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The zone suffered a modest setback in when the Nevada legislature outlawed gambling. In response, the casinos went underground and continued to flourish covertly until gambling was again legalized in Las Vegas, which was officially founded on May 15, , was incorporated on March 16, , two years after it had been named the county seat.
Clark sold his share of the railroad to the Union Pacific Company in Small ranches began to pop up in and around Las Vegas, some of them thinly disguised brothels, and the town soon became a popular weekend destination for residents of Los Angeles.
An influx of people who worked in the Hollywood movie industry helped fuel a growth spurt, bringing the population to more than 5, by Construction of the Boulder later Hoover Dam across nearby Black Canyon in the s, during the height of the Great Depression , proved to be a tremendous boon for Las Vegas.
The project, one of the largest and most ambitious public works endeavours ever undertaken by the federal government, would come to provide the two key commodities that made contemporary Las Vegas possible: water and electric power.
More immediately, the city benefited from the thousands of dam builders who came to the small town each weekend, lured by the handful of casinos and other diversions.
With the advent of World War II , Las Vegas grew even larger as the dam builders were followed by defense workers and military personnel.
Nevada Senator Pat McCarran successfully lobbied the federal government to establish two major installations near Las Vegas in a magnesium-processing plant southeast of the city in Henderson and a military airfield just to the northeast.
But as the marsh receded and waters disappeared from the landscape, the region evolved into an arid desert land. Miraculously, water that was trapped underground sporadically rose to the surface to water the vigorous plants that survived, forming an oasis.
During the 19th century, Mexican explorer Antonio Armijo was forging the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan, which would later become known as the Old Spanish Trail.
En route to Los Angeles, the group veered from the traditional path in , settling miles kilometers northeast of present-day Las Vegas.
Rafael Rivera, along with his scouting party, rode west to find water; Rivera left the group to venture into the desert on his own, setting his eyes upon the oasis of Las Vegas Springs.
Over the course of the next century, Mexican and Mormon settlers filtered in and out of Las Vegas, many en route to California via the Old Spanish Trail or to take advantage of the California Gold Rush.
Mormons in Salt Lake City traveled to Las Vegas to protect a mail route; they built adobe structures, planted fruits and vegetables, and mined for lead.
But by , they had abandoned the area. In , railroad developers decided that Las Vegas would serve as a prime stop along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles railroad route; it would also connect Las Vegas to major cities on the Pacific Coast.
Little had changed in the city up until this point; with the arrival of the railroad in , Las Vegas boomed: saloons, stores, and boarding houses sprung up around town.
It was officially founded on May 15, William A. Clark , who owned the three railroads, auctioned off 1, lots in one day in the area known today as Glitter Gulch.
In a city occupied mostly by railroad workers and ranchers, the spirit of the Wild West blossomed in Las Vegas. This widespread disregard for the law became the ideal breeding ground for organized crime, with many East Coast mobsters quickly establishing roots in the city.
By , gambling, once again, became legal in Nevada, and with the construction of the Hoover Dam on its way, thousands of workers came to Las Vegas.
Beginning in , the construction of Hoover Dam brought an influx of construction workers, which started a population boom during the Great Depression and gave the valley's economy a needed boost.
The Las Vegas High School now the Las Vegas Academy, was built at S. Seventh Street and Bridger Avenue. The opulent art deco style high school is listed on the city of Las Vegas Historic Property Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
The Las Vegas Army Air Field now Nellis Air Force Base was built in the northeast. This was followed by the Last Frontier , Flamingo and Thunderbird hotels and casinos.
Fremont Street from Main to Third Streets was named Glitter Gulch by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Tennessee Congressman Carey Estes Kefauver held hearings into the mob at the U.
Post Office and Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. This historic building at Stewart Ave. Visitors can learn about the history of organized crime and the federal agents who fought against it in Las Vegas.
On both Fremont Street and the Strip, hotels and casinos were engaging in face lifts, remodels and multi-story additions. Howard Hughes began a buying spree of Las Vegas hotels and other businesses.
His presence helped pave the way for the corporate ownership of hotel-casinos that followed. Starting in the mid s, a period of unprecedented growth began.
Annual population increases averaging nearly seven percent caused the city's population to almost double between and , increasing The Fremont Street Experience opened.
This creation also ended auto traffic on the street where teenagers cruised in the s and s. It is interesting to note that in Las Vegas territory over , weddings are performed.
Today, most casinos are located on the famous Strip, about 7 km long road surrounded by hotels and casinos. Story Highlights Historical event 15 May Las Vegas got its name after green meadows, which were on that spot because there was water from underground artesian wells the surrounding land is wasteland.