Blue Angel – Las Vegas, NV

The 16-foot Blue Angel statue with blue dress, white wings, wand and a halo stood on a 10-foot tall pedestal in the parking lot of the Blue Angel Motel (1957-2011) located at 2110 E. Fremont Street in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rotating gently in the breeze from her lofty perch, the Blue Angel stood sentinel as a guardian angel to “Sin City”.

Nearby, the statue towered over the Blue Onion Drive-in Restaurant (1956-1970) at 2100 E. Fremont where car-hops on roller skates served burgers, onion rings, and sugared beverages to Hot Rodding teens who parked their cars by the iconic motel mascot.

The Blue Angel statue was installed in 1957 and hovered above the motel until it was removed in 2017. The statue was the only thing left of the motel which fell into disrepair and had to be demolished in 2015.

Before being sent for refurbishing, The Blue Angel made a brief appearance as part of the “Blue Angel: Between Heaven and Earth,” limited exhibit at the Neon Museum on Las Vegas Boulevard north of Bonanza Road.

The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Desert Space Foundation with support from the City of Las Vegas Mayor’s Office, as well as the City of Las Vegas Centennial Committee, which funded the Blue Angel’s restoration.

The Blue Angel statue was designed by Betty Willis who also designed the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign seen as visitors entered the city from the south on I-15. According to Willis, the inspiration for the angel was the Blue Fairy in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.

During the Covid crisis, the City of Las Vegas shared a photo of the Blue Angel on its Instagram account. The doctored photo showed the Blue Angel wearing a black mask with the messages “Vegas Strong” and “Wear a mask so we can slow the spread”.

While the Blue Angel was being refurbished, local businessman Alison Chambers commissioned a mural for his building at 705 Las Vegas Boulevard North. The building is home to the Vegas Theatre Hub, Trauma Recovery Yoga and many other educational workshops and events.

Using the popular image of the Blue Angel, Las Vegas native James Stanford designed a 2000+ sqft mural called “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending”. The mural covered the facade and side of the structure with three-versions of a Blue Angel story line. The front of the building showcased Blue Angels standing on columns.

On the side of the building, the explosive thrust of rocket engines propel the Blue Angels into the sky (a tribute to the Thunderbirds stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada since 1953). And the final smaller wall has a single image of the Blue Angel depicted as Venus on a half shell, a reference to Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. The mural was painted by street artist Cliff Morris of Cliff Airbrushing.

In March 2020, The Blue Angel (sans halo) was officially returned to the neighborhood that she reigned over for more than 60 years. The statue was installed on a traffic median at Five Points where Charleston Boulevard, Fremont Street and Eastern Avenue meet.

NOTE: For Christmas of 2014, Todd Von Bastiaans and Bryan McCarthy commissioned sculptor Ali Fathollahi to create an 8-foot Blue Angel sculpture for the roof of their house to hover over their vintage nativity scene located in Glen Heather Estates.

Blue Angel
C/o The Blue Angel Motel
2110 E. Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101

About

Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Thomasville, North Carolina.

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Posted in Statues and Carvings

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