A History of Las Vegas NV

Here at Vegas Condo Scene, we like to give our site visitors more information about the city of Las Vegas so that they an make an informed decision when looking for Las Vegas condos for sale. This article is the first in our series about Las Vegas with more articles to follow.

Old Las Vegas Nevada - Fremont Street

Old Las Vegas Nevada – Fremont Street

Las Vegas is Spanish for “the meadows”. It was home to America’s Navajo Indians and in 1905 when it was established, the construction of the Hoover Dam commenced in 1931. Building the dam demanded a host of people to town but for many years “Vegas” struggled to maintain a fruitful outlook regardless that casino gambling had been legalized.

Bugsy Siegel

Bugsy Siegel

Movement wouldn’t begin until 1946 when notorious New York outlaw ‘Bugsy’ Siegel opened his Flamingo Hotel and gave Vegas an unmatched strength that would see Nevada as a rapidly growing city, possibly the fastest in the United States. It was then that Nevada began charging taxes due to this lucrative source of income that upped the ante. However, Siegel had not completed construction on the Flamingo, and he was losing a fair share of his revenue. He was forced to close down the resort until construction was completed.


The first Flamingo Hotel

The Flamingo reopened for business and began turning a decent profit but by June of that year, Siegel was murdered. Las Vegas had just earned its name as a dangerous city but in 1952 it changed again. The media was invited to report details of the detonation of a nuclear device on the Proving Grounds, and as America watched their TV’s, Las Vegas became known as the “Atomic City.”

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas sports a sign that is warm by nature. “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” it said and was designed by Betty Willis who when she completed it sold it for $4000. The County placed it on an island on the southern end of the Strip, and it still stands there today. When 1960 arrived, and the population of Clark County exploded, residents in Vegas brought the population count to 128,732 people.

Howard Hughes 1938

Howard Hughes in 1938

The entrepreneur Howard Hughes arrived in 1966 and would for the next four years occupy the two top floors of The Desert Inn. He became a recluse who for those four years, would remain in his rooms where he conducted his business negotiating deals that would forever alter Las Vegas’s facade. Hughes rather than submit to eviction, purchased the Desert Inn, just one of several he would subsequently buy in the succeeding three years.

Las Vegas Hilton-2

The International Hotel renamed the Las Vegas Hilton

The late sixties brought the passing down of the second Corporate Gaming. It was in July at a princely sum of $80 million, when Kirk Kerkorian built the International Hotel and it was in this venue Elvis Presley made his inauguration. Presley was offered and accepted a five-year contract to perform for four weeks, twice a year which he did successfully for a vast sum of $125,000 per week. As Presley entertained, the population of Clark County exceeded two hundred and seventy-seven thousand. Vegas began opening her arms to welcome more hotels, and it was in ’73 when Kerkorian opened the MGM Grand hotel. Almost as though in competition, he ensured it would be the tallest casino in Vegas. It would contribute a revenue generated by gambling that amounted to more than $1 billion dollars.

Mid 1976 and gambling was finally made legal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Las Vegas knew it no longer had the monopoly as it was no longer the sole gambling destination everyone flocked to which meant the town had to compete, but Atlantic City could make no permanent dent in Nevada’s economy. The population had now expanded to 463,087 by its seventy-fifth birthday and by 1983 when Trans World Airline canceled its non-stop service from New York City to Las Vegas; growth suddenly ground to a halt.

The Mirage, now the first new resort on what is known as The Strip was 16 years in the making. It was built to a tune of $640 million, and its proportions outsized the MGM Grand which in 1980 had tragically caught fire and killed 85 people and injured 700 others. Now the Mirage was the largest casino on the planet and boasted a host of attractions, including a 54-foot man-made volcano. It made quite a spectacle as it erupted every half hour.


When 1993 rolled around, Kerkorian built a new MGM Grand which he opened on The Strip. It cost him a whopping $1 billion dollars, but it was a wise investment as the opulent resort sat amid a 33-acre theme park and would provide a casino. It would also entertain with 12 theme restaurants. Kerkorian ensured there were five tennis courts, three swimming pools, an arena that could accommodate over five thousand rooms. It was opulence at its best.

Notwithstanding the gambling, the biggest draw for tourists is the entertainment. From the very inception of the first casino, some of the world’s biggest talents in show business have come to perform in Vegas. The town has known stars like Liberace, The Rat Pack, Phyllis Diller, Celine Dion and Tom Jones who have all gifted Vegas with their talent.

The modern day Las Vegas continues to enthrall audiences, and her casinos are thriving. Visitors arrive from all over the globe to enjoy the magic. In a city that has not slept since its inception in 1905, there is no indication Las Vegas is going to shut its eyes just yet. It has much too much to offer.

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