old. They lived back to back with an alley in between in Columbus Ohio.

My mother is turning 80, which was the purpose of the trip, doing the math, we find they’ve been friends since 1931.





IMG_6664Joey and I stayed in this 1917 Craftsman styled home in Hollywood. My friend Harry and I met in 1978 and are celebrating 30 years of friendship.




One of the many jokes about VeryVintageVegas is that Vintage in Las Vegas is 1950. There’s literally NOTHING left of the pre-war style homes in Las Vegas.


IMG_6566On my own, I discovered the Los Feliz Estates which is an amazing mid century modern neighborhood at the base of the Hollywood Hills. Griffith Park and the famous Hollywood sign are up above them. Erin and Rachel texted me during the weekend to tell me to make sure to find LFE, but I beat them to it.





IMG_6619MaryMargaret gave me directions to one of the famous Eichler Neighborhoods of California. The contrasts and parallels to Paradise Palms are striking.






IMG_6645Leslie and Aaron who had asked us last month to tell them what to see in the way of Mid Mod in Las Vegas were kind enough to have us over with extreme short notice.

You’ll just love what I tell you about their home when I do the full post about it later this week.

This is just a little taste of it, but let me tell you there’s an amazing Mid Mod wrapped around this little gem.




IMG_6747Our last stop out of town was to visit my mother’s friend Alice. She left Las Vegas about 4 years ago to live with her daughter in the San Fernando Valley. I found that they live in an entire neighborhood of Cinderella Ranches (though they don’t seem to use that term) similar to Bel Air, except that they’re all on 1/2 acre lots.



I’ve got a lot to tell you about, but I’ve got even more work to do today, so I’ll blog more about my trip all week.



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What’s It Called? The Flamingo Club Celebrates It’s Anniversary

IMG_6093A very fun debate the other night at the Flamingo Club Cocktail Party.

We were at Downtown Steve’s house in Beverly Green. It’s a recurring monthly cocktail party at a different home each month. It’s the official meet and greet your neighbors that helps to make the Beverly Green Neighborhood Association so successful.

Anyway, Steve’s got a terrific Mid Mod ranch with all kinds of cool vintage features including the “floating soffit”, or is it a “hanging uplight thingy” or a “flying ???” Carl and Lorraine, who bought our mid mod listing on 14th Street have a similar feature under their beamed ceilings. Two of the homes on my street have it. Two of the floor plans in Paradise Palms has it prominently featured as well. No one at the party, including me or MaryMargaret knows what to call it. If you do, please let us know.  There just has to be a real architectural term for it.

IMG_6104Saturday night’s Flamingo Club Party had about 50 people, which was one of the largest turnouts in it’s one year history.

One of the most striking things was the diversity of the neighborhood. Young and old, newcomers and original owners, gay and straight, married and single, but almost entirely liberal/progressive, and almost everyone is trying to be as “green” as they can be.  


Lots of REAL conversation about politics, architecture, historic preservation, neighborhood improvement, the economy as well as the ubiquitous what do you do, where are you from and who do you know and what are you doing to your home.

Why not start a similar group for YOUR Vintage Vegas Neighborhood.  All it takes is one person to get it going.

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Mayor Goodman Awards Junior League of Las Vegas Mayor’s Urban Design Award

Thank you  Kristen Routh Silberman, JLLV PR for the press release and Brian Paco Alvarez for passing it along to us!

Las Vegas, NV – 11 JAN, 2008: Mayor Oscar Goodman awarded the Mayor’s Urban Design Award (MUDA) for Historical Preservation to the Junior League of Las Vegas (JLLV) for their notable restoration of the Morelli House. The award recognizes projects that foster the city’s commitment to sustainability and livability, including those that have made a profound historical perspective to the city of Las Vegas and its’ residents. The award was presented at an official ceremony at the Springs Preserve on January 8, 2008. Stephanie Vogel, the JLLV President and Sherry Colquitt, Project Director of the Morelli House Restoration accepted the Mayor’s award on behalf of the JLLV non-profit organization.

