How Las Vegas Became a City

Las Vegas is one of the busiest cities, bursting with activity and hosting a large population. This has not always been the case.

Las Vegas was just a stretch of desert land. There is evidence of humans from way back, judging from the various petroglyphs around Nevada. Paiutes are the first known inhabitants of the area, living in the desert land around 700AD. The earliest known period of economic activities in the region was around 1821 when trade was prevalent.

How Las Vegas Became a City

The city sat along a trade route between New Mexico and California and was under Mexican control. Things began to change in 1844 when John C. Fremont built a fort in preparation for war, the same battle that would win this part of the land to become U.S. territory.

Eleven years later, in 1855, more settlers came to the area; Mormon missionaries built houses and farmed to get food. However, they returned to Utah after facing challenges in leadership. To this day, their fort still stands. Years later, some Mormons returned after the declaration that there would be a railroad connecting Las Vegas and Utah. They relocated, hoping to get jobs in the area and have freedom. In the process, irrigation started, and slowly the city began to rise.

Revolution to Modern Day Las Vegas

Las Vegas was officially incorporated early in the 1900s. The city was doing well, but eventually, the revenue and resources reduced drastically after the authorities outlawed gambling in 1917. However, this changed later.

Further change came about after the confirmation of the construction of the Hoover Dam.

How Las Vegas Became a City

There was an opportunity for employment, and families moved to Las Vegas hoping to secure a job. In 1931, the population had grown significantly from about 5,000 people to 25,000. Aside from work at the construction, the residents began to seek entertainment in theatres and casinos, contributing to growth.

The first paved road was Fremont Street, and it gained much attention. Slowly, casinos like Boulder Club and others started opening up. Shortly after, more hotels and theatres were contributing to the entertainment industry, similar to modern-day Las Vegas. The dam provided hydroelectricity which supported more activity, including the popular neon signs in various locations.

There were many establishments along the U.S. 91 highway, with resorts and other businesses mushrooming around the place, which eventually became what is now the Strip. A notable contribution is the setting up of the Flamingo Hotel by Bugsy Siegel, a project that came to life with help from celebrities, including Frank Sinatra. Mobsters followed suit, erecting other similar properties, including the Sahara.

How Las Vegas Became a City

Howard Hughes, affiliated with the military, came in 1966 and invested in the area, buying and setting up hotels and casinos. More people in business followed suit, including Steve Wynn with the Mirage.

Years later, the city is bigger and better. There are still aspects of old Las Vegas, but the change is evident with urbanization taking over.


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