Historic Westside School
The Historic Westside School was built in 1923 as a two-room schoolhouse with an additional two rooms added in 1928 and a second building in 1948. It is currently the oldest remaining school in Las Vegas.
It first served as a school for local Paiute children. However, as the African American population grew from 150 in 1930 to over 4,000 in 1950 with the opening of the Gunnery Range (today Nellis Air Force base), the Basic Magnesium Plant, and the Hoover Dam project, so did racism. During his three terms, Las Vegas Mayor Ernie Craigin relocated African American families to the Westside and would only renew business licenses of African American business owners if they relocated there. During this time, the school came to educate African American students almost exclusively.
The Historic Westside was, during segregation, the only place where African Americans could reside, attend school, or own a business. It remained a bustling neighborhood until 1967 when desegregation efforts succeeded and the school was closed. From 1971 through 2015, the school was owned and maintained by KCEP, a local radio station. In 2015, it was restored by the City of Las Vegas, a restoration of $12.5 million dollars. Today the building functions as offices and is home to KCEP and its parent company the Economic Opportunity Board, along with Nevada Preservation Foundation and other nonprofits.
The Nevada Preservation Foundation offers free tours of the Historic Westside School on the second Saturday of each month at 10:30am. You can register for these tours at www.NevadaPreservation.org under Events | Calendar.
Private tours for groups of 4 or more may be arranged in advance for National Trust members on days when the tour is not regularly offered.