Morelli House Las Vegas

“We are both proud and honored to be included with such a prestigious and accomplished group of nominees and recipients. A large group of people dedicated their time and effort to this project, and we wish to thank them both for their support of the Junior League of Las Vegas, but also for their support to our community.” said Stephanie Vogel, JLLV President.   

The Morelli House has been on the city’s historic property register since March of 2007 based on its architectural and cultural importance to the city of Las Vegas. Since that time, designers, carpenters, architects, and volunteers have donated countless hours to the careful preservation of the city landmark.

About The Morelli House & Restoration

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REO Mid Mod Fixer Is On The Golf Course For Less Than 250k

PC084303We spotted this Paradise Palms home yesterday. It’s bank owned, and in need of some serious loving. But 250k with a pool on the golf course?

Someone’s going to score with this one.

If you’re interested, call or email me. I’ve got a few others in my radar also.

All Pictures are clickable to see them full size.




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My Earliest Memory Of “Jetson” Architecture

Reynoldsburg Spaceship Bank BuildingGoodness knows I’d never heard the term “modernism” when I was 5 years old. But even when I was 5 I was crazy about a bank building out in a Columbus suburb called Reynoldsburg, Ohio. It looked like a space ship. There was nothing else like it. It was across the street from the roller rink, and next door to city hall. We’d watch July 4 Fireworks from the parking lot.

I asked my brother Ken, who still lives in Columbus to go see if it was still there. He took some pictures, and except for the drive-thru ATM awning that was added sometime in the last 30 years, it’s exactly as I remember it in 1960.

Of course now I know it’s part of the vast collection of America’s love affair with modernist or “googie” architecture from the 1950’s and 1960’s. The classic Las Vegas that we know and love is a result of it. One of our many goals in the next year is to save as much of it as possible. We’ve shown several examples in the past from here in Las Vegas. There was a pretty good discussion and demonstration during or Midnight Bus Tour Of Mid-Century Modern Las Vegas.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of other people interested in what we now call “mid-century modernism”. We belong to 2 local groups who share that mission. The Atomic Age Alliance celebrates all things “modern”. Classic Las Vegas celebrates all things historic. I invite you to come out and play with us in the next year.

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Exposed Beam Ceilings Are A Terrific Feature Of Mid Century Modernism

It was the exposed beams more than any other feature that drew me to my home, and I can’t walk into a home that has them without being awed.

PB114096The ceiling material above the beams can be tongue and groove planking, or it can be flat panels of plywood or compressed composite. The composite material in my house has been routered with grooves to create another whole texture to the room.

We’ve just listed 2 Mid Mod Homes this week, and both will be “officially” on the market in the next few days. Both have exposed beams and I wanted to give you a little preview.



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”Save Maude’s Hall – The Building that Built UNLV”

November 28, 2007
Historic Preservation Group Atomic Age Alliance co-hosts a Support Rally for the Maude Frazier Hall on the UNLV Campus


Atomic Age Alliance LogoAtomic Age Alliance co-hosts “Save Maude’s Hall” Rally with the Anthropology Society of UNLV in support of the preservation of Maude Frazier Hall, the first building ever built on the UNLV campus.

On Wednesday, November 28, Atomic age Alliance and the Anthropology Society of UNLV presents a Rally “Save Maude’s Hall – the Building that Built UNLV”

RALLY:       Wednesday, November 28, 11:30AM-12:30PM

LOCATION:    Valerie Pida Plaza (near the Student Union dining area)
UNLV Campus
4505 S. Maryland Parkway Las Vegas, NV 89154

CONTACT INFO: Mary-Margaret Stratton, Director Atomic Age Alliance
(818) 789-5321
[email protected]
Heidi Swank, Anthropology Society of UNLV
(702) 371-6217
[email protected]

WEBSITE:     www.atomicage.org

Below the fold is the rest of the press release which outlines the history, and the case for saving it.  

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Save Maude Frazier Hall Meeting Today At 5 PM

Frazier hallAs we’ve reported before, there’s a meeting tonight with one of the University Regents to start the ball rolling on trying to save the very first building ever built on the UNLV campus.

