Hugh E. Taylor Archives
The Nevada Preservation Foundation was made the steward of the more than 5,000 architectural drawings of residential and commercial buildings, including additions, renovations, and multi-family homes that were designed starting in 1946 by renowned mid-century architect Hugh E. Taylor. Among these architectural drawings are numerous historically important buildings in Nevada including a renovation of the Moulin Rouge, Sunrise Hospital, Wilbur Clark’s Palm House (The Diplomat), Showboat Bowling Alley, and hundreds of custom and tract homes across the Las Vegas Valley.
Some of the surprising discoveries made in our archival work thus far has been the identification of several plans for the lost Desert Inn Estate homes as well as finding that Taylor designed the tract plans for the original units 1 and 2 of Paradise Palms. The plans include two basic floorplans and ten different elevation designs, encompassing a total of 75 homes in the Paradise Palms subdivision.
The City of Las Vegas Centennial Commission awarded NPF a $107,000 grant in order to fund the first phase of the archival work. This phase includes moving all of the drawings out of Taylor’s wooden flat file storage and into metal flat files using proper document preservation techniques. The grant also covers the creation of an online database that will ultimately give the public access to the almost 1,000 projects that comprise Taylor’s legacy. In addition, the grant has allowed us to have a select few of the lost Desert Inn Estate homes recreated through 3D virtual modeling and will also fund the creation of an app-based map that will show where existing Taylor buildings and neighborhoods still exist in Las Vegas.
We also acquired photographs and ephemera from the estate of Wilbur and Toni Clark. As the developer and front man for the Desert Inn Casino, Wilbur Clark’s photos include early documentation of the Desert Inn Casino as well as the lost Desert Inn Estate homes. Photos include many famous and infamous faces of the past decades, including Moe Dalitz, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon. Other documents include menus and brochures from the Desert Inn Casino and personal keepsakes from Clark himself. Much of this will also become part of the Hugh E. Taylor Archives as they provide supplementary information on the career of this important architect.
Once this first phase of our archival work is finished, we will be seeking grant and funding opportunities to digitize the architectural drawing collection as well. When the project has drawn to a close, it will go on permanent loan to the Nevada State Museum where the database and digital collection will be widely available for public education.