The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign is an iconic neon sign located just outside of the Las Vegas city limits in Paradise, Nevada. Despite the fact that the sign resides in Paradise, Nevada, this is mostly disregarded, and it is most often regarded as being a part of Las Vegas proper. The sign was erected in 1959, and has since then stood to welcome visitors heading into the actual city of Las Vegas. The design of the sign itself, interestingly enough, was never copyrighted, as sign designer Betty Ross wanted the sign to be a gift to the city and its residents.
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.