Las Vegas is a shining star among the many cities in the United States. In the day, sunlight is reflected by countless glass fixtures of towering hotels and resorts. At night, the neon lights attract thousands to frolic in the streets in search of entertainment and a good time. As glamorous as Las Vegas is now, it’s difficult to believe that things weren’t always like the way they are today. And true enough, the founding of Las Vegas can be considered as one of the greatest American stories ever told. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
The first Vegas landscapes
Las Vegas rests at the southern end of Nevada, a state that’s mostly cities in between harsh desert environments. But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the land where Las Vegas rests on was once an abundant marsh wetland filled with vegetation. But in time, the water receded and gave birth to the arid dry fields of today. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
In 1829, a commercial caravan led by Mexican explorer Antonio Armijo veered away from a traditional route headed for Los Angeles. The caravan, along with a scouting party, settled in an area roughly 100 miles away from where Las Vegas is today. The scouting party headed west to look for water. This is where they found an oasis called Las Vegas Springs. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
The first settlers of Las Vegas were Mexicans and Mormons. However, the Mexican groups didn’t stay long as migrants often came and went as Las Vegas was en route to California to take part in the great Californian gold rush. As for the Mormons, they were there to protect a vital mail route. They even built adobe structures and tried planting fruits and vegetables in the area. But by 1858, both groups abandoned the area. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
Railroads and reopening
By 1890, railroads were being placed down across the country to allow for faster travel between major cities. Because of the distance between states, Las Vegas was considered as a possible prime stop as it could connect major cities to the Pacific Coast. By 1905, Las Vegas bloomed as businesses like salons, stores, and boarding houses were opened around town. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
While there was an ongoing gambling ban on the state of Nevada in 1910, this didn’t stop provocative establishments from opening, including casinos, illegal speakeasies, and brothels. Needless to say, police presence was minimal, and the propagation of such establishments bred the roots of organized crimes. And with the construction of the Hoover Dam a few decades later, the population of Las Vegas skyrocketed. This led to the opening of several businesses and the beginnings of the currently renowned Fremont Street. Stacey L. Tokunaga.
The first mega casinos
The first major casino purchase was made by Howard Hughes in 1966 after seeing the potential of Las Vegas. It was said that after checking in at the penthouse of the Desert Inn Hotel, he never left. He bought the hotel, plus other hotels, spending over $300 million altogether. Eventually, mob activities were replaced by corporate interests and shareholder profits. Las Vegas would then bring in bigger developers to create one mega resort after another.