Links: University Libraries, Contact Special Collections

Built Exhibit Highlight: SAHARA AVENUE by Aaron Mayes

By Su Kim Chung on June 6, 2018 1:59 PM | Permalink

 

Visual Materials Curator Aaron Mayes discusses the Sahara Avenue wall section of his BUILT exhibit which is currently on display on the 1st floor of Lied Library in his blog post, "Sahara Avenue: Dissecting the Built environment of the Las Vegas Valley As Seen Along one of the City’s Major Thoroughfares."

Opening reception for Built: A Photographic Survey of the Built Environment of the Las Vegas Valley exhibit at Lied Library. February 20, 2018. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

Sahara Avenue is a time machine! Driving down this city street can take you back to the founding of Las Vegas, or forward to the future. You can stop in the 1950s for a little “Old Vegas” dining at the Golden Steer or in 1970s for some Sin City shopping behind a replica of the Statue of Liberty. You can cruise to the 1980s and view lakes incongruously placed in the middle of the desert or see modern mini-mansions built just a few years ago. Simply put, Sahara Avenue is a fascinating slice of Las Vegas’s built environment.

In addition to providing a survey of development through the years, Sahara Avenue contains examples of the types of developments seen in the Las Vegas Valley. Master planned communities, free-standing subdivisions, ranch style homes, major shopping centers, strip malls, parks, and schools all call Sahara Avenue and its immediate surroundings home. The thoroughfare intersects the Las Vegas Strip, includes casino properties and a high-rise residential property, and is a dividing line between the City of Las Vegas and Clark County. The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) maintains robust service with its “Sahara Express” route, while the Las Vegas Monorail terminates at Sahara and Paradise Road. All the valley’s freeways, I-15, U.S. 93/95, and the Las Vegas beltway, share interchanges at Sahara.

Sahara Avenue also contains examples of challenges facing urban planners in Southern Nevada. Some are man made, while others are part of the natural terrain. Sahara Avenue is a major power transmission easement with multiple substations and large transmission lines throughout. It crosses a flood channel as well as a natural wash on its journey from Sunrise Manor in the east to the Red Rock Country Club in the west. The avenue also serves areas representing all socioeconomic classes, contains housing and commercial properties throughout the spectrum, and has its fair share of the homeless population.

In order to better understand the built environment of the Las Vegas Valley, I photographed Sahara’s entire length. Along the 18-mile stretch, I would start at major intersections and fan out along the avenue and many of its immediate surroundings in hopes of giving future researchers a feeling of what the areas are like as well as what planning and architecture features are prominent in the different sections.

Next up… Eastern Avenue!

  • Opening reception for Built: A Photographic Survey of the Built Environment of the Las Vegas Valley exhibit at Lied Library. February 20, 2018. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

  • Photograph of Golfer at the Red Rock Country Club, looking south, Las Vegas, Nevada. October 16, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20171016_UNLVsc_1524) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Fisherman on a kayak in The Lakes, Las Vegas, Nevada. August 29, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170829_UNLVsc_7228) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Traffic and power lines on West Sahara looking east in early morning light, Las Vegas, Nevada. August 30, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170830_UNLVsc_7495) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of West Sahara Avenue Statue of Liberty replica behind neighborhood looking southwest, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 06, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170906_UNLVsc_8873) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Traffic on I-15 over West Sahara Avenue near Rancho Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada. August 31, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170831_UNLVsc_8137) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Section of Union Pacific Railroad tracks, Las Vegas, Nevada. May 31, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170531_UNLVsc_1635) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of The Golden Steer sign looking west, Las Vegas, Nevada. August 27, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170827_UNLVsc_6610) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Monorail at East Sahara Avenue and Joe W Brown Drive looking east, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 12, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170912_UNLVsc_1493) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Triceratops at the Jewelry & Mineral-Las Vegas shop on East Sahara Avenue looking northwest, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 12, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170912_UNLVsc_1857) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of A pedestrian waiting to cross East Sahara Avenue at Maryland Parkway looking north at dusk, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 12, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170912_UNLVsc_2057) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Lightning and Flamingo Wash looking west, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 13, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170913_UNLVsc_0048) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Block wall and a sidewalk along East Sahara Avenue east of Sloan Lane, looking east, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 28, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170928_UNLVsc_8179) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of A flood control channel between houses off Tree Line Drive north of East Sahara Avenue, looking west, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 28, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170928_UNLVsc_8553) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Water in the Las Vegas Wash on the Club at Sunrise Golf Course, looking north from East Sahara Avenue, Clark County, Nevada. September 08, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170908_UNLVsc_0278) Photo by Aaron Mayes

  • Photograph of Las Vegas strip with Red Rock canyon as see from the east end of East Sahara Avenue, looking west, Las Vegas, Nevada. September 29, 2017. UNLV University Libraries Photographs of the Development of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. (PH-00394_20170929_UNLVsc_9030) Photo by Aaron Mayes