The Neon Boneyard

The Neon Boneyard, where old signs go to die.


Ever since I visited the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, I’ve been fascinated with old neon signs. So many of us are able to immediately elicit an image of neon signs in our mind when we hear the words, but we’re probably unaware of just how scarce neon signs are becoming in this digital LED age.

Take a look at this picture of the Las Vegas Strip:


There’s very little neon, if any, pictured here.

You start to realize that neon signs are a thing of the past. Luckily, it’s been preserved in places like the American Sign Museum and the Neon Boneyard. The background and artistry of neon signs is fascinating. Try to visit at least one of these archives, if not both.

While the American Sign Museum is mostly an indoor museum, the Neon Boneyard is outdoors. Visitors are warned to wear closed-toe shoes and stay on the path because there is broken glass and some jagged metal around the signs. At the Neon Boneyard, the signs are left to the elements and are deteriorating with time.


But the stories and inspiration behind the signs is kept intact. The Neon Boneyard holds tours day and night so that visitors can learn more about iconic signs such as my favorite, the STARDUST sign inspired by the almost daily views of atomic testing happening nearby, a year after Russia revealed Sputnik.

But all the signs have a story behind them.

Which sign(s) intrigue you?


19 responses to “The Neon Boneyard

  1. The museum sounds like a fascinating place to visit, Juliann, perfect for us who still have a tinge of nostalgia for the old days. I was in Vegas when neon still ruled.:) If you get back there, BTW, you can still find the neon signs in the historic part of town. –Curt

  2. I’m assuming neon signs have been dying off since they’re less sustainable and use more electricity than LED lights? Last time I was in Vegas, I noticed that it felt a lot less tacky and blingy than I remembered. I guess I just found out why that was!

  3. Quite a nostalgia trip. A quick read on the rise and fall of neon lighting is fascinating. Who would have imagined it in (say) 1970? I’m intrigued by ‘ghost’ signs – those that remain in their original form but which have long ceased to have relevance.

  4. I think it’s nice that they repurposed old signs into a museum rather than tossing them away on a random landfill. I kinda like the new LED lights better though for its energy efficiency

  5. I’ve heard about this place quite often from those visiting Las Vegas. It is a cool sight to visit and photograph! Do you know if they signs light up at night?

  6. I like the yucca sign, cause that’s a food in Spanish haha. Such a cool place! Reminds me a little of Cadillac Ranch in Texas.

  7. This spot has been intriguing to me for so long! I’ve been to Vegas a bunch but didn’t know this was here and am happy to find out there’s something else to do besides gamble and drink! 🙂

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