Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Photographs of Desert Moon Motel sign, Las Vegas (Nev.), April 18, 2017






The Desert Moon Motel sign sits at 1701 Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Information about the sign is available in the Southern Nevada Neon Survey Data Sheet.
Site name: Desert Moon Motel (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Site address: 1701 Fremont St
Sign owner: Jerzy and Celina Kosla
Sign details: The building was constructed in 1942 (Assessor). According to one commentator, the Desert Moon motel opened on the site in 1952 (Roadside The cars on a vintage postcard of the motel appear to date from the late 1940's or early 1950's (Ebay). The same vintage postcard (Ebay) shows the motel as a member of United Motor Courts, an early motel referral chain founded in 1933 which published a travel guide until the early 1950's (Wikipedia). Based in Santa Barbara, California, United Motor Courts was made up of "a friendly group of independent owners of motor lodges..." (Historic Highways). The Quality Inn motel franchise was a spinoff of United Motor Courts (Wikipedia). The motel has been renovated by its current owner, Polish immigrant George (Jerzy) Kosla (Glionna, 2017).
Sign condition: The sign is Condition 4, good. The paint appears slightly faded but there is no flaking or peeling. The cabinets, reader boards, and fiberglass moon are all in good condition. The neon is intact.
Sign form: Pole sign
Sign-specific description: The sign pole and metal cabinets are painted pink. The design and lettering are the same on both sides of the sign. The trapezoid-shaped lower cabinet extends horizontally toward the street. It contains a rectangular white plastic lightbox which states "FREE ADULT MOVIES" in red sans serif letters and "FLAT SCREEN TV'S in smaller black san serif letters. To the left of the letters is the black silhouette of a female figure. On the metal below the plastic screen are clear sans serif neon letters which spell out, "NO VACANCY" in red when illuminated. The upper metal cabinet hangs from the street side of the pole. White painted san serif letters, covered by clear sans serif neon letters which glow red when illuminated, run vertically down the cabinet to spell out, "XXX MOVIES". Five metal cabinets attached to the street side of the sign run vertically to spell out, "M-O- T-E- L" in white painted sans serif letters covered by yellow sans serif neon letters. On top of the pole is a white p
Sign - type of display: Neon, Lightbox
Sign - media: Steel, Plastic, Fiberglass
Sign - non-neon treatments: Lightbox
Sign environment: East Fremont Street, surrounded by other motels.
Sign - date of installation: c. 1950s
Sign - date of redesign/move: The now pink or faded red sign cabinets were painted blue in a 2003 photograph
Sign - thematic influences: Desert, Space Age, Western
Sign - artistic significance: The current sign appears to have taken the Western/Lunar theme from the previous sign and transformed it into a 1950's/1960's Space Age/Lunar theme
Survey - research locations: Assessor's website
Survey - research notes: Ebay. Las Vegas NV Desert Moon Motel roadside Nevada vintage linen postcard ca 1940s. Retrieved from NV-Desert- Moon-Motel- Roadside-Nevada- 141923576051.html Glionna, J. M. (2017 April 23). Motel, once a haven, now a crime-ridden jungle in downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved vegas/downtown/motel-once- a-haven- now-a- crime-ridden- jungle-in- downtown-las- vegas/ Historic Highways. (2007 July 14). Archive for the "Motel Associations" category: Looking for a motel in 1933. Retrieved from Roadside Architecture. com (n.d.). Las Vegas Signs: Desert Moon Motel. Retrieved from (n.d.). Downtown motels Las Vegas: Desert Moon Motel. Retrieved from Wikipedia. (n.d.). Motel: 2.6 R
Survey - other remarks: A postcard circa early 1950's features a different sign with a saguaro cactus and quarter moon (Ebay). The current sign appears to have taken the Western/Lunar theme from the previous sign and transformed it into a Space Age/Lunar theme, which may indicate that the sign dates from the date from the late 1950's or 1960's.
Surveyor: Mitchell Cohen
Survey - date completed: 2017-08-22
Sign keywords: Neon; Steel; Plastic; Fiberglass; Pole sign; Light box; Sculptural

Digital ID



neo000152. Southern Nevada Neon Survey Records, 2002-2018. PH-00401. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Original archival records created digitally

Date Digitized





University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Libraries