Published on April 23rd, 2015 | by Phedre0
Mob Museum: Las Vegas
At first glance, the building located at 300 E Stewart Avenue doesn’t look much like you’d envision a mafia museum to be. At three stories and dressed in vary shades of brown brick and light brown plaster, it’s steps echo that of a courthouse than a museum; an image you’re reminded of as you press deeper into the museum itself – for it is exactly that. Built in 1933, the Mob Museum stands in the same building used as both a US Post office and a US District Court Nevada Courthouse – the same courthouse used to house the infamous Kefauver Committee Mob Trials in the 1950’s.
Yet aside from the building itself, what makes this museum so unique isn’t necessarily the architecture or the history surrounding this location, but the exhibits themselves. On the third story, not only is a person met with the history of the Mob’s origins, but comes face-to-face with the infamous brick facade against which the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred.
The blood has long oxidized and flecked away from the bricks themselves – a smear of red paint standing now in its stead – but the bullet holes remain; grim reminders of the murders brought forth by Bugs Morgan and his men. As you press deeper into the museum, you find yourself becoming more and more immersed into the history of these peoples, recognizing infamous names such as Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and Albert “Tick-Tock” Tannenbaum (otherwise known as members of “Murder Inc.”). You become a witness to the history of the their deeds, of their loyalties (and subterfuge), and of their rivalries.
By the time you hit the second and first floors, you’ve found yourself weaving in and out of Las Vegas’ history, of FBI stings and surveillance methods, sat yourself in the very courthouse itself that oversaw the Kefauver Hearings, and wandered through the most gruesome and fascinating of exhibits – the Murder Room, as I call it – where one sees the various ice-picks, weapons, uncensored photos, and video clips detailing the more insidious histories of mob-affiliated murders and abductions. For any history buff and mafia-movie aficionado, the Mob Museum is a true gem hidden within old Vegas and one I encourage any and all to explore and learn from. If anything, it provides invaluable insight not only into the histories of Vegas, New York, and Chicago, but of the inspirations given for many of cinema’s more iconic figures.
When in doubt, “just look the other way.”