When one thinks of Las Vegas, they think of bright lights, high rollers, enormous hotels, and live shows. The name Las Vegas is all but synonymous with gambling, and there are few who are not familiar with songs such as Viva Las Vegas.
But how did this legendary city come to be, and how did it evolve to embody the very spirit of entertainment? Let’s have a look at some of the key points in the history of the place that’s also known as Sin City.
Early Years In Las Vegas
Initially being a stopping point between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Las Vegas was mostly known for having fresh water springs in an otherwise empty desert. This meant that travellers were common in the area, given that it was the only place to top up water bottles, get some rest, and gather supplies for the remaining journey ahead. Las Vegas stayed this way for many years.
It was not until 1905 that the settlement was finally declared a city, but Vegas remained a location that did not hold much appeal in terms of entertainment. This all changed in 1931. It was then that construction workers began flooding the area, all in the name of creating the now famous Hoover Dam. But another important event occurred that exact same year, one that would solidify the future of the city. Nevada legalised gambling.
Change To Casino Games
Las Vegas had two resources now available to it. The first was the swarming construction workers routinely moving through the city, most of which were looking for a form of entertainment. The second was the freedom to open up casino and gaming houses. The result was an obvious one. Plus, the great depression was looming, and Las Vegas needed a way to avoid the downward spiral of the economy.
The two factors were a recipe for success, and it was not long before Las Vegas had multiple casinos, mostly geared towards attracting the many construction workers. This meant that casinos also began to offer live entertainment, and given the audience, the shows were more often then not based around stand up comedians, or alluring female performers. Las Vegas began to get a reputation.
The World War
The Hoover Dam was finished by 1935, and many of the workers returned back home. Las Vegas, however, was now drawing customers from further abroad. Later in 1941 a military base opened nearby, and military men on leave replaced construction workers. Again, Las Vegas saw a boom in business.
It was at this point that investors with deep pockets began to make a serious grab for Las Vegas property. The city’s reputation for making money hand over fist was spreading, and the big boys wanted a piece of the action. The Las Vegas skyline began to grow with the addition of new casinos, new hotels, and the now famous neon lights.
As World War 2 came to a close, Las Vegas was widely regarded as the premier places in the United States to experience good entertainment, exciting casino games, and wild nights of celebration. The grab for Las Vegas property continued, and the city grew at a phenomenal pace.
In 1960 the eccentric Howard Hughes was said to have bought more Las Vegas property then any other investor, further raising the buzz around the City in the Desert.
Modern Las Vegas
The years ticked on and Las Vegas maintained its reputation as the casino hub of the United States. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, however, there was a rise of multiple other casino establishments, hoping to be the next big casino attraction. This was partly the reason behind the Las Vegas mega-structures, which was seen as a way to draw attention and revitalise interest in the city.
The first mega-structure opened in 1989, The Mirage Casino and Hotel, and visitors were all but dumbstruck at the size of the establishment. Stretching across the city horizon, the sheer size of the building was enough to have guests pouring in, eager to get a look at the buildings interior.
Still The King
Today there are many locations that boast equal size and glamour as Las Vegas, but the city still seems to stick at the top of the list. Just mentioning the name Las Vegas conjures images of glitzy locations, sparking casino interiors, and glamorous entertainment.
Recently, in 2012, the city saw another major push for renovation, with many new museums and business establishments opening. Many said that it was an attempt to change perception of the city from a hub for casinos to a family friendly holiday location. This move may or may not have been successful, but the majority of visitors will likely still not be looking to visit a museum. What the future of the Jewel of the Desert holds, however remains to be seen.