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Las Vegas (English: "The Meadows" or "The Grasslands") was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or Meadows (Vega in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas. It is believed the birthplace of Las Vegas to be the Springs Preserve John C. Frémont traveled into the Las Vegas Valley on May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico. He was a leader of a group of scientists, scouts and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 Mormon missionaries led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population. A fort was built near the current downtown area, serving as a stopover for travelers along the "Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (44.5 ha) owned by Montana Senator William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad, was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County. Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911.


[edit] Major events
Las Vegas is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, "reinventing" itself as a gambling mecca, family destination, capital of hedonism ("What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"), or hotspot for dining and shopping over the years. Several events stand out as turning points:

Establishment of Las Vegas as a railroad town (May 15, 1905).
Legalization of gambling (March 19, 1931).
Completion of Hoover Dam (October 9, 1936).
Opening of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel on what would become the Las Vegas Strip (December 26, 1946).
Atmospheric nuclear testing (1951 to 1962).
Opening of The Mirage which began the era of megaresort casinos on (November 22, 1989).
100th birthday, or Centennial, of Las Vegas (May 15, 2005).

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Additional Photos by Elias Castillo (manatee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 905 W: 5 N: 1376] (4668)
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