Center for Gaming Research
Neon Survey
McCarran Air Field

Description of sign(s)

1. Name: McCarran Air Field

2. Owner: McCarran International Airport

3. Address: 6005 Las Vegas Blvd.

3b. Additional Site Details: On the south end of the Strip, the very last sign on the east side before you arrive at Sunset Blvd. Facing West the two stone pylons are set approximately fifty feet off of the street at the end of a dual laned stretch of pavement separated by an island of grass. The banner marquis between the two pylons stretches over this area of grass.

4. Condition: Structure 3 Surface 3 Lighting 4

Notes: The surface of the pylon is in good shape considering its age and its environmental condition. It is essentially left to fend for itself against the elements, being in the flat expanse of an airfield. The stone, plaques, and paint treatment are all badly worn, with the stone pylons, appearing the least worn.

5. Form: plyon

6. Specfic Description: The original McCarran Air Field entrance is constructed of two masonry pylons sit on an island of grass, and serve as an entrance to the private Hughes executive airport terminal. Each individual tower is adorned with a propeller attached to the front and the representation of a bird's wing crowning the tops Both facets are constructed of steel. When facing the structures the left has a plaque on the bottom section with the inscription "1948" while the one on the right reads "Las Vegas". Between the two pylons a stretch of text in white channel letters and white neon, large text in the old "Frontier style text reads McCarran Airport. The signage sits independently on top of a sturdy connecting steel cabinet, which supports the words "executive terminal" in smaller channel letters, with white neon. The cabinet is a painted blue horizontal plane tapering wider on either end in rounded profile patterns. The wings are outlined in pink neon, while the propellers are outlined in rose neon with a circle of white in the middle.

7. Type of Display: neon

8. Media: masonry

9. Non-neon treatments: paint

10. Animation: none

Notes: n/a

11. Environment: The surrounding area is rather dark due to the wide expanse of the airfield which stretches out behind the sign. It truly is a last marker for the end of the Strip, and stands alone. Even though it is in close proximity to the major strip resorts of the Four Seasons as well as the Mandalay Bay and various small roadside hotels, it seems to stand in solitude.

Artistic Context

1. Manufacturer: unkn

2. Designer: unkn

3. Date of Installation: 1948

4. Date(s) of any major redesign/move: The blue banner of steel and white letters was added after its initial construction.

5. Thematic Influence: The masonry pylons are constructed in an adobe style masonry reminiscent of the desert landscape surroundings. Designed for the airport, the appendages stem obviously around the theme of flight. This may be denoted from the propeller and the wing. The juxtaposition of the two elements, one being the method of flight in nature and the other man made, serves as a reminder of mans fascination with flight. The added banner's text is in the pioneer fashion of the original Last Frontier.

6. Artistic Significance: Opened in 1948, the sign was intended for use as a marker for the endpoint of the Strip. " It was part of the city's expanding policy creating a jet-scale entrance for the city," Jorg Rudemer from Lost Las Vegas. Artistic significance also lies in the combination of materials using masonry, steel and, neon. The piece successfully combined these elements to provide an architecturally solid design by day, which was cohesive with its surrounding landscape. A metamorphosis takes place at night as the sign is transformed into a glowing specter of its daytime counterpart. The surrounding area is rather dark as the pylon rises up out of the darkness as a neon marker for the property. The illuminated wing and propeller stand out as the significant and successful partners in the world of flight.

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