Las Vegas Celebrates 100 Years
Las Vegas Celebrates 100 Years On May 15, 2005
Happy 100th Birthday Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Cake|
People gather around the 'World's Largest Birthday Cake' at Cashman Center in Las Vegas, Nevada May 15, 2005.
The 130,000-pound cake, made as part of the City of Las Vegas' Centennial celebration, is 102-feet long, 52-feet wide and 20 inches tall, and took 500 volunteers 14 hours to construct and decorate.
A Sara Lee Foods facility in Tarboro, North Carolina baked the 30,240- half-sheet cakes needed for the project.
REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Ethan Miller
Happy 100th Birthday Las Vegas.
The First 100 Years
This site is the Review-Journal's three-part series chronicling 100 people who had major impacts on Las Vegas over the city's first century.
THE EARLY YEARS|
Native Americans inhabited Las Vegas for hundreds of years before the first westerners arrived. The new arrivals were probably a trading party led by Antonio Armijo, about 1829. Other explorers followed, and by the 1830s, the Old Spanish Trail led through the area known as Las Vegas, or "the meadows."
The name, Las Vegas, was derived from the abundant water to be found in the valley-a welcome relief for many early traders. In 1844, John Charles Fremont first entered the valley, noting the name for the first time in his expedition journal. After publication of his journal, many Americans traveling overland to California used the route he described, known as the Old Spanish Trail.
The first non-Native American settlement in the area was a fortified mission started by Mormon colonists sent by Brigham Young. The colonists hoped the fort would provide a link between Utah and Mormon settlements in California. Numerous difficulties led to the abandonment of the Fort in 1857. Though the settlement lasted only two years, the subsequent owner, Octavius Decatur Gass, established a working ranch that flourished throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. An adobe remnant of the original complex built by the Mormon colonists is the oldest building in Nevada and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the first passenger trains to Las Vegas came for the townsite auction of May 15, 1905.
Photo from Review-Journal files
Mrs. Helen Stewart eventually owned Gass' ranch. In 1902, she sold most of her 1,840 acres to Montana Senator William Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad. The railroad laid out a town, Clark's Las Vegas Townsite, and held a land auction on May 15, 1905. In two days, the 110-acres bounded by Stewart Avenue and Garces Avenue and Main Street and 5th Street (now Las Vegas Boulevard) were sold. The auction founded the modern Las Vegas Valley. It superceded a community begun the year before by surveyor J.T. McWilliams, as the railroad controlled the water supply from Big Springs, the source of Las Vegas Creek.
Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County. Clark's Las Vegas Townsite became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911 when it adopted its first charter. Today the Las Vegas Valley is comprised of five jurisdictions: the city of Las Vegas; unincorporated Clark County; the city of North Las Vegas; the city of Henderson; and the city of Boulder City.
From the large mission-style depot on Fremont Street, the city's main business corridor, to the three-story concrete ice plant on Main Street, the railroad dominated not only the physical landscape but also guided the town's growth and development. Las Vegas' first housing tract of 64 bungalow-style cottages was constructed in 1910 to house railroad workers.
While only a few are still standing, the structures (now known as the "railroad cottages") are representative of the industry that once dominated the city. The railroad continued to be the focus of the community until the mid-1920s when the main yards were moved to Caliente, Nevada, and hundreds of railroad workers were laid off.
LAS VEGAS IN 1904
By Michael Green
On May 15, 1905, Las Vegas celebrates its centennial. That was the day of the auction that created the townsite.
What was happening in 1904?
A lot, actually. The year before, Senator William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad stopped competing with Edward H. Harriman's Union Pacific. They merged and spent 1904 laying tracks through the mountains of Southern California, near where many Nevadans drive along Interstate 15. By October, the tracks had reached the Las Vegas Ranch, which spread through much of what is now downtown Las Vegas.
The local postmaster was Walter Bracken, who first came through Las Vegas in 1910, working for Clark, helping to decide the railroad's route. He also had taken possession of the ranch. Bracken was involved in surveying the proposed townsite and set it up for land to be set aside for churches, a library, and the local courthouse. He went on to serve as the agent for the Las Vegas Land and Water Company, the subsidiary that the railroad created to manage its new town.
But Bracken soon faced a competitor: John T. McWilliams. He first came to the Las Vegas area in the 1890s as a surveyor and civil engineer. The railroad hired him to survey the ranch when it was looking at purchasing the land from Helen J. Stewart. McWilliams was impressed enough to buy 80 acres from Mrs. Stewart that she hadn't sold to Clark. The land was west of the railroad, approximately the area now known as West Las Vegas.
McWilliams proceeded to start selling lots in his town site. He was doing well-but wells were the problem. The railroad controlled the Big Springs, in the vicinity of what is now I-95 and Valley View, and the creek that flowed from them. McWilliams could obtain water only by digging wells and tapping the artesian water supply. And that wasn't enough. In 1905, his townsite burned in a fire. Others would settle there, but Clark's townsite would become the Las Vegas known throughout the world.
