Moving the Morelli House -- required some help around the traffic signals
Bringing the house down Las Vegas Blvd
Making some tight turns
Bakcing it onto the corner at Bridger
|Morelli House Awards and Accolades
Nevada State Historical Registry: The Morelli House was listed on the Nevada State Historical Registry in 2001.
City of Las Vegas Historical Registry: The Morelli House was listed on the City of Las Vegas Historical Registry in March, 2007.
AIA Livable Community Award Presented to the JLLV, April 9, 2007 by the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This award, established in 2006, was designed to recognize organizations and individuals outside the architectural profession, whose dedication, commitment, hard work and contributions to the security, arts, culture, beauty and livability of our communities have made Nevada a better place to live.
Congressional Citation This citation was presented to the Junior League by US Congresswoman Shelley Berkley at the Morelli House Public Debut held April 9, 2007.
Senatorial Citation Presented by Senator John Ensign, April 9, 2007, at the Morelli House Public Debut.
City of Las Vegas Plaque of Appreciation This plaque was presented by Mayor Oscar Goodman of the City of Las Vegas to the Junior League for its historical preservation efforts in downtown Las Vegas at the Morelli House Public Debut held April 9, 2007.
State of Nevada Preservation Award The Junior League of Las Vegas was presented this esteemed annual award by the State Historical Preservation Commission May 2, 2007.
Mayor’s Urban Design Award Awarded January2008 by Mayor Oscar Goodman. The Morelli House was the first recipient in the Historical Preservation Category for this annual award.
|A Mid Century Miracle
THE INTERESTING STORY OF THE MORELLI HOUSE PRESERVATION PROJECT
The Morelli House preservation project by the Junior League of Las Vegas is called a “mid century miracle” by some because it actually began with the acquisition of the Whitehead House, a historical mission revival mansion built by Stephen Whitehead in 1929. In 1997, the Oxford Group, a land development company, offered to donate the historical Whitehead House to the Junior League, provided that the Junior League would move the Whitehead House off of its original site. The League saw the house as a potential historical preservation project for the organization, a potential permanent headquarters, and a source of rental income for its endowment fund. At the time, the Junior League did not own a piece of land to move it to, nor did it have any funds to move it. Through luck and hard work, the League secured two significant donations to cover the cost of moving the Whitehead House off of its original site at 7th and Mesquite Streets, and they also secured a piece of vacant land as a temporary site from Jackie Gaughan.
The Whitehead House was moved to the temporary site located on 10th Street between Fremont and Carson Streets. For the next year and a half, the Junior League searched for a piece of land in the historical district in downtown Las Vegas that would be large enough to accommodate the Whitehead House while it applied and secured grants from the Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs to cover the costs of buying the land and relocating the house to the permanent site. Three parcels of land owned by two owners were finally located at the corner of 9th and Bridger Streets. The Commission on Cultural Affairs awarded the grant funds to purchase and relocate the house. A week before it was to be moved, in late July 2000, vagrants entered the structure and started a fire that burned the Whitehead House down.
Now, the Junior League had land but no house. The Commission on Cultural Affairs met with the League and asked them to ascertain if the Whitehead House could be structurally restored; if not, they would allow the Junior League a period of time to find another worthy historical structure to relocate and preserve. Shortly after the city engineers determined that the Whitehead House could not be salvaged, Steve Wynn announced that he was buying the homes at the Desert Inn Country Club Estates for demolition to make way for his new resort. Knowing about the plight of the Whitehead House, he had the Molasky Group, whom he had contracted to buy the Desert Inn Country Club homes, contact the Junior League about the Morelli House. The UNLV School of Architecture had determined that the Morelli House was the house most worthy of saving in the Desert Inn Country Club Estates because of its classic mid century architectural design, its near original condition, and the provenance associated with its original owner, Antonio Morelli, who was the musical conductor for the Sands Hotel Copa showroom orchestra from the mid 1950s to the early 1970s.
