The town of Las Vegas didn’t start out as we know it, a town of lights, casinos and shows. The first town of Las Vegas was envisioned by Brigham Young, the founder of the Mormon Church. He saw the fertile valley as great farmland. Although the town was Young’s idea, it wasn’t until much later that it was founded.
The ready supply of water caused Las Vegas to become a favorite stop for settlers along the Mormon Trail. Later, when the railroad came, the city became a watering spot for trains. The early years of Las Vegas were those of agriculture and the railroad. As such, the town grew and prospered until the local railroad became bankrupt.
However, it wasn’t until 1931 that Las Vegas took off as a town. When President Herbert Hoover signed the bill for the building of Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam), he gave the town of Las Vegas the shot in the arm it needed to grow from a poverty-stricken town, into a thriving city.
Las Vegas grew to over 25,000 inhabitants almost overnight. The town became the entertainment hotspot for the almost entirely male workforce building the dam. Even with the prohibition in effect, speakeasies were common. Casinos, theatres with showgirls, and other attractions were opened, with the express purpose of harvesting the wages of the over 5,000 dam construction workers.
By the time the dam was built, Las Vegas had irreversibly turned towards providing entertainment towards all who wanted it. The first of the major casinos, El Rancho Vegas, to be built on what is now known as The Strip was built in 1941. The Flamingo, fist of the casinos with a major mafia interest was built shortly thereafter, in 1946.
Las Vegas’ growth has been helped along the way by the armed forces of the United States. Since the beginning of World War II, the military has had schools and bases around the Las Vegas area, most notably the Nellis Air Force Base. Today, Las Vegas is a thriving city, drawing business from across the country and around the world.