The Nevada Preservation Foundation is steward and intellectual property holder of Hugh E. Taylor’s architectural legacy. Taylor was a mid-century architect who worked primarily in Las Vegas where he resided until his recent passing in October of 2015. He made significant contributions to architecture in Southern Nevada, designing homes, additions, renovations, commercial buildings, apartment complexes, casinos, and other various structures. In his words, his most important contribution to architecture in our community was in designing many of the residential structures that Las Vegans call home.
The Hugh E. Taylor archives contain drawings of approximately 1,000 projects, along with several color renderings and artifacts. Taylor’s body of work ranges from 1946 to 1989, providing a rich history of property design and building types built in Las Vegas during this time period. Several notable clients include Antonio Morelli, Louis Prima, Moe Dalitz, the Von Tobel Lumber Company, and multiple homes for J.A. Tiberti and his family. Of course, this is not to mention that Mr. Taylor was brought to Las Vegas by Wilbur Clark to design the Desert Inn Casino and many of the Desert Inn Estates homes.
The mid-20th century was a period of significant growth for Las Vegas. From 1940 to 1950, Las Vegas saw a 192% population growth with another 162% growth between 1950 and 1960. During the time that Hugh E. Taylor was practicing, the city grew from 8,422 residents to a staggering 260,561. The buildings in the Hugh E. Taylor Archives are an important part of this growth. Placing them into a digital archive will put an important part of Las Vegas history at the public’s fingertips.
What will be in the online archive?
The archive will be made up of three collections: Projects, Artifacts, and Oral History.
The Project Section will contain extensive information on all Taylor’s projects from 1946 to 1989. The archive will be configured for users to quickly and easily locate individual buildings, neighborhoods, commercial projects, etc. through the use of preset search terms (e.g. architectural style, square footage, original owner, extant/demolished). The archive will not yet contain digital images of the drawings. We are looking for additional funds so we can add these to the archive. Our rough estimate right now is that scanning these approximately 5,000 drawings will cost around $500,000. But this is part of our long-term plan.
The Taylor Archives also contain various artifacts (e.g. architect’s stamp, license, slide rules), renderings of some projects, and a few examples of correspondence between Mr. Taylor and clients. This grant will allow us to put information and images on each of these items in this area of the archive. Similar to the Project Section, the Artifact Section will be searchable through preset terms.
In January 2014, the Nevada Preservation Foundation received a grant from Nevada Humanities to conduct and transcribe Mr. Taylor’s oral history. Approximately 5 hours of interviews and stories were recorded and subsequently transcribed. The interviews will be uploaded in MP3 format into the archive along with a pdf of the interview transcription. You will be able to hear Hugh and Priscilla Taylor tell their story in their own words!
Other Cool Stuff in the Archive
While many architecture lovers, geeks, and researchers will be happy perusing the digital archives, we know that not everyone wants that level of detail. Happily, the software we will be using will allow us to create very user friend exhibits on the Nevada Preservation Foundation site. For example, we could do an exhibit on the now demolished Desert Inn Estates homes. Or we could pull out the information on several of the motor courts that Hugh designed. These exhibits will be easier to navigate and really make the digital archives accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
But we aren’t stopping there!
Interactive Map & 3D Virtual Home Tour
We will also be developing an interactive map that holds all of the known Hugh Taylor buildings. You will be able to use your phone, tablet, or computer to access it. It will pop up information on each building and even allow you to navigate to the building site. How is that for cool?!?
And of course we’ve saved the best for last. NPF will be collaborating with [N]Site Studios for this part of the project. We will select several homes and transform them into a virtual Home Tour! Much like a video game, you will be able to walk through some of the Hugh Taylor homes. We have already gotten a rough version of the Eddie Fisher & Elizabeth Taylor home up and running. We can’t wait to show you!
A Big Thank You to the Las Vegas Centennial Commission
The Nevada Preservation Foundation wants to give a huge, gigantic thank you to the Las Vegas Centennial Commission! We are so excited that Hugh’s work will be brought to so many people through the commission’s generosity. We cannot thank you enough for your support.
Keep an eye out over the coming year for updates on our progress. We can’t wait to have a launch party for the archive!