The Strip, officially known as Las Vegas Boulevard, has been a piece of Las Vegas history since early settlement. It was initially a part of the old Spanish trail linking Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Los Angeles. It was first navigated by fifteenth-century Spanish explorers and afterward traveled by trains of traders for 400 years.
In 1905, when Las Vegas was incorporated as a city, the old Spanish path wasn't used very much since the east and west segments of the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad had been completed. So, making long treks using horse-drawn carts along the old trail was outdated. In the following years, motorcars were introduced. This sparked an interest in a byway. And in 1920, the byway was improved and made a piece of the new government street framework. It was named U.S. Highway 91.
In 1931, when gambling was made legal in Nevada, the first restaurant to open up on U.S. Highway 91 was the Pair-O-Dice Club. The owners of the restaurant, Frank and Angelina Detra, served Italian dishes and entertained guests with live music and table games. Throughout the next few years, the facility became famous among vacationers going through Las Vegas in transit to see the huge new"Boulder Dam" (later renamed Hoover Dam).
When World War II began in 1945, the growth of the Strip did not slow down. In fact, the Strip developed further. The Las Vegas Gunnery School (later Nellis Air Force Base) attracted customers from all over, who sourced entertainment in the new restaurants and nightclubs along U.S. Highway 91.
In 1950, Wilbur Clark opened Desert Inn with financial help from "friends" in Detroit and Cleveland. Meanwhile, the federal government began to express concern about the link between organized crime with gambling. Senator Estes Kefauver held hearings in 1950 and 1951 to investigate those alleged connections. When the hearings were completed, a Gaming Control Board was set up to regulate gambling.
During the 1960s, the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) became the place to build. More hotels were constructed including Caesars Palace and The Aladdin. The times of organized crime were also coming to an end as the government, together with strict licensing rules from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, forced "known crooks" to stop owning casinos. The Strip properties needed to go legit. It also became the place where millionaire businessmen like Steve Wynn replaced gangsters.
In 1974, Interstate 15 was finished along the route U.S. 91, and the old highway was officially renamed Nevada State Route 604. From that point forward, the buildings on the Las Vegas Strip changed even more. Mega resorts like the Excalibur, Planet Hollywood, Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, and the elegant new CityCenter were erected.