Paul Revere Williams

Image of Paul Revere Williams
Paul Revere Williams Credit: diversityinsteam.com

We share this history, not only in recognition of #BlackHistoryMonth, but in recognition of a man who contributed so much to the design of some of Las Vegas’ most unique buildings, as well as residential homes, for which he had a particular passion.

Guardian Angel Cathedral
Guardian Angel Cathedral ca. 1970s Ref: 0002:0407

Paul Revere Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894 and became an architect despite being told by a teacher during his time at Polytechnic high school ‘“Your people will not be able to afford you and white people will not hire you. Be a doctor or a lawyer, because your people always need those.’” (Robinson-Jacobs, LA Times).

Paul trusted his instinct, and despite the discrimination he experienced, went on to become the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the first African-American to be elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Just 4 years ago, he was awarded AIA’s 2017 Gold Medal, the highest annual honor recognizing individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

The El Morocco and La Concha Motels
The El Morocco, center, and La Concha below on Las Vegas Blvd. Ref: VR 4745G – Florian Mitchell Collection ca.1965

He designed the La Concha Motel, (which is now the lobby to the Neon Museum), the El Morocco Motel and the Royal Nevada Hotel and Casino with John Replogle. His residential developments included Carver Park in Henderson and Berkley Square near Westside. He also designed the stunning Guardian Angel Cathedral off of the Strip and the Jockey Club for Las Vegas Park racetrack.