There will be a meeting with University Regent Mark Alden regarding Frazier Hall to be held Friday, November 9th at the TAM Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The meeting will begin promptly at 5PM the meeting will be for approximately 30 minutes.


If you have any questions please feel free to contact Brian Paco Alvarez at 280-3498.


For More Background, read our first post on the subject and follow the links HERE


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Space Age Architecture Survives In The Vintage Urban Core Of Las Vegas

Moonlight Bus Tour Of Mid Mod Las Vegas – Part 6

scalloped roof line of the old Federated Employees Building at  2301 E. SaharaAfter a surprise midnite cocktail party at the “Caddy Shack”, MaryMargaret’s fantastic Paradise Palms time capsule of mid century modernism, we headed over to Sahara Ave. MM pointed out a building the preservationists are trying to save. So far, the current owner has agreed to build onto the existing structure to create his new strip mall. Hopefully, he’ll make the new parts match the historic mid mod building.

Lower Fremont Street, before it becomes Boulder Highway, holds several examples of the “space age” architecture that was common in Mid Century Modern commercial buildings.

space age mid century modern architecture on fremont street in las vegasThis is the Findley Auto Dealership. I’m reminded of a bank building back in Columbus, Ohio, which I thought was so cool when I was a little kid. My brother’s going to take a picture of it and send it to me. Watch for it, I’ll do a post on it the minute I get it it.

Many buildings like this and the Concha Motel Lobby dotted Fremont, Boulder, Charleston, Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. All too many are now lost to the bulldozer. Fortunately, the La Concha has been saved and sits in storage awaiting it’s new life as the the new home of the Neon Museum.

PS: The best way to ever get to see MaryMargaret’s “CaddyShack” is to join the Atomic Age Alliance, and get involved in our efforts to save historic Las Vegas Architecture.

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The Moonlight Bus Tour – Part 5 – The Las Vegas Country Club

Las Vegas Country Club features Nuclear Power Plant  roof line. The clubhouse architect was Julian GabrielleMidnight’s good for seeing well lit buildings, but it wasn’t so great for seeing the clubhouse at the LVCC. It was totally dark, and the bus was outside the gates on Joe S. Brown Drive. We could see it about 100 yards away, but there wasn’t a light to be found.

I happen to have some photos that I shot last summer and promised the people sitting around me on the bus that I would publish them this week.

The LVCC is one of the finest examples of post and beam and natural material mid mod buildings that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Inside the curved beams that make up the roofline

Classic Mid Mod overhead and high windows at the Las Vegas Country Club

Dining room beams are elegantly curved

The famous Marnell House on 15th Street South of Oakey was modeled after the roof line of the LVCC. It was one of the stops on our history hunt last summer.

From The LVCC WEBSITE, A short history:

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Seasonal Sunlight Changes Make Mid Century Modern Homes Extra Special

6 30 am sunlightThis morning I was up extra early due to the 8am graduation ceremony for the Citizens Leadership Academy.

One of the great things about my Mid Mod, post and beam construction home is how the light changes with the seasons. This morning was the first day that the sun rose far enough to the south to make it thru the patio cover and brass sliding glass doors and into the living room.

Last night, however, as I was leaving the house at 5:15, the kitchen was almost totally in the dark already. I want Daylight Savings Time to last all year! What a waste to have the sun up at 6 am, and for it to get dark so early.

That’s really the only thing I hate about Las Vegas. Being in the east edge of the West time zone makes for some really dark early evenings during the winter.


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Edward Durell Stone – Modernist Architect Given Credit For Use Of Decorative Block Facings

Edward Durell Stone.jpg2Our tour the other night and the subsequent discussions of the decorative block designs led me to do some homework on Edward Durell Stone.

His NYC Brownstone is one his most famous and most hated works. There’s some very interesting back story in this informative post from NYC-architecture.com

They use the term “Breeze Block” to describe the blocks. I like that term and may start using it myself. MaryMargaret used the term, named after Stone himself,  “Stone Screens”. Always in the past I’ve referred to them as “decorative block”.

Regardless of the name, I’m still obsessed with them.

Edward Durell Stone

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