Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the hottest cities in the United States. It has been dubbed “Sin City” and for good reasons. It is full of casinos and hotels that are classy and make you feel like a whole new person. The air of excitement is all around you and everywhere you go you are ready to become someone new. So how did it all begin?
In 1829 members of the French of the Antonio Armijo party gave it its name and used the water around the area while they made their way along the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico. During this time there were small parts of the Las Vegas Valley that had artesian wells that were able to support large green areas. That is where the name Las Vegas came from. It is Spanish for ‘The Meadows’.
On May 10th, 1855 after Las Vegas had by taken and incorporated into the United States – Brigham Young was ordered to take 30 Mormon missionaries to help convert the Paiute Indians in the area. They built a fort in what is now the downtown area. But over the years there would be problems that stirred between Brigham and new people in the area. The new people that came had more liberal views and questioned Brigham’s practices. This tension caused the Mormons to leave in 1857.
Over the coming years ownership of the Las Vegas Valley and the fort built within its borders would pass between the divided parts of the United States. It was not until 1881 that Archibald Stewart and his wife Helen J. Stewart would gain ownership of the land and would become the new Las Vegas Postmaster.
In 1884 the Stewart family would face tragedy when Archibald was murdered – but this did not stop the plans that were in motion to expand the property. The Stewarts were able to expand it to 1,800 acres and kept the land until it was acquired in 1902 by the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad. The building of the railroad would bring in many people to Las Vegas helping it to grow in population. Many of these people were farmers.
Another boost in population would come in 1930 when President Herbert Hoover would sign the appropriation bill for the Boulder Dam. The population jumped from 5,000 to 25,000 in hopes that they would be given the job of helping to build the dam. When completed the dam would help to give Las Vegas electricity. The city became the first customer for Southern Nevada Power company and the dam’s name was changed to the Hoover Dam.
By now Las Vegas had made a name for itself because of the erection of the dam. But the year 1931 would forever stick in people’s mind and it became the time when it would start to grow to new heights. Heights that no city had ever reached.
In 1931 gambling was legalized and Las Vegas started its upward climb to becoming the gaming capital of the world. The city was issued its first gambling license in 1931 – which was given to the Northern Club. Soon other casinos opened their doors to those who wanted to test fate and gamble with their money. Fremont Street, the Las Vegas Club, and the Apache Hotel were some of the first.
In order to attract people to their casinos they wanted to emit excitement and fun. Fremont Street became known as Glitter Gulch because of all the lights that were powered by the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam helped to bring in the tourists – which called for more hotels. These hotels were high class that would be proper enough to accommodate the high class people that came. The city has evolved over the years and hotels and casinos have evolved into something great and an exciting place for those looking to let their inhibitions down.