LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Just a glance at houses in the Paradise Palms neighborhood will take you back a few years. It’s Vegas, baby!
Clark County expanded boundaries of the area today, adding 747 homes and making it the largest “Historic Neighborhood Overlay” in Southern Nevada. The houses are “Mid-Century Modern” architecture that have stood the test of time. Many still have “butterfly” roofs.
It was the first master-planned community in Las Vegas, built between 1960 and 1965 with architecture that reflects its time: homes that ranged from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet (most were 1,800 or less) with “flat, folded plate, butterfly, pyramid and open gable rooflines, mixed with various decorative block accents.”
The neighborhood now officially includes 963 homes on 241 acres, generally at Desert Inn Road and west of Eastern Avenue. It’s right behind Boulevard Mall.
Many people think of Palm Springs when they see the neighborhood. The roots of Paradise Palms extend there. It was the work of developers Irwin Molasky and Merv Adelson, and Palmer & Krisel were the designers.
It’s a throwback to a different Las Vegas, evoking thoughts of the Rat Pack and the movie “Casino.” Robert DeNiro’s “Ace Rothstein” character lived on the golf course in the neighborhood, just west of Eastern Avenue.
Just before the county expanded the area considered an historic neighborhood, Commissioner Tick Segerblom said, “At the end of the day, the question is do we want to try to preserve this neighborhood which is unique in Clark County. It’s like Palm Springs. The historic significance is beyond comparison.”
The response was an overwhelming “yes,” with commissioners voting 7-0 to expand the “historic” designation.
There’s not a lot of power behind the designation, but some residents are more afraid of what it could mean in the future. One speaker said he views the decision as “the first step” toward an HOA with broad consequences.
Commissioner Jim Gibson, who seemed a little annoyed at the suggestion, said the Historic Neighborhood Overlay is not a “government homeowners association.” The phrase had been used in materials distributed through the neighborhood prior to the county meeting.
And while some residents don’t want the government sticking their nose into their neighborhood, it will give them notice whenever a proposal for a major change comes along, said Dave Cornoyer, a home builder who lives there. Short of that, it merely provides a no-cost review of renovations or additions to houses in the area. Any additions of more than 10% will be reviewed, but details like the color of the front door aren’t up for review.
Others who spoke Wednesday included people who grew up in the neighborhood, where some of their fathers worked as show producers and performers. Several residents love the area so much they have bought several houses in Paradise Palms.
Corrine Entratter Sidney, 85, a former model and actress who married “Mr. Entertainment” Jack Entratter of the Sands Hotel and Casino, said, “I love Paradise Palms. … All we do is destroy things or change our history.”
Winchester Town Board member John J. Delibos scolded those who had tried to change the neighborhood’s unique architecture. “If you want a red tile stucco roof, there are hundreds of communities in town … move there.”
He said it was ridiculous that so many of the houses had been “bastardized,” and pleaded on behalf of the neighborhood he has known since 1959. “There are certain parts of town that if we want to have any kind of historical reference to where we came from, we need to do that.”
Others bemoaned how the years have taken a toll on their childhood homes.
Craig Palacios, an architect who grew up in the neighborhood, said, “My neighborhood looks pretty sad.” He sees the area as part of his heritage, and since he moved back to the neighborhood, he has renovated a home and restored its original state.
“I think everybody should recognize Paradise Palms is a treasure from an historic and architectural point of view for the city of Las Vegas and for the county of Clark County here,” said Carl Ripaldi, who lives in one of the houses that still has a butterfly roof.
It’s not often that your neighbors know the names of the architect who designed their home, but Paradise Palms stands out in a sea of stucco and monotonous block walls.