Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Backstory and Context
Around the mid-1900s, artist Betty Willis had begun making a name for herself in designing and drawing showgirls for advertisements in newspapers, but eventually switched to designing neon signs. As her portfolio of work continued to grow, Willis was commissioned by salesman Ted Rogich in 1952 to create a sign welcoming visitors to the city of Las Vegas. Willis agreed, and soon began working on the design for the sign. The sign was designed with the state of Nevada in mind, specifically with the silver dollars that act as the backdrop for the “WELCOME” portion of the sign. The sign itself was completed in 1959 and was sold to Clark County, who erected the sign at the very southern tip of the Las Vegas Strip.
The sign has stayed in place ever since it was placed in 1959. Since the sign was never copyrighted, its design was incorporated into multiple other souvenirs and designs around the city of Las Vegas, serving its purpose of being a gift to the city. Beginning in the early 2000s, several replicas of the sign have been made and placed around the city, such as the “Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas” sign within the Las Vegas city limits made in 2002, or the sign erected on Boulder Highway in 2007. It was not until 2009 that the sign was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in late 2013, it was added to the State Register of Historic Places.