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historical side of las vegas

Exploring The Historical Side Of Las Vegas

by Gloria Louden

When people think of Las Vegas they think of bright lights and glamour, an adventurous destination that has an undeniable electric atmosphere. A place where extravagant resorts, gaming centers, and restaurants exude modernity and style.

However, if you take a closer look, it isn’t hard to see that the gleaming Entertainment Capital of the World is actually quite historic in nature. In this article we explore some of the city’s major antiquated landmarks, showing off a different side of Sin City that should be as high on a travelers list as Las Vegas’ modern amenities.

The Springs Reserve

The first stop on the Vegas historical tour is undoubtedly the famous Springs Reserve. Located just north of the Strip, this site offers both locals and tourists the opportunity to venture far back in time with a 180-acre cultural institution.

The Springs Reserve is home to the Nevada State Museum and gallery that hosts a wide variety of different events with the goal of teaching guests about the city’s historical past, beginning in the prehistoric period. A visit to this special landmark is sure to be an entertaining and educational experience for all.

The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino

Las Vegas’ unique casino identity had to start somewhere, so long before huge entertainment complexes lined the Strip, there was, first and foremost, the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. Known as the United States’ oldest casino, the building first opened its doors as hotel back in 1906 and later, when gaming was legalized in Nevada, as a casino in 1931.

At this time, the structure was named Sal Sagev or “Las Vegas” spelled backwards, and later officially changed its name in 1955 to the title people are familiar with today. Miraculously, the Golden Gate still operates today and is one of the most historic points of interest on both Freemont Street and the entire city.

The Hoover Dam

A short road trip of no more than 40 minutes from Las Vegas’ city center is needed to make the trip to the historic Hoover Dam bypass, but it’s unquestionably worth the drive. Constructed during the Great Depression era between 1931 and 1936, the site was a great structural accomplishment during the 20th century and one that is still very much a huge part of American history today.

In fact, the Dam is highly sought out by travelers and receives an estimated 7 million tourists each and every year, making it the most visited one of its kind in the world.

The Neon Museum

Las Vegas’ Neon Museum is hands down a museum like you have never seen before. Dedicated to preserving the city’s various neon signs that were once attached to casino structures or hotels, this 2.62-acre landmark is one of the newest spots on the list, opening just nearly a decade ago in 2012.

Here, visitors will feast eyes on some memorable signs like that of the former La Concha Motel in the exhibition space known as the “Neon Boneyard.” Today, a whopping 250 signs call this site home.

historical side of las vegas

The “Welcome to Las Vegas” Sign

Speaking of historic neon signs, perhaps the most famous of them all, the “Welcome to Las Vegas” was constructed over 60 years ago in 1959. Designed by American artist and Las Vegas native Betty Willis, the sign has become a iconic representation of Nevada’s bustling city and will forever one of the country’s most momentous tourist landmarks.

One thing’s for certain- a trip to Las Vegas is not complete without stopping by the sign and snapping a few photos.

So, there you have it- Las Vegas’ historical side wrapped into one. Traveling to Sin City and exploring its modern features is great fun but digging into its old roots can be just as interesting. After all, one of the greatest things about travel is the fact it allows you to learn more about the world around you.

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