Written by Debbie Hall
Photography by Isabel M. Castro
The Historic Commercial Center District World Village will commemorate 60 years with an open house on Oct. 21. The Native American holistic healing ceremony, starting at 11 a.m., will honor the Southern Paiutes. There will be an installation of new sidewalk murals, a chalk art competition, and a community festival until 7 p.m. Along with music, food, art and entertainment, a 60-year music montage will feature its heritage along with horse and buggy rides.
The celebration will debut the 55-minute walking tour through its mid-century landscape. Guests will learn the fascinating history of the modernization of Las Vegas, highlighting the history involving the Rat Pack, mob ties, rock stars (Jim Morrison, The Rolling Stones and Elvis) and Las Vegas luminaries, including Liberace.
This tour will also feature the 60-year history of Las Vegas as a leader in business and commerce, inspiring contemporary design such as Town Square, which took a cue from Commercial Center. One of the newest tenants, The Composers Room, will open soon in the space that was once Commercial Deli—the hangout of the Rat Pack.
Paula Sadler, president of the Commercial Center Business Association and Historic Society, has carefully curated this tour. Over 19 years of research have gone into this tour to reveal little-known facts and hidden gems not known to the public to highlight this Las Vegas icon.
The visual delights of Las Vegas' largest public Artwalk was founded in 2007 by Paula and founding artist Howard Freeman. Along with curating the art events for the celebration, Paula’s goal is the ArtWalk project (freeparkandartlasvegas.com), being developed to become the largest off-the-strip free public art walk and sculpture garden. Paula, owner of A Harmony Nail Spa, opened her business in Commercial Center in 2004 and has served as president of the association since 2005.
Chris Mazzone, broker and owner of Mazzone Commercial, represents 140,000 square feet of property for lease in Commercial Center. An artist, James Henninger (Facebook @303NorthStudio) who worked in Commercial Center, designed his logo.
“I want to support all of the tenants in the center and he is an amazing artist,” says Chris.
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom's (D-District E) representation includes Commercial Center and reenacted the redevelopment agency. Another native Nevadan, Clark County Commissioner Ross Miller (D-District C), has joined with Commissioner Segerblom.
“Long-time Las Vegas residents will remember Commercial Center as being the heart and soul of Las Vegas. It is an area that is so rich with the history of Vegas and ripe for revitalization,” says Commissioner Miller.
Also scheduled to premiere later this year is a monthly slate of arts programs for the community that the UNLV College of Fine Arts will present in partnership with Clark County and the association.
In 1963, the Historic Commercial Center District opened and became the location of high-end retail spaces, hot clubs, cool places to eat and drink and the center of Las Vegas. Iconic and other luminaries shopped, ate, drank and hung out in the many businesses including still-open John Fish Jewelers. In the center, one of the hottest nightclubs, State Street, was owned and operated by Gianni Russo, actor (who played Carlo in The Godfather), author, singer and restauranteur.
The center has become a place to cultivate music, arts, entertainment and entrepreneurship, as well as a place for the community to thrive, create and flourish. Arty’s Steakhouse and The Composers Room are two new businesses opening, as well as the renovation of Lotus of Siam's original location. For more info, visit commercialcenterdistrict.com.