There are talks underway to possibly expand the Las Vegas Pioneer Trail to highlight the valley’s Civil Rights era.
The trail already expands into the westside, a historically black neighborhood near downtown. It starts at Valley View Boulevard just south of U.S. 95 stretching north. Then it goes east of I-15, ending on Las Vegas Boulevard in the downtown area.
“So this is the room where Sammy Davis Junior stayed,” said Katherine Duncan, Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce president.
Visitors frequent the historical Harrison Boarding House, a small home on the westside
“So people would come in through this back door,” Duncan said.
The home is famous for housing entertainers like Davis, a Rat Pack member, and others during segregation.
“We’re one of the earliest gathering places for African Americans in Las Vegas,” Duncan said.
The building is part of the Pioneer Trail, a roughly 8-mile path that begins at the Springs Preserve and ends on Las Vegas Boulevard. Half of the stops are on the westside.
“The Pioneer Trail itself ends up being a Civil Rights trail because it winds its way through the African American community,” Duncan said. “It gives us an opportunity to point out who the civil rights pioneers were at the time.”
Duncan wants to expand the trail, not only with stops, but she also wants it to continue into North Las Vegas.
“We want to connect the two cities using the trail, so if we go a little bit further north we can connect Kyle Ranch,” said Duncan.
While incorporating the Paran Elks Lodge, Walker African American Museum, Berkley Square and Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church
According to Duncan, it’s the first church on the westside.
The idea to expand the trail follows a consultant suggestion Duncan received earlier this year.
“Instead of concentrating on one project at a time, try and connect all of them and form an alliance of all the people along the trail,” Duncan said. “The potential additions to the trail aim to continue highlighting gathering places, as well as African American contributions to the community.”
“More or less expanding on the experience that we already have,” said Stanton Wilkerson, president of Harrison House.
An experience to continue showcasing the town’s history. The Ward 5 Chamber plans to hold a meeting next Tuesday to discuss the trail.