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






The Safari Motel sits at 2001 Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. Information about the sign is available in the Southern Nevada Neon Survey Data Sheet.
Site address: 2001 Fremont St
Sign owner: Harold and Wendy Property Trust, Yeh Wendy Linh, Trs.
Sign details: The current building was constructed in 1956 (Assessor; RoadsideArch, n.d.), although several commentators state that the motel opened in 1954 (Glionna, 2017; VintageVegas, 2017). In its early years the motel was registered with the Automobile Club of America, which vouched for its quality (Glionna).
Sign condition: The condition is 3, fair. The reader board and cabinets are intact. The plastic panels on the east side of the reader board are buckling. The paint on the reader board is fading. The paint on the "MOTEL" letters is peeling slightly. The paint on the "SAFARI" letters and background is peeling moderately. Ten to fifteen percent of the light bulbs on the "MOTEL" cabinet are missing. Almost all of the light bulbs on the reader board cabinet are gone. The neon tubes on the lower third of the sign have shifted position. The neon tubes on the upper two thirds of the sign appear to be in good condition. The neon which spells out "MOTEL" appears to be intact, except for the broken letter "L" on the east side of the sign. Between the reader board and the letter" L" of "MOTEL" is an oblong metal cabinet which is missing all of its former neon.
Sign form: Pylon sign
Sign-specific description: The lower metal pylon is painted black. It supports a black metal framed reader board which is cantilevered toward the street. A rectangular blue metal pole aligned with the center of the pylon rises out of the reader board. To the street side of the pole is a vertical arrangement of three open panels of yellow skeleton neon, the tubes set in a diamond pattern. On the street side of the neon panels is a blue metal cabinet. "MOTEL" runs vertically down the cabinet in white cartoon style sans serif letters which are outlined in white skeleton neon. A row of yellow incandescent light bulbs runs down the street side of the cabinet. Between the reader board and the letter "L" of "MOTEL" is an oblong blue metal cabinet. The top of the blue metal cabinet intersects an irregular oblong shaped black metal cabinet. The black cabinet tops the neon panels and the rectangular pole. Rustic African safari style letters spell out "SAFARI" horizontally across the black cabinet in blue paint and white skeleton neon
Sign - type of display: Neon, LED and Incandescent
Sign - media: Steel and Plastic
Sign - non-neon treatments: LED screen
Sign environment: This location is on East Fremont neighboring many other motels though many of them are currently closed.
Sign - date of installation: Possibly 1960's (Garofalo, 2011; VintageVegas, 2017)
Sign - date of redesign/move: The current sign shows only minor variations from the version displayed on a 1969 postcard (Garofalo, 2011). The pylon previously featured "VACANCY" spelled out in red or pink skeleton neon. AAA and what appears to be another automobile club badge are painted below "VACANCY". The pole and "MOTEL" cabinet were painted red. The oblong cabinet between the reader board and the "MOTEL" cabinet was painted navy blue with "AAA" letters painted in white. A postcard which might come from a slightly later date (the auto club badges on the pylon have been replaced with a sign that states, "AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED HERE" shows the full neon and incandescent display at night (David, 2010). A photograph from 2011 shows the sign looking almost exactly as it is today (Garofalo, 2011).
Sign - thematic influences: The sign conveys African Safari adventure themes. Also the older advertisements on the sign are remnant of the motor courts and automobile clubs.
Survey - research locations: Clark County Assessor, Parcel No. 139-35-802-002. Retrieved from David, Heather. (2010 September 5). Safari Motel Las Vegas. Retrieved from Garofalo, M. (2011 November 1). Still standing-Safari Motel. Retrieved from Glionna, J. M. (2017 April 23). Motel, once a haven, now a crime-ridden jungle in downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved from RoadsideArchitecture. (n.d.). Safari Motel. Retrieved from Rodgers, L. T. (2016 December 14). No vacancy: The last motels on Fremont Street. Retrieved from VintageVegas. (2017 April 23). Safari Motel. Retrieved from
Surveyor: Mitchell Cohen
Survey - date completed: 2017-09-01
Sign keywords: Neon; Incandescent; Steel; Plastic; Pole sign; Reader board

Digital ID



neo000165. Southern Nevada Neon Survey Records, 2002-2018. PH-00401. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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