Las Vegas boasts a rich history, and the city offers up plenty of opportunities to step back in time. Throughout the years, Las Vegas has undergone several shifts in identity leaving traces of each change behind. From the Wild West era to mobster playground, and now a gambling mecca, Las Vegas is more than just neon lights and craps tables. If you’re looking to experience something a little different next time you visit, here are 5 pieces of Las Vegas history sure to change the way you think about the city.
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort
Serving as the very first permanent structure in the valley, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort was built in 1855, strategically located near a spring fed creek. The original structure was a 150-foot adobe fort intended to serve as a mid-point regrouping area on the trail from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Today, a small portion of the original structure still remains just east of Las Vegas Boulevard. Make sure to take some time to check out the visitor center of the state park for great details about this historic place.
Railroad Cottage District
The rail services in the area helped Las Vegas develop into the city it is today. In order to provide housing for those building the rails, the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad built a total of 64 cottages in what is now Downtown Las Vegas. Although only a handful of cottages remain in the original district, the area remains on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is sure to bring you back in time.
Vegas Vic is the unofficial name for the famous neon cowboy located outside of a souvenir shop that was formerly The Pioneer Club. This staple of Downtown Las Vegas since 1951 measures in at 40 feet, and can wave and talk. Located directly across Fremont Street is another famous piece of Downtown neon known as Vegas Vickie. She is a seated cowgirl with a leg kicked over Fremont, erected in 1980, who now sits over the Glitter Gulch Neon Sign. In 1984, Vic and Vickie were married in a fun ceremony covered by local news. For more pieces of Vegas neon history, be sure to check out the Neon Boneyard.
The Bellagio Fountains
Since their first show over 15 years ago, the fountains at Bellagio have become an award winning staple of Las Vegas. This amazing (and free) fountain show takes place at regular time intervals every day and featured over 30 different combinations of water movements carefully choreographed to a variety of popular songs. The fountains are located on an 8-acre manmade lake and feature over 4 thousand lights and over a thousand nozzles. For another amazing free show, make sure to head down to The Mirage for the famous volcano show!
One of the most well-known manmade landmarks resides just outside of Las Vegas on the border of Nevada and Arizona. The Hoover Dam, completed in 1935 to control flooding and irrigation along the Colorado River, was built from 5 million barrels of cement and 45 million pounds of reinforced steel. This amazing artificial wonder of the world created Lake Mead, the largest manmade reservoir in the U.S., now a mecca for outdoor activities in the area. Make sure to take some time to check out some of these amazing historic sites next time you find yourself looking for something different to experience Downtown.