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The first mayor of Las Vegas was Peter Buol who served from Shortly after the city's incorporation, the State of Nevada reluctantly became the last western state to outlaw gaming.
This occurred at midnight, October 1, , when a strict anti-gambling law became effective in Nevada. It even forbade the western custom of flipping a coin for the price of a drink.
Nonetheless, Las Vegas had a diversified economy and a stable and prosperous business community, and therefore continued to grow until In that year, a combination of economic influences and the redirection of resources by the federal government in support of the war effort forced the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad to declare bankruptcy.
Although William Clark sold the remains of the company to the Union Pacific Railroad , a nationwide strike in left Las Vegas in a desperate state.
The dam was later renamed the Hoover Dam during the Truman administration. Work started on the dam in and Las Vegas' population swelled from around 5, citizens to 25,, with most of the newcomers looking for a job building the dam.
However, the demographic of the work force consisting of males from across the country with no attachment to the area created a market for large scale entertainment.
A combination of local Las Vegas business owners, and Mafia crime lords helped develop the casinos and showgirl theaters to entertain the largely male dam construction workers.
Despite the influx of known crime figures, the local business community tried to cast Las Vegas in a respectable light when the Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur visited in to inspect the dam site.
However a subordinate was found with alcohol on his breath this was during the time of Prohibition after a visit to Block 16 in Las Vegas.
The government ultimately decided that a federal-controlled town, Boulder City , would be erected for the dam workers.
Realizing that gambling would be profitable for local business, the Nevada state legislature legalized gambling at the local level in Las Vegas, with a small but already well-established illegal gambling industry, was poised to begin its rise as the gaming capital of the world.
The county issued the first gambling license in to the Northern Club , and soon other casinos were licensed on Fremont Street like the Las Vegas Club and the Apache Hotel.
Fremont Street became the first paved street in Las Vegas  and received the city's first traffic light in In reply, the federal government restricted movement of the dam workers to Las Vegas.
Smuggling and circuitous routes then were developed. In , to curtail these activities and the resulting growth of criminal figures in the gambling industry, the city's leading figures purged gambling dens and started an effort to stem the flow of workers from the dam.
This only emboldened some dam workers who still contrived to visit Las Vegas. A celebration of this era has become known as Helldorado Days.
Although the suppression efforts resulted in declines at gambling venues and resulted in a business downturn, the city was recharged—both literally and figuratively—when the dam was completed in In , Southern Nevada Power became the first utility to supply power from the dam, and Las Vegas was its first customer.
Electricity flowed into Las Vegas and Fremont Street became known as Glitter Gulch due to the many bright lights powered by electricity from Hoover Dam.
Meanwhile, although the dam worker population disappeared, Hoover Dam and its reservoir, Lake Mead , turned into tourist attractions on their own and the need for additional higher class hotels became clear.
Route 95 was finally extended south into Las Vegas, giving the city two major access roads. Also in Las Vegas's first permanent radio station , KENO , began broadcasting replacing the niche occupied earlier by transient broadcasters.
On January 25, the U. Russell signed over land to the U. Army Quartermaster Corps for this development. The gunnery school later would become Nellis Air Force Base.
Army was not pleased with the legal prostitution in Las Vegas and in forced Las Vegas to outlaw the practice, putting Block 16, the local red light district permanently out of business.
It was the first resort on what would become the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel gained much of its fame from the gourmet buffet that it offered.
On October 30, , Texas cinema magnate R. Griffith rebuilt on the site of a nightclub called Pair-O-Dice ,  that first opened in , and renamed it Hotel Last Frontier.
A few more resorts were built on and around Fremont Street, but it was the next hotel on the Strip that publicly demonstrated the influence of organized crime on Las Vegas.
Although ethnic organized crime figures had been involved in some of the operations at the hotels, the Mafia bosses never owned or controlled the hotels and clubs which remained monopolized by hard-bitten local Las Vegas families who were unwilling to cede ground to the crime bosses and proved strong enough to push back.
