March 4, 2021

Connect Las Vegas NM Mobile Visitors Guide to Historic Sites  Photo: Chris Romero

Connect Las Vegas NM Mobile Visitors Guide to Historic Sites
Photo: Chris Romero

Las Vegas, N.M. –  A new mobile app visitors guide features historic sites throughout Las Vegas, New Mexico, including Ilfeld Auditorium and other historic buildings on the New Mexico Highlands University campus.

The mobile application is available on both Apple and Android cell phones by searching for Connect Las Vegas NM. The app provides an opportunity to learn more about Las Vegas’ history, architecture, film locations and culture.

“Las Vegas is a living museum of sorts due in part to the reflection of history and culture in its architecture,” said Frank Beurskens, who developed the mobile app. “The primary goal of the app is to increase awareness of the architecture and the stories behind many of the buildings for both local residents and visitors. Historical tourism is a growth industry and for many, the phone is their guide.”

There are 900 residential and commercial buildings in Las Vegas on the National Register of Historic Places. Other historic Highlands University buildings featured on the app include Rodgers Hall and Douglas Hall.

Beurskens is a board member for Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation (CCHP), Main Street de Las Vegas, and Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. The mobile app was funded by Las Vegas CCHP as well as the City of Las Vegas Lodgers Tax.

“The idea was to build a mobile app that provides a single source of tourist-oriented information that is easily accessible while the visitor is in town with phone in hand,” Beurskens said.

Beurskens said Chris Romero, a Highlands University media arts and technology graduate, played a key role in developing the graphics for the app under the supervision of Lauren Addario, a media arts faculty member who directs the Cultural Technology Internship Program.

“Chris designed the logo and color scheme for the app, along with the design for the advertising posters and visitor cards. He made the app graphically appealing to the user. Chris did an outstanding job and was great to work with. The Media Arts and Technology Department at Highlands is an incredible resource for the community,” Beurskens said.

Beurskens said the Connect Las Vegas NM Mobile Visitors Guide to Historic Sites leveraged existing print content to create a mobile version of the popular Walking Tour guides for Las Vegas, with the intent of expanding access to a broader audience comfortable with technology.

“Elmo Baca created the Walking Tour brochure in the 1980s, with reference to Architecture and Preservation in Las Vegas N.M. Volume II by Chris Wilson, who was involved in inventorying many of the Las Vegas buildings included in the National Register of Historic Places,” Beurskens said.

Beurskens said other historical sources for the original Walking Tour included Ellen Threinen’s 1977 study, Architecture and Preservation in Las Vegas: A Study of Six Districts. Historian Lynn Perrigo’s work on the history of Las Vegas was also a foundation for the Walking Tour. Perrigo, a former Highlands history professor, authored a number of books on New Mexico and Las Vegas history.

Beurskens said there are eight designated historical districts in Las Vegas.

“The mobile app organizes sites based on their district. Each site includes a recent photograph and, in many cases, historical photographs to provide some sense of the passage of time and its impact,” Beurskens said.

Beurskens said several historical buildings featured on the app no longer exist.

“Part of the app’s intent is to raise awareness of the fragility of our Las Vegas history and cultural assets reflected in these sites. They are treasured testaments of the past and need to be protected as if they were items in a museum,” Beurskens said.