Sin City, Las Vegas Nevada, alittle history
Las Vegas is a relatively young town but its history can be traced all the way back to 1829. Antonio Armijo lead a party of 60 on the Old Spanish Trail to Los
Angeles and the caravan camped about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Rafael Rivera, a Mexican scout who left the main party and headed due west over the unexplored desert, discovered an oasis. The oasis he found shortened the Spanish trail to Los Angeles by allowing travelers to cut directly through rather than around, the vast desert. Spanish traders who used this route named the desert oasis Las Vegas Spanish for "the Meadows".
The next visitor to Las Vegas was John C. Fremont in 1844. He is still remembered today and his name graces one of the most spectacular streets in Las Vegas, Fremont Street, located downtown.
Ten years later Mormon settlers were sent by Brigham Young from Salt Lake City to colonize the valley. They built a 150 square foot adobe brick fort, part of which still stands today as the oldest structure in Las Vegas and is named the Mormon Fort. The Mormons spent two years here and by 1857 the fort was abandoned.
In 1904, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad laid its tracks through the Las Vegas Valley. In 1905, the railroad held an auction and sold 700 lots. Las Vegas became a small watering stop with a few hotels, stores, a saloon and a few thousand residents.
When the government appropriated $165 million for the Boulder Canyon Project in 1928, Las Vegas received its first wave of residents. In 1931, construction of Hoover Dam (Boulder Dam) began, thousands of Depression weary job seekers came to help build the world's largest gravity dam, 40 miles from Las Vegas.
The Governor of Nevada approved the "wide open" gambling bill that had been introduced by a Winnemucca rancher. Up until that time gambling was outlawed in Nevada. Project the federal government didn't want the workers to be distracted by the temptations of Las Vegas so they created a separate government town to house them, Boulder City. Gambling was illegal in Boulder City and it still remains the only community in Nevada where gambling is against the law. The dam was completed in 1935.
By the early 1940s, downtown Las Vegas had several luxury hotels and a dozen small but successful gambling clubs. In 1941 the El Rancho Hotel was built just outside the Vegas city limits and shortly after, the Last Frontier Hotel was built. These hotels were the beginnings of the "Vegas Strip".
A few pictures from my trip to Las Vegas
July and August 2003
Las Vegas Blvd aka/The Strip
Arrving at "rush hour" was not one of my better plans!
It hovered in the low 100 degrees with about 40% or more humidity. This was not the best time of the year to go to Vegas to have fun! Too hot and sticky!! Alot of storms blew through the area. One stayed long enough during the day to dump some rain. The lightening was rather impressive, if you like lightening. I don't! Here's a picture of a storm blowing in, just before the lightening started.
Now, back to The Strip!
The Flamingo and Barbary Coast
New York New York
Statues in front of ?? (I forget which hotel had the statues)
This was my favorite experience while I was in Vegas. The hotel has a large pond area that has fountains that shoot into the air to music. When I first saw it, it was playing "Proud to be an American" at full volume and the water was rhythmically shooting up to different levels in time with the music. Everyone within ear and eye shot of it just stood and watched, I saw a few tears roll down cheeks, it was a fantastic thing to witness and be part of. It was totally awesome.
I did catch it for one more song, and the fountains were still really neat... (the pictures below are from the 2nd song) but the first one, with that song, was beyond compare. (I'm tellin' ya... it gave me goosebumps!)
The "Fremont Street Experience" wasn't all I was led to believe it would be. It was sorta neat the first time I saw it, but once was enough. The "Experience" arrives after darkness has fallen upon the city, or around 10pm. Fremont Street, which is cluttered with Casino's, places to eat, little souvenier shops, and a couple small grocery type stores, has a canopy over it. The canopy allows the sun through in the daytime and at night, it lights up with pictures and laser-type effects which move to whatever music is being played. I didn't have my camera with me the one time I saw "The Experience" so you'll just have to use your imagination - which will probably be better than the actual show!
One thing I did really like is that they kept alot of the original signage. That gave some character to the place!
The horse marks the entrance to Fremont Street
and the Cowboy invites you into a Souvenier shop
The Golden Goose and
Glitter Gulch strip clubs
Main Street Station. Popular place for Casino and food. The food was okay, but a bit spendy for what you get and for the crappy service.
Neonopolis, more of a kids area. Has a lot of little shops in it, movies, and a restaurant/bar. NOTE the black sky brewing overhead!
Golden Nugget, has the best buffet in the city. It was very nice.
