Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Photographs of Desert Star Motel sign, Las Vegas (Nev.), March 24, 2017


The Desert Star Motel sign sits aglow at 1210 South Las Vegas Boulevard. Information about the sign is available in the Southern Nevada Neon Survey Data Sheet.
Site address: 1210 S Las Vegas Blvd
Sign owner: Desert Star Motel Enterprises
Sign details: The original construction of this motel was in 1961 and has acted as a motel since.
Sign condition: 3, sign is in decent condition. Some portions of it do not light up anymore.
Sign form: Roadside pole sign
Sign-specific description: This sign sits directly on the roadside along Las Vegas Boulevard. The sign consists of a large black pole with many different back lit signs extending toward Las Vegas Boulevard attached to it. Staring from the top of the sign. There is a plastic back lit sign reading "DESERT STAR" in bold white letters against a red background. Under this are individual square signs each containing one letter. Moving down the length of the pole they spell out the word "MOTEL". Each of these letters are red against a white background. Under this series of letters is a star shaped back lit sign reading "DESERT STAR" in bold red text against a white background. This sign is outlined by a neon tube that no longer works. Attached to the bottom points of the star is a rectangular back sign with "VACANCY" painted on it in white. Neon tubes outline the word "NO" as well as "VACANCY." Under this sign is another plastic back lit sign reading "Check Out our Weekly & Daily Rates" in white letters against a red background. Finally, the last portion of this sign is another plastic back lit sign reading "Free Local Calls" in white letters against a red background.
Sign - type of display: Neon and back lit plastic sign
Sign - media: Steel and plastic
Sign - non-neon treatments: Plastic backlit sign
Sign environment: This motel sits very close to the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Charleston. It is a short distance away from the Arts District and Fremont Street. It is a few blocks north of the Stratosphere hotel. A few properties that are close to this motel are the Little White Wedding Chapel as well as many other hostels and motels.
Sign - date of redesign/move: From an earlier photograph, this sign has changed from what appears to might have been their original sign. There is no exact year when the sign changed. The sign that they had in the 60s looks similar to their sign today, but with different colors. The earlier sign had the same "MOTEL" running down the side of the pole, but the letters were black against a yellow background and the pole was white. The star under this was white with forest green letters reading "DESERT STAR." There were three other rectangular signs under this. Each of these had forest green letters against a white background. The sign under the star sign and the "NO VACANCY" attached to that read " TV PHONES." The second sign said "REFRIGERATION." And the third said "AAA HEATED POOL."
Sign - thematic influences: The name "DESERT STAR" could've taken influence from the Space Age. There were plenty of motels that had a star theme or "star" in their name all throughout the city.
Sign - artistic significance: This is a good example of how roadside signs could be simple, yet eye catching to motorists and pedestrians. It does keep in theme with many of the other motel signs throughout the city by sitting directly along the roadside to be noticeable.
Survey - research locations: Assessor's Page, Stephani Drives Las Vegas Website
Survey - research notes: There in not much information on the history of this property.
Surveyor: Emily Fellmer
Survey - date completed: 2017-09-09
Sign keywords: Neon; Plastic; Backlit; Steel; Roadside; Pole sign
Digital ID

neo000138. 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