Introduction to the Provenance of the Morelli House

In addition to its architecture, the validation of the historic significance of the Morelli House is also based on the provenance of its original owner, Antonio Morelli. Due to his position as the orchestra leader of the Sands Copa Room Orchestra during the Las Vegas entertainment boom in Las Vegas in the 50’s and 60’s, it placed him at the heart of a popular culture movement by the Las Vegas casinos that featured America’s most popular entertainers in their showrooms as a marketing strategy initially used to entice high rolling gamblers but that eventually led to creating Las Vegas as the entertainment-based tourist destination referred to as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” 

The community concerts that Morelli produced for the locals using talent from the Las Vegas Strip helped to develop the cultural amenities in the community was a secondary consideration of the value of his provenance. But, first and foremost, his connection to the entertainment and casino industries in the 50’s and 60’s was the primary reason for the determination of Antonio Morelli’s provenance for placement on three historic registries.

Antonio’s wife, Helen, tangentially is of interest to the historic provenance of the house, as a supportive mate to her husband’s casino orchestra and community concert endeavors and as a society matron of Las Vegas at the time. In l976 a taped oral history interview was conducted with Helen that captured her memories of her late husband’s professional and community activities by Jerry Masini for the Special Collections Department of the UNLV Library. It was through Helen’s foresight, that the photographs and other historic ephemera were preserved and given to the Junior League by a former neighbor with whom she had entrusted the materials before she permanently departed Las Vegas to return to her family in New York. 


Anthony Morelli

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