Las Vegas History

One of the top requests I get, is from tourists who want to know more about the history of Las Vegas. What casino was once there? What attraction was in that space before?

Las Vegas History - The Strip
Las Vegas History – The Strip

Below you will find links to a variety of different places that have come and gone during Las Vegas’ history. I hope you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane as much as I did.

Las Vegas History

Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905, when 110 acres (45 ha) of land adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. In 1911, Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.

1931 was a pivotal year for the city. At that time, Nevada legalized casino gambling and reduced residency requirements for divorce to six weeks. This year also witnessed the beginning of construction on nearby Hoover Dam. The influx of construction workers and their families helped the area avoid economic calamity during the Great Depression. The construction work was completed in 1935.

In 1941, the Las Vegas Army Air Corps Gunnery School was established. Currently known as Nellis Air Force Base, it is home to the aerobatic team called the Thunderbirds.

Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Vegas.

The 1950s saw the opening of the Moulin Rouge, the first racially integrated casino-hotel in Vegas.

In 1951, nuclear weapons testing began at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the city. City residents and visitors were able to witness the mushroom clouds until 1963 when the limited Test Ban Treaty required that nuclear tests be moved underground.

The iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which was never located in the city, was created in 1959 by Betty Willis, who never copyrighted it.

During the 1960s, corporations and business powerhouses such as Howard Hughes were building and buying hotel-casino properties. Gambling was referred to as “gaming,” which transitioned into legitimate business.

In 1989, entrepreneur Steve Wynn changed the face of the gaming industry by opening up The Mirage, the Las Vegas Strip’s first mega-casino resort.

The year 1995 marked the opening of the Fremont Street Experience in the downtown area. This canopied, five-block area features 12.5 million LED lights and 550,000 watts of sound from dusk until midnight during shows held on the top of each hour.

Due to years of revitalization efforts, 2012 was dubbed “The Year of Downtown”. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of projects made their debut at this time. They included The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and DISCOVERY Children’s Museum, the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, a new City Hall complex and renovations for a new Zappos.com corporate headquarters in the old City Hall building. – Wikipedia