In the 1700’s, Spanish traders traveling to Los Angeles stumbled upon the Las Vegas Valley. The Spaniards discovered that the Las Vegas Valley had an abundance of wild grasses, and a plentiful water supply. They discovered that the traveling time to California was greatly reduced by passing through the Las Vegas Valley. During that time a European name Rafael Riviera also came upon the Las Vegas Valley. The valley was given the name Las Vegas, Spanish for “The Meadows”.
In 1844 an explorer name Captain John Fremont led an expedition to the Las Vegas Valley, where he camped out and later became a important figure in Las Vegas history. The famed Fremont street in downtown Las Vegas is named after him.
In 1855, Brigham Young a Mormon assigned his missionaries to build a fort in the Las Vegas valley. They settled there and planted fruits and vegetables, and also mined lead for bullets. The Paiute Indians had also settled in the Las Vegas valley. The Paiute Indians raided the Mormon fort in 1857, and the Mormons abandon the area.
In the late 1800’s minerals and precious metals were discovered in the Las Vegas valley. The State Land Act of 1885 offered land at $1.25 per acre. Farmers from all over started migrating to the Las Vegas Valley, which an agriculture boom continued for the next 20 years.
Railroad developers were also building a main railway, linking California to Salt Lake City. Las Vegas became a refueling point and rest stop for travelers. In 1905, Las Vegas became a city, which in 1909 Las Vegas was established as Clark County.
By the 1930’s the population had grown to about 5000 in the Las Vegas valley. During that time gambling became legal in Nevada. Legislator felt that taxes from gambling revenue would help fund schools. Las Vegas had fallen on economic hard times due to the great depression. Jobs were created with the development of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the Hoover Dam project.
By the 1940’s, World War II had begun. Las Vegas became an ideal location for the US Military because of its isolated location. Nellis Air force base established it’s home in the Las Vegas valley.
In 1941 the El Rancho Las Vegas hotel was the only hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Once the war ended, other Las Vegas hotels were built and opening for business. New Years Eve 1947, Bugsy Sigel opened the Las Vegas Flamingo hotel. Bugsy Sigel a member of the Meyer Lansky crime family was killed 6 months later. Top entertainers of the world started performing at Las Vegas hotels. Las Vegas was becoming a popular destination for tourist.
By the 1950’s the Las Vegas hotels continued to grow at a rapid pace. In 1950 the Desert Inn hotel opened it’s doors. In 1952 the Sahara hotel and the Sand’s hotel opened for business also. The Riviera hotel became the first high rise hotel on the Las Vegas strip in 1955. During that time the Fremont hotel in downtown Las Vegas was built. Other Las Vegas hotels such as the Tropicana hotel, Hacienda hotel, Dunes hotel, and the Stardust hotel were built as well.
The famous historical Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino opened in 1955. This Las Vegas hotel, located just north of downtown Las Vegas was built to accommodate the growing population of African Americans that had migrated to Las Vegas during the Railroad and Hoover Dam construction era. This Las Vegas hotel changed ownership many times over. The heavyweight champion of the world Joe Louis was once one of the owners. The Moulin Rouge hotel has a very colorful past, which people from all over the world came there to enjoy the casino and the entertainment. In 1992 the Moulin Rouge Hotel was declared a national historic site.
With the growing population and booming tourist business in Las Vegas, the need for a convention facility center became prevalent. In 1959 the Las Vegas Convention Center opened it’s doors. The Las Vegas Convention center was able to accommodate over 6000 people. Las Vegas became a top destination for conventioneers, which it continues to thrive today.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s Las Vegas was thriving. Las Vegas was known as the playground for adults. The “Lido de’ Paris” show from France opened at the Stardust hotel. The Follies Bergere show opened at the Tropicana Hotel. Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, with Sammy Davis and Dean Martin became one of the top shows in Las Vegas.
In 1968 Circus Circus hotel opened it’s doors, which this Las Vegas hotel catered to families with children. Hotel financers wanted to capitalize on making Las Vegas a destination for everyone, not just adults.
A new era begin in the late 1970’s, when gambling was legalized in Atlantic city. The beginning of the mega resort boom begin in Las Vegas. Theme hotels such as Treasure Island, Mirage hotel, Excalibur hotel, Luxor hotel, and the MGM were just some of the hotels to pop up. Downtown Las Vegas was enjoying it’s boom as well, with eventually the creation of the new Fremont Street Experience.
Las Vegas has become the #1 tourist destination. Las Vegas hotels have a lot to offer for the whole family. Luxury rooms, top entertainment, fantastic food, and many great attractions are what has made Las Vegas the top tourist destination in the world.