History of Las Vegas

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Hoover Dam actually was the creation of the Las Vegas we know today.  When the dam was being built staring back in 1928, thousands of workers came to Nevada looking for work.  In 1931, gambling was made legal once more.  Fremont Street's gaming casinos attracted the workers from the Hoover Dam. 

    Bugsy Siegel, the man who is credited with developing Las Vegas actually just bought a few blocks of already developed properties.  El Rancho Vegas Hotel was built in 1941 right across the street from where the Sahara is today.  Throughout the 1940's, the El Rancho became a place where Hollywood stars came to relax.  In 1947, the Flamingo opened with Dean Martin headlining several shows.

    Hotel growth continued into the 1950's.  The Riviera was the ninth hotel to open in 1957.  Liberace was a headliner at most of the shows.  In 1958, the Stardust opened and Wayne Newton fgot his start in Las Vegas.

    In the 1960's, the Sands Hotel invited the Rat Pack to headline.  Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford all came and stayed there while the group was in town filming Ocean's Eleven.  In 1968, Circus Circus was opened to the Las Vegas visitors.  This hotel boasted circus acts every hour right over the casino floors.

    In the 1970's, a flood causing almost one million in damage.  Gambling was also legalized in Atlantic City costing Las Vegas a lot of customers.

    In 1989, Steve Wynn finally made people take notice of Las Vegas.  The Mirage opened and Siegfried & Roy took over as healiners.

    As the 1990's and 2000's come and go, even more luxurious hotels will be  opening.  The Luxor, Venetian, Mandelay Bay, and THE Hotel have even more to offer guests in shopping and gambling.  Las Vegas, like its hotels, will keep on growing and making more money every year.

1960s and 1970s in Las Vegas
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The 1960's brought the debut of the slot machines.  Some of these machines would accept up to a $500 token.  The jackpots grew over time from $100 to $10 million today. 

    The Rat Pack was in town filming Ocean's Eleven.  The rat pack was chairing a summit meeting at the Sands Hotel.  The group included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter :Lawford, and Joey Bishop. 

    The building boom took a brief rest when the El Rancho burned down in 1960.  It wasn't until 1966 that another hotel was built.  The Aladdin was opened and was quite an exotic Arabian Night type of hotel.  Howard Hughes burst into town in the late 60's and went on a shopping spree of land and hotels costing more than $300 million.

    The Circus Circus opened in 1968 and Las Vegas had become a family destination as well.  With the circus acts over the casino floors, adults and children could partake in the shows.  Elvis Presley returned in 1969 to the International showroom and his fans had grown up enough to enjoy the show.

    In 1971, the Union Plaza, a 500 room hotel, opened at the head of Fremont Street.  Merv Griffin started taping his shows at Caesar's Palace.  He made the city a little more famous by bringing it into people's homes each night on the television.
    1973 saw Siegfried and Roy's first show open at the Tropicana.  They would turn women into tigers in their show “Folies Begere.”  They became world class illusionists in their own right.

    The 1970's also brought two major disasters to Las Vegas.  The first was a flash flood that hit the main strip and wound up costing more than $1 million in damage.  The second was that gambling was legalized in Atlantic City and this took a lot of tourists away from Las Vegas.  Dollar slot machines were brought out at the end of the decade.



1980s and 1990s in Las Vegas

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AS the 1980's began, Las Vegas seemed to be booming once again.  McCarran airport had just started a twenty year, $785 million expansion plan.  Siegfried and Roy started in their own show, “Beyond Belief,” that ran for six years at the Frontier.  They played a record breaking 3,500+ shows to sellout crowds every night.

    Steve Wynn opened the Mirage Hotel in 1989.  It had five story waterfalls, lagoons, and tropical type foliage.  The hotel was fronted by a fifty foot volcano that erupted nightly in a explosion of color.  He also invited Siegfried and Roy to come and headline his hotel.

    The 1990's brought us the Excalibur that along with the Circus Circus was bringing the family attitude to Las Vegas.  With its pageantry and medieval background, the hotel was perfect for kids.  Also in the 1990s came the Luxor, the MGM Grand Hotel and Treasure Island.

    In 1995, Fremont Street was completed and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino opened.  It was billed as the first rock and roll hotel.  1996 brought the Monte Carlo and the 1,149 foot Stratosphere Hotels.  The New York New York arrived in 1997 with its Manhattan skyline and scale size replica of the Statue of Liberty.

    Between the years of 1998 and 1999, the CEOs of Las Vegas took a look at the growing town and decided to change the look from family vacation place to luxury resort capital.  Hotels that were opened after this time reflect this attitude.  The Bellagio, Venetian, and Paris Las Vegas were all built to follow the trend.  Now they see other hotels are also making expansions.  The Luxor, Caesar's Palace, and Mandelay Bay have all added in another tower that has created hundreds of rooms for even more tourists to enjoy.

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