When American visual artist Betty Willis was hired by salesman Ted Rogich to design a sign to welcome tourists and travelers to Las Vegas in 1959, she probably had no idea that her now legendary signature piece would define the visual image of America’s most iconic city. Willis never even attempted to trademark the sign, saying that it was her gift to the city – and boy, what a gift it was!
While the neon sign, which is only 25 feet tall, is much smaller than other signs in Vegas, it has arguably done more in promoting Las Vegas than any other landmark in the city. As its design is in the public domain, merchants and retailers have used Willis’ generosity to sell a wide range of souvenirs featuring the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which has certainly played an important role in establishing the sign’s widespread popularity.
As the sign began receiving a cult-like status, more and more visitors wanted to forever capture the moment of entering Sin City, as Vegas is affectionately called.
However, in order to take pictures with the sign, which is ironically not even located within the city limits of Las Vegas, they frequently had to risk their lives to come near the sign and snap a photo. After decades of this unsafe practice, local authorities finally realized someone could get killed in an attempt to have a photo with it and built a parking lot by the sign in 2008, almost fifty years following its installation.
A visit to Las Vegas just wouldn’t be complete without seeing the symbol of the city itself. With My Vegas Limo Tour, visiting and taking pics with the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is included in all tours. Join us on an adventure of a lifetime, which should definitely start at this one-of-a-kind landmark.