This changed in post-war Las Vegas when Jewish gangster Bugsy Siegel , with help from friend and fellow mob boss Meyer Lansky , poured money through Mormon-owned banks for cover of legitimacy and built The Flamingo in Siegel modeled his enterprises on the long-running gambling empire in Galveston, Texas , which had pioneered the high-class casino concepts that became mainstays on the Strip.
The Flamingo initially lost money and Siegel died in a hail of gunfire in Beverly Hills, California in the summer of Additionally, local police and Clark County Sheriff deputies were notorious for their heavy-handed tactics toward mobsters who "grew too big for their pants.
Owned and operated by a joint combination of Mormon elders who provided political and business legitimacy and people involved with organized crime who provided unreported income and street muscle, such as Meyer Lansky , these crime hotels became regarded as the epitome of gambling entertainment.
Gambling was no longer the only attraction; the biggest stars of films and music like Frank Sinatra , Dean Martin , Andy Williams , Liberace , Bing Crosby , Carol Channing , and others performed in intimate settings.
After coming to see these stars, the tourists would resume gambling, and then eat at the gourmet buffets that have become a staple of the casino industry.
This led to a proposal by the Senate to institute federal gambling control. Only through the power and influence of Nevada's Senator Pat McCarran did the proposal die in committee.
Along with their connections in Hollywood and New York City, these interests in Las Vegas were able to use publicity provided by these media capitals to steer the rapid growth of tourism into Las Vegas thereby dooming Galveston, Texas ; Hot Springs, Arkansas ; and other illegal gaming centers around the nation.
While the Strip was booming, the U. Atomic Energy Commission on January 27, detonated the first of over a hundred atmospheric explosions at the Nevada Test Site.
These atmospheric tests would continue until enactment of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in when the tests moved underground. The last test explosion was in Despite the dangers and risks, greatly underestimated at the time, of radiation exposure from the fallout, Las Vegas advertised the explosions as another tourist attraction and offered Atomic Cocktails in Sky Rooms that offered a great view of the mushroom clouds.
Parry Thomas during those years funded the growing boom in casinos. But Las Vegas was doing more than growing casinos.
In , McCarran Field was established for commercial air traffic. In the University of Nevada, Las Vegas was first established, initially as a branch of the University of Nevada, Reno and becoming independent in A new utility company, Southwest Gas expanded into Las Vegas in In , Howard Hughes , the eccentric hero of the American aviation industry, and noted American entrepreneurial financier with vast connections to long established networks in the country, moved to Las Vegas.
Initially staying in the Desert Inn , he refused to vacate his room and instead decided to purchase the entire hotel.
He was instrumental in changing the image of Las Vegas from its Wild West roots into a more refined cosmopolitan city. The local newspaper Las Vegas Sun and its editor Hank Greenspun led a crusade in those days to expose all the criminal ties, activities, and government corruption in Las Vegas.
His investigative reporting and editorials led to the exposure of Clark County Sheriff Glen Jones ' ownership of a brothel and the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Clifford A.
The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic Whites,  have proportionally declined from Hispanics or Latinos of any race make up Hawaiians and Las Vegans sometimes refer to Las Vegas as the "ninth island of Hawaii " because so many Hawaiians have moved to the city.
As of the census  of , there were , people, , households, and , families residing in the city. The population density was 4, There are , housing units at an average density of 1, As of , there were , households, out of which The average household size was 2.
In the city, the population was spread out with The median age was 34 years. For every females, there were For every females age 18 and over, there were According to a study, Las Vegas has one of the highest divorce rates.
Since divorce is easier in Nevada than most other states, many people come from across the country for the easier process.
Similarly, Nevada marriages are notoriously easy to get. Las Vegas has one of the highest marriage rates of U. The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy are tourism, gaming and conventions, which in turn feed the retail and restaurant industries.
The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos and the hotels, although in recent years other new attractions have begun to emerge.
Most casinos in the downtown area are located on Fremont Street , with The Stratosphere being one of the exceptions.
Fremont East , adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic than the Strip attracts.