Though totally different from the Whitehead House, the Morelli House was equally significant to the architectural and cultural history of Las Vegas. Kay Glenn, the owner of the house, deeded the house to the Junior League. With the insurance money from the Whitehead House, the Morelli House was moved to the corner of 9th and Bridger, to the land originally bought for the Whitehead House on September 30, 2001. Literally, out of the ashes of the Whitehead House arose the mid century miracle, the Morelli House.
Once the Morelli House was relocated, an expansive soil problem was discovered which had to be rectified before the Morelli House could be placed on its foundation. The Junior League mounted a fundraising campaign to secure funds to rectify the soil and the Morelli house was finally put in place in the fall of 2002. Shortly thereafter, the Junior League moved into the Morelli House, its new permanent headquarters, although much work still needed to be done to fulfill its pledge to complete the restoration in accordance with the US Secretary of the Interior Standards for Historical Restoration.
Over then next several years, the League applied for and received additional funding from the Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs to complete the restoration. Once most of the restoration was completed and it acquired a mid century furniture collection from Vladimir Kagan, (another interesting story), the Junior League held its public debut of the Morelli House preservation project on April 9, 2007. That debut was the initial event in the Junior League’s public program to showcase the house through tours and other educational opportunities.
The story concludes with the completion of the restoration project in January 2009. Preserved forever for future generations, the Morelli House, a mid century miracle, is shared with the community and its tourists and will live on through the Junior League’s public program. The Morelli House stands today as a classic example of mid century residential architecture in Las Vegas, a reminder of the exuberant mid century growth and entertainment era of Las Vegas and a tribute to one who characterizes both, its original owner, Antonio Morelli.
Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs
In September, 2006, the Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs awarded a $50,000 grant for the continuing rehabilitation of the Morelli House which funded interior and exterior restorations and a monument sign to identify the property.
In October 2006, Nevada Humanities granted the Morelli House Project, $7,000 to develop an interpretive program for the Morelli House. This program began April 9th at the Morelli House Public Debut and the lecture by noted architectural historian, Alan Hess. The Nevada Humanities grant funds also funded the research and a subsequent essay by Alan Hess and the publication of an informational booklet about the Morelli House that utilized the essay. The debut signaled the beginning of the public tours and special programs to be held at the house as a Nevada Historic Cultural Center.
In December 2009 Nevada Humanities granted the Morelli House Public Program Project $5300.00 to produce a community program entitled “Morelli and His Music” to be held on April 2, 2009 at the Las Vegas Academy High School Theater, 7PM, followed by a reception at the Morelli House.
COMMUNITY DONORS OF THE MORELLI HOUSE PROJECT
The Junior League recognizes and gratefully acknowledges contributions by the following community donors for the completion and success of the Morelli House Preservation project:
Nevada Commission for Cultural Affairs
Kay G. Glenn
City of Las Vegas
Las Vegas Founders Golf Foundation
Desert Springs Pools and Spas, Inc
Vladimir Kagan and Erica Wilson
American Leather Furniture Company
Weiman Preview Furniture Company
Las Vegas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects
Members of the Junior League of Las Vegas
Molasky & Company
Lee & Sakahara Architects
Mohave Electric, Inc.
Young Plumbing & Mechanical
American Asphalt & Grading Company
Select Air Conditioning
Robert’s Roof and Flooring, Inc.
All Seasons A?C & Heating
Fielden & Associates
Dr. Janet White
Las Vegas Design Center at the World Market Center
Dr. Andrew G. Kirk
Bairs Carpet Valley, Inc.
Bank of Nevada
Ultra 8: Ariston
Atomic Age Alliance
|Vladimir Kagan: Biographical Information
|Vladimir Kagan is one of the most recognized and enduring designers of modern furniture and is widely regarded as “the grandfather of modern furniture design”. He started designing in 1947 and by the early Fifties, his innovative sculptured furniture created a new look in American furniture. The European Magazine says: “Vladimir Kagan is one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century. Furniture designed by him in the forties, fifties and sixties have become icons of Modernity and an obligatory reference to every designer. He is the creative grandfather of a whole new generation of designers.”
