Preservation group leader to visit Vegas

A sense of history, a connection to the past, is something you don’t find easily in Las Vegas, most of which looks like it was built two weeks ago.

But people here want it. The recent furor over the potential destruction of the 64-year-old Huntridge Theater and the formation of the Atomic Age Alliance, a group dedicated to preservation, are two examples of the growing need in this metropolis for more than strip malls, cookie-cutter homes and casinos.

Try, however, explaining that undercurrent of need to someone who doesn’t live here. It’s not easy.

Which is part of the reason Heather Macintosh is visiting Las Vegas from Washington, D.C., next week. Since 2004, Macintosh has been president of Preservation Action (, with the motto “Grassroots Preservation in our Nation’s Capitol”), a 34-year-old group that reminds Congress that maintaining the country’s history is as important as adding new chapters to it.

Macintosh laughingly said she knows little about Las Vegas, which is a big part of the reason she is visiting.

“People have little understanding of Vegas, that there’s anything there beyond the Strip, and that’s part of the reason I’m going there, to learn,” she said.

Macintosh, who in 1998 founded, the nation’s first online local history encyclopedia, hopes others want to learn from her.

Part of her mission during her visit will be talking to people about developing relationships with members of Congress and using those relationships to further the agenda of historic preservation.

“I plan on writing this up for my membership,” she said. “If I can find a way to get people to lobby their legislators in Vegas, anybody can do it anywhere. And given an opportunity to see Vegas, I can gain a greater understanding of the issues there.”


War benefits aren’t what they used to be.

After World War II, my father got a full ride at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for doing time as a supply truck driver during the Italy campaign. He ended up owning a bar, but he was one smart bartender.

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