Bracken and McWilliams weren't alone. Workers putting down the steel rails and crossties congregated in the area. Some stayed to help populate the two townsites in 1905. Others in the area worked mines in Searchlight and Goodsprings, to name two nearby areas,
But other events in 1904 also affected the railroad town yet to be born. In that year, two miners struck gold in what became, briefly, the largest mining rush in the West: Goldfield. It would create great wealth for a few men, most notably George Wingfield. He became Nevada's dominant political and economic figure for the first third of the 20th century. Also in Goldfield, young attorney Pat McCarran became involved in politics; he went on to succeed Wingfield as the state's political boss. His activities did much to create the modern Nevada of tourism and federal projects, and to sire the next generation of political leaders who have guided the state into the 21st century.
So, hold off on the big celebration until May 15, 1905. What happened in Las Vegas in 1904 mattered, but the best was yet to come.
Dr. Michael Green is a professor of Philosophical and Regional Studies at the Community College of Southern Nevada. This article is reprinted by permission from KNPR Radio and originally appeared in the KNPR Southern Nevada Almanac 2004.
Best Place To Retire
RETIRE IN LAS VEGAS?
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Best Places To Retire WHY Las Vegas?
Some good tips for living cheap if you want to retire in Las Vegas.
A major real estate trade group has once again ranked Las Vegas
among the nation's best markets for housing appreciation..
Statistics released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors
showed that the median home price in the Las Vegas Valley rose to
$291,000 in the first quarter, an increase of 29.4 percent when
compared with a median price of $266,400 in the same quarter a year
ago. That performance garnered the valley the No. 6 spot on the
association's 136-city list of appreciation rates.
The median price for a new home that closed escrow in April was
$281,355, an increase of $47,995, or 20.6 percent, from the same
month a year ago. Excluding apartment conversions, the median price
was $310,000.(May 2005)
Las Vegas condo conversion rate among highest in U.S.
By HUBBLE SMITH
Copper Palms at 1150 N. Buffalo Drive is one of a growing number of
Las Vegas apartment complexes being converted to condos.
Las Vegas has become one of the major condo conversion markets in
the country with an 8 percent share of the $6.5 billion in
conversion volume among 10 major metropolitan areas, a report from
Marcus & Millichap Research Services shows.
The combination of low mortgage rates, significant single-family
home appreciation and the rise in demand for condo units led to a
sharp increase in conversion activity.
More than $9.2 billion worth of large apartment properties slated
for conversions changed hands in select markets last year, up from
$2.1 billion the previous year, the report said.
Some 17,000 apartment units in Las Vegas are projected to be
converted to condos, said Dennis Smith, president of Home Builders
Research. About 7,500 are being actively marketed as condos and
10,000 are proposed to be converted.
They're priced from $120,000 to $250,000 for a unit with a garage,
an affordable alternative to the $304,734 median new home price,
factoring out condo conversions, Smith said.
According to the 2000 census, nearly 150,000 people over 65 have
chosen Southern Nevada as their home.
There are over 25 senior centers in Las Vegas..
place such as the BOULDER CITY CENTER, serves meals five days a week
to people ages 60 and older for a donation of $1.50. Meals on Wheels
for the homebound is available for a donation of $2.25.
Where else you can get a meal for $1.50!!!
Most of the center is open to ages 50 and older..
As you may know drinks are free in Las Vegas as long as you’re
dropping money into a machine or playing at one of the table games
even those playing 5-cent slot. You can also score free drinks if
you’re watching someone else play or if you’re just standing
in the Casino. The trick is to tip well. It sounds simple but if
you’re sitting at the 25 cent slots tip the waitress $2 dollars
I will guarantee you she will be back by the time you’re next
needs to be ordered.
If you are playing slots or table games, you get free beverages from
the waitresses. Order orange juice, tomato juice or "virgin" bloody
mary, milk, coffee instead of booze.
Fast Food: There are McDonalds, Wendys, Burger King in most casino
hotels as well as scattered on the Strip. There are also other fast
snack bars in every casino - they don't want people leaving to eat!
Often you can get a hotdog or sandwich for a very cheap price at the
bar or snack bar in a casino. The Holiday Inn Boardwalk has cheap
eats, a couple blocks north of the Luxor.
Buffets: Every casino hotel has a buffet - look in the visitors
guide for the cheapest ones. If you are not embarrassed to take
home some fruit and rolls for later, this is the place. The
Bellagio buffet is not cheap but it is a GREAT value - eat gourmet
food in unlimited quantity. If you want a "splurge" this is the
Here;s free coupons site where they offer Free VIP Coupon Book etc.
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