The view from the Las Vegas sign

The view from the Las Vegas sign

As a business and proud member of the community, the Law Offices of Rodney K. Okano – Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney is happy to provide a brief history of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Beginnings

The only lights to light up the night sky over the Nevada deserts 10,000 years ago were starlights and maybe the rudimentary torch from a early human, cave art and other small indications suggest there was a Native American presence in the area that far back.

The first European to enter the Vegas Valley was named Rafael Rivera. Rafale was a scout and a part of Antonio Armijo’s expedition. While attempting to build the Old Spanish Trail between California and New Mexico. The valley was named after the green “Meadows” that were watered by a spring —hence “Las Vegas” (the meadows).

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The City of Las Vegas

In 1905 Las Vegas was connected to the San Pedro, Los Angeles Salt Lake City Railway as well as the Pacific Ocean  and the rest of the systems that were rapidly connecting the country. In 1911 what would later become downtown Las Vegas was plotted out by leading railway backers, this is the date that Las Vegas was officially incorporated.

In 1910, the State of Nevada passed a law that effectively outlawed gambling, after which gambling continued across Nevada in speakeasies and clandestine locations, particularly in Las Vegas. By the time the law on gambling was repealed, two decades later, the mob and had a firm foothold in the city.

Around the same time. “Boulder Dam”, which would later be called Hoover Dam, was in its early stages of construction and thousands of workers flocked to the build site just east of Las Vegas. With the influx of gentlemen, various casinos and showgirl venues began to sprout up across Fremont Street, which was the only paved road at the time.

In 1936, the Flashing Signs of “Fremont Gulch”, would be powered by cheap electricity from the recently completed Hoover Dam. The City was set to become one of America’s most iconic playgrounds.

Lake Mead filling up as the Hoover Dam is completed

Lake Mead filling up as the Hoover Dam is completed

The Golden Age of Las Vegas Glamour

By 1941, The Casino-Hotels and Resorts that would become forever associated with this destination began to appear on what would soon become know as the Vegas “Strip”. One of the first to open was El Rancho Vegas on a specific section of highway just outside of the city limits.

In 1946, a mafia bigwig named Bugsy Siegel, with the support of another gangster loaded with Mexican drug money, founded the Flamingo — named after his long-legged sweetheart and showgirl’s nickname. This swanky resort broke away from the “country west” theme that was popular till this point and brought a real touch of elegance to the location.

The grand opening of the Flamingo was an event that glistened with talent and celebrities, an event that is still talked about today.

Throughout the rest of the forties, Vegas rode the wave of military boom from the soldiers returning from the second world war to the Intelligence Centers that cropped up during the Cold War. One famous location was the Nevada Nuclear Test site that detonated well over 100 nuclear bombs over and throughout the Nevada desert.

Between 1951 and 1963, Mushroom clouds could be seen hanging in the air above Las Vegas and clearly visible from many hotel suites. Many of the contemporary postcards of the time referred to Las Vegas as the “Up and Atom City”.

Las Vegas Today

To the day casinos, resorts and entertainment are the primary industries of Las Vegas, the city has grown and is rapidly expanding into the desert as the many new resorts and hotels being opened each year.

Even in times of recession when the city’s residents are floundering for jobs and income the city still attracts over 40 million visitors in a year, as they saw in 2008.