Fitzgeralds hotel and Casino. I stayed here for a week. I liked it okay. The casino slots paid off fairly regularly, the food was pretty good, free valet parking, pool, hot tub, shows, and the rooms were decent.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is a pretty 13 mile drive. Its only about 15 miles out of downtown Vegas and worth the trip. Its a one-way loop and the traffic wasn't bad when I went, which was a Saturday. It was partly cloudy when I was there and the clouds looked like they were going to pour down rain, but they didn't! The place is littered with hiking trails, which I didn't partake of!
The road to Red Rock Canyon
The entrance to the Loop road
White Rock Spring
The Spring Mountain Ranch
This ranch is one of the originals and had some history behind it. I didn't think it was worth the walk up to it, but they got my $5 anyhow!
Old Nevada, a western mining town on Bonnie Springs Ranch
Bank and US Marshals Office
This place was very neat. More of a kids place, but cute all the same! The "US Marshal, Deputy US Marshal, and badguy" put on a series of 3 skits.
The US Marshal
Marshal and Deputy US Marshal
The (very cute) bad guy
The first one, they gather the kids together and talk to them about the guns the actors carry and shoot and then they deputize the kids to go after the badguy. The badguy robs a store and is trapped in the store by the little deputies out front. The US Marshal gives the badguy a choice.... one year in jail or two weeks with the little deputies. Of course, he takes the jail term!
Next is a really silly skit in the bar. The US Marshal is a woman (an ugly woman I might add) and the bad guy is still a bad guy who's trying to marry the woman and get her property. It all works out ok, they don't get married!
Last is the bank robbery. Bad guy robs the bank, theres a shoot out with the US Marshal, the Deputy US Marshal and Marshal capture the bad guy and then there's a hanging.
And at the end of the day, you take the little train back to the parking lot where your car is now 400 degrees inside from sitting in the hot sun!
Gold Coast Hotel
I'm adding this only to show you where NOT to stay if you go to Vegas. This place is pretty, if you like gold coloring. But besides that, it sucked! There are 4 restaurants, a couple casino's, a movie theater, bowling alley, bars, a shuttle to "the strip" for free, pool, a small store, golfing, and of course, the rooms. There is a large mall and numerous places to eat, drink, and gamble close by. Sounds good so far doesn't it? (keep reading)
When they tell you that this Gold hotel was built on the slot machines... believe it... you put money in and rarely get any out! You stand in line to get seated for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once you finally get seated, you might see a waitress wander by about 15 or 20 minutes later. When they do take your order, be prepared to wait another 30 - 45 minutes before you get fed. Don't expect any smiles or friendliness out of these people... that is a rare commodity in this place. The food was generally pretty good... but it could have been that I was half-starved by the time it arrived... a piece of shoe leather would have seemed tasty! I would definitely NEVER stay here again.
Now the gold coloring on the outside is fine, makes it easy to find in case you get lost. The windows even have a gold coloring on them that helps block the heat out.
Now, when I got there to check in... about 1030am on Sunday, I was greated by a rather surly, large female behind the counter. She informed me that no rooms were ready to be occupied and hissed at me that check-in is 3:00pm. I took my bags, which weighed a ton, to the baggage desk and asked that they hold them for me. Then I got in the car and took a run around town to see what all was there.
I came back around noon-time, and went to the check-in desk... still no rooms had been cleaned... so I wandered around the casino and had a beer at the bar. Went back to the check-in desk at 1pm and they had finally cleaned a room! The baggage guy said he would bring my bags up. So I went to find my new home.
But when I walked into my room...... and it was ALL shades of orangy-gold.... everywhere.... carpet, walls, curtains, bedspread, paintings... I nearly fainted! *SHUDDER* This place was just down right ugly!! I was sure I would have nightmares every night sleeping in it. (The picture doesn't show how really orange that room was!)
This was my view through my gold colored window. (It's the mall next door across the street)
And this is what it looked like out the side door to the west. (Don't know where the yellow on the side came from, end of the roll of film I would suspect!)
Thats all the pictures I'm putting up for the Vegas trip. Hope you enjoyed them. Its an interesting place and you should go there just once to see it for yourself! There is SO much to see and do - beyond gambling and drinking I mean.
There are tons of shows to explore (most cost money), food to indulge in, sightseeing in the area, and the "theme" hotels are just down right interesting to go through.
But know ahead of time how much money you plan to lose every night if you are going to go gambling! If you're money ahead.... grab the cash... leave... and don't look back!!
A few links for you:
Map of The Strip
Red Rock Canyon
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