Whenever some greenhorn spouts off about Old Vegas being “ghetto,” Scotch 80s is my trump card. Refreshingly ungated (unlike Rancho Circle, Rancho Nevada and Rancho Bel Air), and featuring acre-plus ranch estates just a skip from downtown, Scotch 80s is one of the few old-money urban ‘hoods open to Sunday drivers. The neighborhood was initiated in 1913 by Peter Buol, who (with his brothers and their company, Southern Nevada Land & Development), owned the 80-acre parcel and traveled to Scotland to secure investors—hence “Scotch 80s.” World War II delayed development until the 1950s, but it’s fitting that Buol—Las Vegas’ first mayor—created the neighborhood that is home to its most recent holders of that office.
Why did “nothing compare to Maryland Square”?
Because there’s so much to share … like toxic chemicals! In the heart of Las Vegas’s once-upscale retail district, Maryland Square (on the northwest corner of Twain Avenue and Maryland Parkway) ran strong for more than two decades through the early 1990s. Tenants included Rusty Goe’s Las Vegas Rare Coin Gallery, Wayne Coyner’s legendary Underground Records and WonderWorld, a discount department store. Another was Al Phillips The Cleaner, whose Maryland Square location was at the center of an environmental controversy. According to a November 2000 Nevada Division of Environmental Protection report, discharged perchloroethylene, a chemical used in dry cleaning, was found in groundwater under the site—just as the Clark County School District was negotiating with the Herman Kishner Trust for the property. Today, Dean Petersen Elementary School sits at the western edge of the land (on Cambridge Street), while the eastern portion fronting Maryland Parkway has been cleared, fenced and remains mired in lawsuits and countersuits over its environmental cleanup.
Vegas Songs, Redux
Several of you wondered why your favorite ditty didn’t rate a mention in last week’s discussion of Vegas songs. Easy: too many tracks, not enough space. Thanks, however, to adopted-native Rob Catalano, who reminded me of the early-80s LV/OC band MIA by sending me their classic stomper, “Las Vegas.” A scant 108 seconds, it’s marginally briefer than a drive-through celebrity marriage, and squeezes the essence of Las Vegas into 136 words of punk-rock wisdom.