Las Vegas was a simple quiet town until the mob decided to turn it into a gambling mecca. Established in 1905, it became a city in 1911 and from then onwards grew rapidly. Today some of the world’s most famous casinos are here and wild nights can be experienced here. The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City. If you want to hit up the big casinos on the strip or some of the smaller ones in downtown there is a casino for everyone. If you don’t want to gamble, there are plenty of musicians, dance clubs, magic acts and even some outdoor activities around to entertain you. Remember: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and VIVA LAS VEGAS!

Some History
The first reported European visitor to the Las Vegas Valley was Raphael Rivera in 1829. Las Vegas was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 19th century, areas of the valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or meadows (vegas in Spanish); hence the name Las Vegas.

John C. Frémont traveled into the Las Vegas Valley on May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico. He was a leader of a group of scientists, scouts, and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population to Mormonism. A fort was built near the current downtown area that served as a stopover for travelers along the “Mormon Corridor” between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving colony of saints at San Bernardino, California. Mormons abandoned Las Vegas in 1857, during the Utah War. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (45 ha) owned by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Among the railroad’s most notable owners and directors were Montana Senator William A. Clark, Utah U.S. Senator Thomas Kearns, and R.C. Kerens of St. Louis. Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1908, when it became part of the newly established Clark County. The St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church near 4th and Bridger in downtown was founded in 1910. Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911; Peter Buol was the first mayor.

Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and became a popular railroad town in the early 20th century. It was a staging point for mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped goods to the rest of the country. With the proliferation of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam in 1935 resulted in growth in the number of residents and increased tourism. The dam, located 30 mi (48 km) southeast of the city, formed Lake Mead, the US’s largest man-made lake and reservoir. Today, tours are offered into lesser-known parts of the dam. The legalization of gambling in 1931 led to the advent of the casino hotels for which Las Vegas is famous. Major development occurred in the 1940s, “due almost entirely” to the influx of scientists and staff from the Manhattan Project, an atomic bomb research project of World War II. Atomic test watching parties were sometimes thrown. American organized crime figures such as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Meyer Lansky managed or funded most of the original large casinos. The rapid growth of Las Vegas is credited with dooming Galveston, Texas; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and other major gaming centers in the 1950s.

The Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately 4.2-mile (6.8 km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada; adjacent to, but outside the city limits of Las Vegas proper. The Strip lies within the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester. Most of the Strip has been designated anAll-American Road. Many of the largest hotel, casino and resort properties in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip. Nineteen of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Strip, with a total of over 67,000 rooms. One of the 19, the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, (Formerly the Las Vegas Hilton), is an “off-Strip” property but is located less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of the Strip. One of the most visible aspects of Las Vegas’ cityscape is its use of dramatic architecture. The modernization of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and residential high-rises on the Strip has established the city as one of the most popular destinations for tourists.

courtesy: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia go

A Different View
In our story the iconic spectacle – Las Vegas – moves aside for nearby natural wonders.

Our gaming action begins in the airport lounge, one-arm-bandits are ready to pay off, or so we think. Exciting neon sets adrenalin flowing and non-stop casino action has us up all night. We fill the extra suitcase at world-class shops, witness spectacular live shows, club, dance, eat gourmet foods at award winning restaurants…what now? Nearby natural wonders!

As the virtual center of many natural wonders, Las Vegas is a perfect “hub + spoke” location from which to visit the many outlying attractions and activities. Some enchanting, others funky, but all breathing and pulsating with energy and an eclectic vibe. Setting out in several directions we cover over 1,600 miles in 8 days – north to Ely NV, east to Brian Head UT, south to Laughlin AZ.

Coach travel with a guide is bliss, trouble free and relaxing. Driving on the Loneliest Road, into the Moapa Valley, on the Great Basin Highway, and across the new Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge we visit renowned parks (Valley of Fire,  Zion Nat’l,  Cathedral Gorge, Great Basin Nat’l, Snow Canyon), Hoover Dam, Lehman caves, Utah’s best dry powder ski area, the most productive 1800’s gold mine and  a living steam engine railroad museum.

A helicopter tour gets us expansive views of the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead Recreational Area. We ride ATV’s on mountain trails used by Big Horn sheep and discover the charming towns of St. George (UT), Boulder City (NV), Mesquite (NV), Ely (most remote city in Nevada), and the gun-slinging outlaw western town of Oatman (AZ). We step into the sky on the Grand Canyon Skywalk and see the canyon’s magnificence from several vantage points. A raft trip on the Colorado River gives us seldom seen views of Hoover Dam. We explore golf courses, do a rough county tour on a Pink Jeep, have  a river boat dinner in Laughlin ….just so many adventures!

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