How Las Vegas Started
Wagon caravans were attracted to the meadows and warm springs surrounding the Mojave Desert in the 1820’s. The formal town of Las Vegas was established in 1905 by the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad. Las Vegas grew from a supply center for ranchers to an exciting leisure destination over the next few decades. This was largely due to the building of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s. Nevada legalized gambling in 1931 which created the great surge in casinos and hotels.
Bugsy Seigel, a mobster in charge of gambling, bookmaking, and narcotics smuggling in California, expanded his influence to Las Vegas. He built and ran the Flamingo hotel which opened in 1946. Business was great at the Flamingo and, as a result, other hotels with casinos opened.
The population of Las Vegas grew from 25,000 in 1950 to nearly 700,000 residents in 2017.
Las Vegas continues to grow as a recreational destination in addition to being a great place to live.