Vegas: from a ranch to the city of sins

Journey through the history of Las Vegas casinos

Millions of tourists and business travelers visit the «city of sin» every month, lots of films are made and many songs are written about the city. It is constantly changing, sometimes in full view of everyone.

Las Vegas Sands
The Landmark
The Castaways
The Silver Slipper

Once upon a time in America

In the 1829th a group of merchants arrived in the valley where the city was built much later. They were impressed by the ability of water there and decided to name it Las Vegas. In Spanish, this combination of words was used to refer to the fertile lowlands on the banks of the river. In the second half of the XIX century, a ranch appeared here, which took the same name.

In the 1902d, it was decided to place a station on the territory of the former ranch where water refueling and maintenance of steam locomotives traveling along the highway would be carried out. The construction was finished in the 1905th, and on the 15th of May, the village was founded here. In the 1907th, the second railroad was opened from this place. The status of a transit point on active highways led to the rapid growth of the village.

The railroad had already gone bankrupt by the 1920s. In the 1931st, gambling was officially allowed in Nevada. To visit the casino, pubs, and other entertainment establishments, people were forced to go to Vegas.

The era of mafia

The existence of  Las Vegas, somewhere in the sands of Nevada, began to be known all over the country. It attracted the attention not only of tourists but also of organized crime. 

In the mid-1940s, Italian mafia bosses agreed to invest in the opening of a brand-new casino in the city. Instead of the Western buildings of those years, it was decided to construct a whole entertainment complex with fashionable architecture. The casino itself was combined with a luxury hotel, restaurants, and other entertainment facilities. The first complex of its kind, called Flamingo, opened in 1946.

Las Vegas with its unprecedented level of comfort has become fashionable. Famous guests from neighboring California spent a lot of time in the city. Millions of ordinary people began to flock to this neon glitter.

The era of casino complexes

In the 1950s, the city began to grow in height. In addition to it, separate tourist attractions were the atomic explosions at the nearby test site. In the years when the danger of nuclear weapons was not yet completely obvious to everyone, many hotels offered their guests to admire a mushroom of a characteristic shape growing somewhere on the horizon. 

On the 24th of November 1966, a private train arrived at the city’s railway station. Its owner was the American entrepreneur, aviation pioneer, film producer, and creator of a business empire, Howard Hughes. The billionaire settled on the top floor of the Desert Inn. When its owner asked to vacate the room Hughes refused to do so and bought the hotel. For the next four years, he did not leave his penthouse, living there as a recluse.

When he left the city, he did not stop doing business, spending about $300 million on the city in four years, a fantastic amount at that time. 

The billionaire bought:

  • Las Vegas Sands;
  • The Landmark;
  • The Castaways;
  • The Silver Slipper;
  • And much more.

The mafia had to be driven out of the city, and there began to come big sums of money from Wall Street.

Las Vegas, with its new investments and its criminal record, got bigger and bigger. On the Strip and in the central part of the city, one outdated hotel-casino was replaced by a new one that was taller, richer. 

The first casino complex combined:

  • Hotel buildings for thousands of seats;
  • Huge casinos;
  • Concert halls;
  • Many restaurants with a variety of cuisine;
  • Swimming pools;
  • Bars;
  • Nightclubs.

It was opened in the 1989th under the name Mirage. The main theme was Polynesia, and the anchor entertainment was the Siegfried and Roy show with white tigers and lions. 

Vegas today

Las Vegas continues to change today. The Strip Boulevard is being updated. Concrete 20-30-storey parallelepipeds of the 1980s and 90s are replaced by glass skyscrapers of complex shape. Against the background of previously familiar hotels and casinos, residential high-rises are also growing. Many Americans from other places want to get an apartment in a city that never sleeps. Las Vegas has grown from a God-forsaken railway village to the entertainment center of the world. And in the next 20 years, we probably won’t recognize it again. Vegas is a city where anything can happen, a city where people can live at least for a short time different life.

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