Neon Museum honors Las Vegas' first integrated casino-hotel

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The Moulin Rouge's neon sign and other artifacts are at the Neon Museum.
The Moulin Rouge's neon sign and other artifacts are at the Neon Museum.

The short-lived Moulin Rouge Casino and Hotel, the first major racially integrated property that played a role in ending segregation in Las Vegas, is the subject of a new exhibit at the Neon Museum.

The Museum of Gaming History placed the Moulin Rouge artifacts in the Neon Museum's La Concha visitor center. They include promotional materials, gaming chips, souvenirs, dinnerware and postcards.

Moulin Rouge, which opened in 1955 in the Westside neighborhood in downtown Las Vegas but closed the same year, was the site of a pivotal civil rights meeting in March 1960 that led to the beginning of the end of segregation in hotels and casinos.

One of the promotional fliers from 1955 reads: "For years, men have dreamed of a resort where everyone would be welcomed regardless of color, race or creed. Today, that bold dream has come true in Las Vegas, and it has come true in breathtaking fashion."

Moulin Rouge opened and closed several times and had several owners, including Sarann Knight Preddy, the first African American woman to hold a Nevada gaming license. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. An arson fire in 2009 destroyed all but the neon sign, the hotel's facade and some of the property's structures.

The Neon Museum reassembled and re-illuminated the sign last year.

The Museum of Gaming History sponsors eight gaming memorabilia exhibits throughout Las Vegas.

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