Born in Worms on the Rhine, Germany in 1927, Vladimir Kagan came to the United States in 1938. His earliest focus was on painting and sculpture but in his formative years he became exceedingly attracted to architecture and design. He studied Architecture at Columbia University and in 1947 joined his father, Illi Kagan, a master cabinetmaker, to work in his woodworking shop and learn furniture making from the ground up.
Early commissions included the Delegate's Cocktail Lounges for the first United Nations Headquarters in Lake Success N.Y. (1947-48). In 1949 he opened his first shop in New York on East 65th Street and moved to fashionable 57th Street in 1950. His clients were luminaries in the world of art, theater, music and industry. They included Marilyn
Monroe, Xavier Cougat,Lilly Pons, and Gary Cooper; Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Aviation, Walt Disney, General Electric, Monsanto, General Motors, Prudential Insurance, and the Government of Venezuela.
Connoisseurs and museums avidly collect his designs. Kagan’s furniture is in the private collections of Barbara Jacobson of the Museum of Modern Art, film director David Lynch, actor Dan Akroyd, the Spice Girls and David Bowie, as well as the late artists Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Sinatra and Violinist Isaac Stern. Fashion designers Tom Ford, Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Joseph, Elie Tahari, Roberto Cavalli, and Anna Fendi are all Kagan collectors. His prize-winning designs have been published in books and magazines internationally. Pieces of his furniture are part of the permanent collections in museums across the world including: the V&A Museum in London; the Vitra Design Museum and Die Neue Samlung in Germany; the Brooklyn Museum; the Cooper Hewitt Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Pasadena Art Institute; Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts; Chicago's Athenaeum; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
|Kagan’s work and design innovation have been recognized and acclaimed throughout his long career. In 1980, New York's Fashion Institute of Technology honored Mr. Kagan with a thirty-year retrospective exhibit: Vladimir Kagan: “Three Decades of Design.” In 2000, he was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Furniture Designers. In 2001, he received the Pinnacle Award from the American Society of Furniture Designers for one of his Sofas for the American Leather Company. Also In 2001, Vladimir Kagan received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design bestowed by the Board of Trustees of Ferris State University of Grand Rapids Michigan. In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum Art. In 2004, Vladimir Kagan was awarded the: Lifetime Achievement Award and Environmental Design Award by the Cooper Hewitt Museum. In 2009, he was inducted into Design Magazine’s Designer
Hall of Fame and in January, 2010, Kagan received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Design Center of the Americas.
He has served as chairman of the Advisory Commission of the School of Art and Design in New York and been a member on numerous committees for the Architectural League of New York. He has served on the faculty of New York's Parsons School of Design and has lectured extensively on the history of modern design in furniture and architecture. His autobiography, “The Complete Kagan”, was published in 2004.
Vladimir Kagan is married to Erica Wilson, internationally known needlework designer, author and Television personality. They have three children and live between their homes in New York and Nantucket.
Kagan’s involvement with the Morelli House Project
Kagan became involved with the Las Vegas Junior League’s project by a twist of fate, The day after the Junior League dropped into the World Market Center to inquire about leads for mid century modern furnishings for the Morelli House, Mr. Kagan was to be the guest speaker at the World Market Center’s First Friday Designer Series. Mr. Dave Palmer and Mr. Victor Pedraz of the World Market Center invited the Junior League members to attend the lecture event and made sure they had an opportunity to explain their project to Mr. Kagan. Once the project was explained and Mr. Kagan agreed to go over to the Morelli House to see it, Mr. Kagan enthusiastically offered to take on the project as lead interior designer showcasing his selected furnishings. Due to Mr. Kagan’s efforts, the Morelli House’s primary areas were completely furnished with authentic mid century Vladimir Kagan furniture selected and placed by the master himself. Mr. Kagan solicited donated furnishings from his manufacturers, American Leather and Wieman Preview and also donated pieces from his own historical collection. The Vladimir Kagan furniture on permanent display at the Morelli House includes two Serpentine Sofas, a Nautilus Sofa, a coffee table, an Omnibus Dining Room Set and a Trisemetric stool.
For more information go to: www.vladimirkagan.com