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Building Las Vegas

By skennedy on February 28, 2017 4:34 PM | Permalink

The Tiberti family provided start-up costs for new collecting project that is documenting the urban planning and physical construction of Southern Nevada.

Recognized as one of the region’s most successful developers, J.A. Tiberti left an indelible mark on Southern Nevada. From his early days working with the U.S. Corps of Engineers on the construction of what would become Nellis Air Force Base to the founding of the Tiberti Company, J.A. Tiberti and the Tiberti family have shaped much of the physical infrastructure of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

“The Tibertis were one of the earliest families involved in the construction of Las Vegas,” said Patricia Iannuzzi, dean of the UNLV University Libraries. “Multiple generations of the Tiberti family have followed in the footsteps of J.A. Tiberti, developing and constructing the backbone of the city with projects that define community, such as schools, churches, medical facilities, neighborhoods, parks, homes, and businesses.”

A new project launched by the UNLV University Libraries Special Collections, Building Las Vegas, is documenting the story of the many people, like the Tiberti family, who have had a hand in planning and constructing this region.

“The Tiberti Family Foundation has generously provided start-up funding so that we could launch this project,” said Iannuzzi. “A vital part of documenting our community includes collecting evidence about the region’s built environment, its architecture and design, the structures and materials, and its patterns of growth and development. Building Las Vegas gives us the opportunity to collect and preserve this history for future generations.”

Renaldo and Debra Tiberti hosted a kick-off event for members of the builder’s community at their home to introduce the project. Joe Kennedy and Jennifer Lewis, both members of the University Libraries Advisory Board, were instrumental in planning the project and continue to support the work of the UNLV University Libraries.

Under the direction of Stefani Evans, project coordinator, and Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center, UNLV University Libraries has begun collecting oral histories from the architects, urban planners, builders, developers, contractors, interior designers, environmental activists, civil engineers, and others who played significant roles in shaping our region’s built environment.

“We have already collected more than 85 interviews in the initial phases of the project,” said Evans. “We have been able to talk to a variety of people who have influenced every aspect of the region, from Las Vegas Boulevard, North Las Vegas, and Paradise to Summerlin, Henderson, and even as far away as Pahrump. Each of the people interviewed has shared some unique insight into how and why the region was shaped this way.”

Special Collections has preserved over a century of historical materials about  Las Vegas’s growth, beginning with documentation of the first plots, roads, pipes, and buildings in Las Vegas. collections, researchers will find materials about architecture, real estate and urban development, the environment, aerial photographs, street maps and subdivision plats, publications, and much more.

“Because Southern Nevada has experienced unprecedented growth in the past 30 years, and serves as a model for studying modern urban issues, we launched this initiative to focus our collecting efforts on finding and securing additional evidence about our region’s growth,” said Michelle Light, direction of UNLV University Libraries Special Collections. “We are looking for individuals to share their story about their impact on the urban landscape, and we are seeking donations of personal, organizational or corporate archives about development in Southern Nevada.”

For more information about Building Las Vegas or about doing an oral history, contact Evans at or (702) 895-2222. To donate historical materials and archival collections, contact Peter Michel, Special Collections curator, at or (702) 895-2243. To make a financial gift to support the Building Las Vegas, contact Laurel Lamb, assistant director of development, at or (702) 895-2165.