Visitors to the Mob Museum can now savor downtown Las Vegas' colorful history beyond the unsavory side represented by gangsters. The third floor is now home to the “Fabulous Downtown” exhibit, which displays various black-and-white images, mostly from the 1950s.
The images, shot by photographers from the Las Vegas News Bureau, capture the city’s core as it appeared long before Las Vegas Boulevard — then known as Los Angeles Highway — was developed into a world-famous resort corridor.
Many of the photos feature Fremont Street and various long-departed businesses — from the Boulder Club (“Bets from a dime up”) to Fremont Drug. Some still-open hotel-casinos, such as El Cortez and the Golden Nugget, can also be seen.
The News Bureau, now an arm of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, has been providing media worldwide with publicity photos and films since 1947. Its staff has documented events as varied as atomic-bomb tests and the arrival of the Beatles.
The “Fabulous Downtown” display is included in the price of admission: $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for children 5 to 17. The Mob Museum is at 300 E. Stewart in the historic building that once housed the city’s post office and federal court. It is is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.