Las Vegas turns 108 years old Wednesday


Las Vegas turns 108 years old Wednesday

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED May 15, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The City of Las Vegas is 108 years old Wednesday.

Paleo-Indians were the first group of people to visit the area known as Las Vegas about 10,000 years ago.

Approximately 2,000 years ago, the Anasazi Indians moved into Southern Nevada and lived along the Muddy and Virgin rivers. The area also became home to the Paiute Indians around the same time.

In 1829, Spanish scout Rafael Rivera became the first European to visit the Valley.

Riviera was followed by John C. Fremont in 1844. Fremont kept a journal that described the two springs that he found in the valley and his descriptions of the area lured many individuals to the area.

A group of Mormons arrived in 1855 and built what is known as the Mormon Fort. However, they abandoned the fort just a few years later.

Nevada was admitted to the union in 1864 as the 36th state.

Las Vegas really started to grow in the early 1900s after the completion of the railway between Southern California and Salt Lake City. Las Vegas became a popular stopping point for fuel and rest.

The city of Las Vegas was founded on May 15, 1905, and was incorporated on June 1, 1911.

The construction of Hoover Dam brought in an influx of construction workers in 1931, which helped boost the local economy.

Although gambling had been going on for several years and was no secret, it was not until March 1931 that it was legalized by the Nevada Legislature.

By the 1940s, the population of Las Vegas had grown to more than 8,000 residents and Las Vegas became an ideal site for military and defense-related industries after the outbreak of World War II.

Following World War II, tourism and entertainment took over as the largest employer in the valley and began to draw tourists from all over the world to its elaborate hotels and casinos.

Las Vegas continued to grow in the 1960s largely because of Howard Hughes. Corporations began building and/or buying hotel and casino properties, following his lead.

By 1980, the population of Las Vegas had grown to almost 165,000 and a period of unprecedented growth began.

That growth continued through much of the 1990s and the population of Las Vegas reached 478,434.

Unfortunately, the city of Las Vegas and the state was hit hard by the mortgage crisis and the recession in the late 2000s. Much of the new home construction came to an end and several large construction projects were canceled or postponed.

Things are starting to turn around though.

Although Nevada still leads the nation in number of foreclosures, many analysts agree that Las Vegas' economy is now recovering and conditions are improving for tourism and in the housing market.

To celebrate Las Vegas' 108th birthday, the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino -- established in 1906 -- is offering their own glimpse into the past


History of the City of Las Vegas -- City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas Historical Information --

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani is the managing editor for and contributes to and