Center for Gaming Research
Neon Survey
Westward Ho

Description of sign(s)

1. Name: Westward Ho Motor Inn

2. Owner: {owner}

3. Address: 2900 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

3b. Additional Site Details: The space of the westward Ho is limited yet busy on the landscape of the strip. Approaching from the south, the property lies on the West- side of the Strip. Signage is available on the south elevation, wrapping around into the east elevation, which happens to be the front. Starting with the pylon sign a similar courtyard stretches north with its translucent vinyl awnings, until it reaches its abrupt end with the Circus Circus and Slots A Fun properties.

4. Condition: Structure 5 Surface 5 Lighting 5

Notes: All elements of the signage are functioning and in good order.

5. Form: plyon, porte cochere

6. Specfic Description: Approaching the Westward Ho headed north you are immediately confronted by a couple of signs. The first being giant yellow channel letters in Western style font and outlined in blue neon. The font is similar to that of the Frontier Hotel and Casino. The ends of extended appendages of the letters swell in block shapes with points jutting from the flat surface. The letters are filled with incandescent bulbs which all flash on together almost illuminating the entire parking lot in for a brief few seconds and then off again. Below that the building is horizontally striped with polished gold panels sporting three back lit signs for various resort attractions of buffets and drink specials. The building long panel is bordered on the top and the bottom by chasing incandescent bulbs on a polished raceway from left to right when facing this south elevation. The brick façade is adorned with a long backlit message cabinet with yellow painted raceways with incandescent bulbs. On either end of the backlit cabinet are two large square backlit cabinets. These two are bordered with a large steel raceway painted black. Dividing the two large raceways is a channel painted yellow. Inside the recessed channel are incandescent bulbs. The black raceways are faced each with three stripes of neon in blue, whir. The facade of signage and mirrored panels leads the eye to the obvious main pylon sign for the motel. The giant exploding pylon of gold raceways shooting upward into the sky and finally mushrooming out into umbrella formations at different elevations. The sign is comprised of five separate towers: One giant one in the center, which is the tallest, two lower ones flanking the center poles, then one smaller one on the south side of the sign and one equal size on the East side of the structure. The polished gold aluminum raceways comprise the body of the structure and are illuminated with incandescent lamps. The very base of the structure is supported with a structure of red brick masonry. The only elements of actual signage are the back-to-back color animated LED message centers, which are crowned by the 'old west' style text of various sized red neon bordered channel letters. Viewed from the side the Westward ho sign takes on a more sculptural aspect than that of signage. The reason for this is the brilliant finishing of the backs of the message centers. The rears of each panel are finely finished with brushed aluminum gold panels, which combined with the electrifying animation of the incandescent bulbs, creates a high degree of reflectivity. (Barnard) As if echoing the main pylon sign, stretching to the north is a small plaza utilizing the same three-dimensional sculpted umbrella designed awnings to create a pedestrian ready experience to the design. The umbrellas are made into coverings by the addition of illuminated vinyl. The pole structures are steel, covered with brick masonry. Each one of the umbrellas has a planter base and benches where visitors my rest or enjoy the surrounding environment. As the pylon, bulb laden, polished aluminum raceways form the skeleton of the Umbrella. Non-illuminated brass raceways stretch down from the inside and down the center pole. As well as the pylon, polished metal lacework finds its way around the circumference of the Umbrellas bottom edge. The East face of the building is mirrored to ad to the reflectivity of the entire plaza, and adding the illusion of depth to the rather limited space. The half columns and half umbrella's are set into the wall looking as if it is whole against the mirrored surface. A backlit triangular polished cabinet is of particular interest, because it is a sculpted cabinet frame. The top of the two faces is made to mimic the shapes of the pylons swelled crowns. IWestward Ho is spelled in red paint.

7. Type of Display: neon, incandescent, backlit, matrix, ambient

8. Media: steel, plastic, glass, masonry

9. Non-neon treatments: graphics, paint

10. Animation: chasing, flashing, oscillating

Notes: The text, which resides on the southern wall and reads "Casino," is filled with incandescent bulbs that all illuminate at the same time, and oscillate. They then shut off at the same time, and then repeat. The raceways of incandescent bulbs chase each other while the neon, which surrounds the back lit, plastic, screens on this wall flash on then off. The bottom two raceways sandwiching the reflective panel chase from left to right, while the remainder of the raceways surrounding the signs, run right to left. The incandescent bulbs on the pylon chase each other gracefully up the length of the pylon. The animation is patterned so as to appear as if a section of several bulbs are pulsing its way up the towers, hugging the edge of the bulbous tops. The raceways continue around the east face of the building. The umbrellas in the plaza behind the pylon, also are animated with incandescent bulbs chasing each other downward along the raceways.

11. Environment: The Westward Ho's unique design of an incorporated courtyard frontage, creates a small strip of closed environment between the Stardust and the Circus Circus/Slots A Fun. The space between the Stardust's property and the Westward Ho's is separated by a small parking lot, which holds claim to the giant letters which boom out casino to the passerby. With its party atmospheric, umbrella design, and mirrored backdrop the pedestrian element makes its own environment distinct to the passerby. Walking through this section gives a sense of a specific taste held in Las Vegas two decades ago, yet still evident today in almost every casino design.

Artistic Context

1. Manufacturer: SSI (pylon and courtyard) YESCO(south side signage)

2. Designer: Brian K. Leming (Pylon and Umbrella frontage)

3. Date of Installation: 1983(Pylon and Umbrella frontage)

4. Date(s) of any major redesign/move: Original backlit plastic message center was replaced with the now existing LED matrix screen

5. Thematic Influence: The Westward Ho facility itself is a Western themed establishment but the design by Lemming reflects a more party atmosphere with its umbrella shaped overhangs and highly animated incandescent raceways. The courtyard was originally designed with a different idea fore a pylon, but the idea of the canopies was carried over into that of the design of the pylon. The over use of the theme of the polished aluminum is reminiscent of that period in Vegas history when the materials could be found virtually everywhere. Such examples included the porte cocheres at the Silverbird Hotel and Casino and the Stardust as well. This theme is still seen on virtually almost every sign. The only elements of Western imagery or style are found in the pylon sign are the font style of the lettering. As for the he building's flavor of the old west, the south wall's yellow channel letters reading "CASINO" is reminiscent of the style of font found on the pylon.

6. Artistic Significance: Besides the fact that the pylon structure stood independently in sculptural aspects as well as functional aspects, the use of materials proved to be a trend setting achievement in that period of Las Vegas. Not only did the property take extensive use materials that could maximize the ability of the lighting such as polished aluminum and mirrored paneling, it was the first to significantly employ the use of colored, translucent vinyl.(Barnard) Soon after the use of this translucent materials in signs could be seen all over the Strip on the interior and exterior of signs and buildings.

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Last modified Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:24 PDT