Las Vegas Real Estate

A Guide to John S. Park, Las Vegas' Oldest Historic District

Designated as a municipal historical district protected from commercial interests, the 120-acre John S. Park neighborhood was one of Las Vegas’ original subdivisions developed between 1931 and 1956. The neighborhood is bounded by South Ninth Street, Charleston Boulevard, Franklin Boulevard, and Las Vegas Boulevard, which is just half a mile from The Strip. The neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. In 2010, the American Planning Association named it one of the 10 great neighborhoods in the country. 

For awhile, it was easy to know you’d entered John S. Park because of the miniature “Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas” sign. It may have been destroyed in an accident in 2016, but in true Vegas style the sign is getting an update. Luckily, the rest of the neighborhood is safe now that preserving Las Vegas neighborhoods is becoming a regular practice after John S. Park residents blocked the construction of a Titanic replica that would have destroyed the history of the neighborhood.

To get the full picture of how John S. Park has impacted Las Vegas history, there are several ways to take in the architecture of the neighborhood. Here’s our guide to the John S. Park neighborhood.

Architecture

John S. Park includes two subdivisions featuring distinct designs: Park Place Addition, where Period Revival homes from the 1930s and 1940s have steep roofs, partial timber, and multi-pane windows; and Vega Verde Addition, where ranch style homes from the 1940s and 1950s have low-pitched roofs and broad facades.

The neighborhood also includes brick Cape Cod Cottages with accentuated front doors, slender columns, and side-gabled roofs, along with Neocolonial, Minimal Traditional, and Contemporary Ranch homes.

The Nevada Preservation Foundation runs home tours through a range of historic areas that are representative of the neighborhood. These tours include the Phoenix House, a renovated home made to look like the one that was destroyed by an exploding oxygen tank in 2011.

Things To Do

The best way to take in John S. Park is to walk the neighborhood and get acquainted with the historic architecture it has to offer. In addition to guided walking tours, Nevada Preservation Foundation also offers regular bike tours and other fun historical events in the area

If you’re interested in taking your own walking tour of the neighborhood, this comprehensive and self-guided tour recommends that visitors start at John S. Park Elementary School. Along the way, check out the homes of some of Las Vegas’ earliest 20th century residents, where the oldest homes in the neighborhood on 5th Place were built as early as 1931.

John S. Park is also home to the famous A Little White Wedding Chapel, where lovers can get married in a drive-through. Established in 1951, the chapel has long been the revered location of celebrity vows. Paul Newman, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra are among the old guard who said “I Do” in the chapel back in the day.

Surrounding Areas

If you’re motivated to walk extensively in the historic neighborhoods of Las Vegas, Nevada Preservation Foundation recommends even more locations for visitors to explore, such as the Historic Westside School. Other historic neighborhoods adjacent to John S. Park include Beverly Green and Huntridge, while the Arts District and Downtown offer a wide array of bars, restaurants, casinos, and shopping options. Downtown is home to Atomic Liquors, Las Vegas’ oldest freestanding bar. There’s also the Smith Center, Las Vegas’ premiere performing arts center, which is just a short distance away. From the Las Vegas Philharmonic to “Hamilton”, the Smith Center may only be five years old, but it fits right into this vintage neighborhood.

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