The history of Las Vegas (or translated in English; The Meadows) springs forth from the natural spring water in and around the area, painting it with lush desert flora and fauna. Legend has it a Spanish explorer Rafael Rivera was the first European to set eyes on area back in 1829. It thus christened the spot Las Vegas. It was to be a natural short cut and stop for folks heading west on toward California.
Fifteen years later a gentleman by the name of John C. Fremont wrote a first hand account of natural beauty and resources of the land. When his journal was published, more Easterners were inspired to flock to this budding oasis in the desert.
In 1855, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons deemed The Meadows an ideal location between Los Angles and Salt Lake City. They erected a fort for the safety of their people.
A little less than ten years later, Nevada joined the union in 1864 as the 36th of the United States of America.
In the succeeding years, many precious metal veins were found in Nevada, bringing a whole new demographic of people, from prospectors to farmers. These settlers could purchase an acre of land for $1.25 via the State Land Act of ’85. To add to the population, at the turn of the century the railway between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas was completed making travel (and permanently moving!) more convenient and comfortable.
On May 15th, 1905 Las Vegas was incorporated as a full fledged city! Two years and two months later Nevada Legislature created Clark County named after, my very own ancestor (from my father’s mother’s side) William Clark who was instrumental bringing a new railway through southern Nevada. By 1911 Las Vegas had a population of 800 people!
My how times have changed. The Meadows lost its sweet luster when sin and vice took over in 1930s and “it’s all gone done hill from there.”