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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 11, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

How A Mormon Salesman Brought Neon To Las Vegas
(Neon: A light history)
American History pg28 Jun00 B2
By Joseph Gustaitis

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- An article in the magazine American History credits the introduction of Neon lights to Las Vegas to a Mormon salesman. The article covers the history of Neon in America, along with a little of its scientific and commercial development in Europe.

Neon came to the United States in 1923, arriving first on a Packard automobile dealership in Los Angeles, where the signs literally stopped traffic, leading police to station officers outside the dealership to keep traffic moving. It quickly took off, and in just seven years, according to some estimates, half of the lighting used in outdoor advertising was neon.

Oddly enough, the neon revolution passed up Las Vegas until 1935, when enterprising Mormon salesman Thomas Young created the first neon spectacular in the town, the Boulder Club marquee. Young went on to found the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), still a major player in outdoor advertising in the West.

But Young's sign was early in Las Vegas' development. While gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, and the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936 gave the city a strong supply of electricity, it wasn't until after World War II that the city developed its reputation, following the establishment of the luxury casino the Flamingo by mobster Meyer Lansky.


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