The year marked the opening of the Northern Club now the La Bayou. The center of the gambling and entertainment industry, however, is located on the Las Vegas Strip , outside the city limits in the surrounding unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester in Clark County.
The largest and most notable casinos and buildings are located there. When The Mirage opened in , it started a trend of major resort development on the Las Vegas Strip outside of the city.
This resulted in a drop in tourism in the downtown area, but many recent projects have increased the number of visitors to downtown. An effort has been made by city officials to diversify the economy by attracting health-related, high-tech and other commercial interests.
No state tax for individuals or corporations, as well as a lack of other forms of business-related taxes,  have aided the success of these efforts.
The Fremont Street Experience was built in an effort to draw tourists back to the area, and has been popular since its startup in In , Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced plans for Symphony Park , which could include a mixture of offerings, such as residential space and office buildings.
It currently encompasses three large buildings with a total of 5. Trade shows for the furniture and furnishing industries are held there semiannually.
A second expansion was completed in May , with the mall currently offering stores. The former City Hall building is now occupied by the corporate headquarters for the major online retailer, Zappos.
A number of new industries have moved to Las Vegas in recent decades. Online shoe retailer Zappos. Allegiant Air , a low-cost carrier launched in , had its first hub at McCarran International Airport and is headquartered in nearby Summerlin.
The city is home to an extensive Downtown Arts District , which hosts numerous galleries and events including the annual Las Vegas Film Festival.
The world-class performing arts center hosts Broadway shows and other major touring attractions, as well as orchestral, opera, ballet, choir, jazz, and dance performances.
Las Vegas had earned the moniker Gambling Capital of the World, as the city currently has the largest strip of land-based casinos in the world.
There are two minor league sports teams that play in the city of Las Vegas. In response to the original rumors of the eventual NHL expansion team in Las Vegas, ESPN writer Scott Burnside noted several obstacles that would be faced by the city if it were to become a professional sports market, including the presence of legal sports betting, scheduling conflicts with the large number of residents who work nighttime and overnight shifts, and that the casinos would be unlikely to give away tickets to such events as a promotion, as they run contrary to a goal of encouraging patrons to remain in their facilities.
Las Vegas has 68 parks. The city owns the land for, but does not operate, four golf courses: It is also responsible for playgrounds, 23 softball fields, 10 football fields, 44 soccer fields, 10 dog parks, six community centers, four senior centers, skates parks, six swimming pools, and more.
The city of Las Vegas government operates as a council—manager government. The Mayor sits as a Council member-at-large and presides over all of the City Council meetings.
The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day-to-day operations of all municipal services and city departments.
The City Manager maintains intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments. Much of the Las Vegas metropolitan area is split into neighboring incorporated cities or unincorporated communities.
Approximately , people live in unincorporated areas governed by Clark County , and another , live in incorporated cities such as North Las Vegas , Henderson and Boulder City.
A Paiute Indian reservation occupies about 1 acre 0. Las Vegas, home to the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse and the Regional Justice Center, draws numerous companies providing bail, marriage, divorce, tax, incorporation and other legal services.
Primary and secondary public education is provided by the Clark County School District , which is the fifth most populous school district in the nation.
Students totaled , in grades K for school year — The College of Southern Nevada the third largest community college in the United States by enrollment is the main higher education facility in the city.
Las Vegas is served by 22 television and 46 radio stations. About 11 percent commuted via carpool, 3. The national average was 8.
Las Vegas averaged 1. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways. The street numbering system is divided by the following streets:.
Interstates 15, , and US 95 lead out of the city in four directions. Route 95 — cross in downtown Las Vegas.
US 93 splits from I northeast of Las Vegas and goes north through the eastern part of the state, serving Ely and Wells. A partial beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate on the south and Clark County on the west and north.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the city proper. For the metropolitan area, see Las Vegas Valley. For the tourist destination, see Las Vegas Strip.
For other uses, see Las Vegas disambiguation. For other uses, see Vegas disambiguation. City in Nevada, United States.
Location within Clark County. Downtown Nevada gaming area. List of tallest buildings in Las Vegas. Ultimate Hoover Dam Tour.
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