Next time you’re in our fabulous city, take a moment and think about the history of the sign. And capture a really good selfie of course!
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time Vegas vet, the welcome sign is a source of hope, happiness and good times. The feeling you get from seeing it is pure fabulous-ness!
But have you ever wondered why it was created? Or even when?
Betty Willis, one of the first female commercial artists to work on neon signs, designed the now landmark in 1959. This was the same time Paul Anka, Johnny Horton, and Bobby Darin were at the top of the music charts! Willis attended art school and after graduation, found work creating ads for local casinos. She was approached by local businessman Ted Rogich who thought the city needed its own flashy sign to advertise itself amidst all the great entertainment and casinos in the area.
When Willis designed the Vegas sign, she sold it to Clark County – without copyrighting it – for a whopping $4,000. She called it a gift to her hometown and didn’t create it to get rich. That’s why the sign is duplicated across every type of souvenir – from t-shirts, to keychains, the sign has become an icon!
This 25-foot-tall welcome has become one of the best selfie spots in the city. Making it a “must see” when you travel, both sides are there to greet you and send you off. You can even park your car now and admire the sign in peace.
The silver circles that spell out “welcome” represent silver dollars as a salute to Nevada as the “Silver State.” But how does it light up? In 2014, Clark County installed solar panels by the sign that provide enough solar-powered energy to power the sign all day long. This is great that this landmark can “go green” and still provide that welcome greeting for visitors.
We hope all new and returning visitors enjoy the city for all its worth! And get that perfect picture that captures the trip.