Las Vegas History | From a Small Oasis to Entertainment Mecca

by VJ Team

Early Years of Las Vegas

The completion of the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railroad line in 1905 played a key role in the development of Las Vegas. Connecting California, Utah and Nevada, this major route sparked rapid growth in the American Southwest. The rail company that operated the lines sold just more than 100 acres in a real estate auction that had bids from local businessmen. Official incorporation of Las Vegas was done in 1911, just six years after the community was established. The city was integrated into the newly formed Clark County.

In the early 1930’s, the Hoover Dam project attracted a large population of temporary workers to the Las Vegas area. Funded by the federal government, this dam was built on the southern outskirts of Las Vegas. However, Boulder City was created specifically to accommodate workers involved in the construction and management of the facility.

The completion of the Hoover Dam greatly boosted the struggling economy of southern Nevada during the Great Depression. World War II broke out a few years after the dam opened. Situated just outside of the city, the Las Vegas Army Airfield was heavily used for training operations by the United States Air Force. Such military operations dominated the regional economy during the war.

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History of Gaming and Casinos

Nevada had a relatively weak economy in the early 20th century. In an effort to boost the economy and attract more visitors, the state government legalized gambling in the early 1930’s. Located in the downtown district, the Northern Club officially became the first venue in Las Vegas to receive a license for gambling operations. Standing on Fremont Street, this property was later renamed to the Turf Club, Monte Carlo Club, Coin Castle and La Bayou.

Also situated on this famous street, the Las Vegas Club was another casino that took advantage of the new legislation that legalized gambling. However, the regulated casinos quickly attracted elements of criminal activity. Some of America’s most infamous mobsters heavily invested into the growing gaming industry of the city. For example, the notorious Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were involved with some of the largest real estate deals in Las Vegas during World War II.

After the war, numerous other casinos popped up along the heavily commercialized Fremont Street. Still in business today, the historic Golden Nugget stands as one of the most recognized casinos in Las Vegas.

Built in 1946, the Flamingo Hotel was the most luxurious property on the relatively undeveloped Las Vegas Strip. By the 1950’s, real estate developers nationwide were interested in developing this piece of land just south of the downtown district. Featuring 1,600 guest rooms and more than 80,000 sq feet of casino space, the Sahara Hotel opened in 1952. The Tropicana and Flamingo Capri Motel are some other properties that lined the Strip in the 1950’s. Click for more on the history of Las Vegas.

Today, the Strip solidifies the city’s status as the gambling capital of the world. The MGM Grand, Venetian, Luxor and Caesars Palace are some of the famous properties in this part of Sin City.

Transportation History

Since World War II, McCarran International Airport has been renovated and expanded multiple times to accommodate the increased traffic into Las Vegas. Conveniently located near the Strip, this airport offers direct flights to more than 100 cities.

Opened in 1995, the Las Vegas Monorail was designed to facilitate movement on the busy Strip. This above-ground rail service stops near major resorts and landmarks. Some of the hotels are also directly connected to each other by pedestrian bridges above Las Vegas Boulevard. Additionally, the ARIA Express tram connects several properties on the southern tip of the Strip.

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National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada | 200+ Rare Models

by VJ Team

Located in Reno, Nevada, the National Automobile Museum displays classic cars that were originally part of William Harrah’s private collection. Some of the venue’s earliest models date back to the late 19th century. Vintage Ford, Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet cars are featured in the galleries. You’ll also see Jaguar, Rolls-Royce and other foreign vehicles in the permanent collection, which includes more than 200 models.

History

William Harrah built one of the America’s most successful casino empires in the 20th century. As one of Nevada’s top gaming moguls, the wealthy businessman spent a significant share of his fortune on classic automobiles. At the time of his passing in the late 1970’s, his private collection included more than 1,300 cars.

His casino enterprise was purchased by Holiday Inn shortly after. This company initially wanted to sell Harrah’s car collection to fund expansion in Nevada’s hospitality and casino markets. With some pressure from government leaders, business people and other concerned citizens, Holiday Inn retained some of the historic cars for public display. In 1989, the National Automobile Museum opened in the heart of Reno as one of the premier venues of its kind in the world. For decades, visitors have admired the impressive car collection of the legendary Bill Harrah.

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Collection and Other Features

The permanent collection at the National Automobile Museum includes vehicles that were owned by some of America’s most prominent entertainers. John Wayne’s 1953 Chevrolet Corvette 2934 Convertible and Frank Sinatra’s 1961 Ghia L.6.4. Hardtop are on display in the Celebrity Auto gallery. You’ll also see John F. Kennedy’s 1962 Lincoln Continental 86 Convertible and Elvis Presley’s 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Coupe.

Some of the classic vehicles at the museum also have ties to Hollywood films. For example, the 1912 Rambler 73-4CC Cross Country was featured in the award-winning Titanic movie that was released in 1997. The 1907 Thomas Flyer is another highlight in the museum’s collection. This model won the New York to Paris Auto Race of 1908, which included only six contestants.

The exhibits at the National Automobile Museum are split into several sections with chronological timelines. Gallery 1 displays vehicles from the 1890’s to the 1910’s. Gallery 2 features models from the 1910’s, 1920’s and 1930’s. You’ll see some of America’s most iconic cars from the WWII era at Gallery 3. Additionally, Gallery 4 includes cars that were produced after 1950. This specialty museum also owns vintage memorabilia relating to the auto industry.

Original gas pumps, billboards and decorative items with car themes are displayed throughout the common areas. Showing documentaries and other multimedia presentations, the theater is conveniently located near the museum’s main entrance. Some other venues that are accessible from the lobby area include an automotive shop, research library, gift store and the Nevada Space Center.

Location and Directions

The National Automobile Museum has a prime location in downtown Reno, Nevada. Standing on the southern banks of the Truckee River, this attraction is easily accessible by car and public transportation. Parking is available near the intersection of Museum Drive and Mill Street.

Bus routes 9 and 14 of the RTC of Washoe County also stop on Mill Street. Some other bus services that serve the area near the museum include the 1, 19 and SS lines. Located only a few blocks north of the museum, Reno Station is served by the Amtrak California Zephyr, which runs through multiple states. The attraction is also within walking distance of hotels and other venues in the city’s vibrant Riverwalk District and Midtown.

Click to visit the National Automobile Museum official website.

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The Fremont Street Experience

by VJ Team

While the majority of the action in Las Vegas occurs on the Strip, the rest is happening at the Fremont Street Experience. This downtown area is considered Old Vegas because it is here that most of the major players in town got their start. The Fremont Street Experience is five square blocks of outdoor shopping, restaurants, and attractions. It’s located on Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and Main Street. You’ll know you’ve reached it once you see a barrel vault canopy that’s four blocks long. What makes the Fremont Street Experience a true attraction for visitors is the collection of events that happen all year-round.

Attractions

One of the main attractions is the Viva Vision LED display. It’s considered a must-visit for tourists new to the area. It’s a huge LED display that features a high-tech light shows ran through the Viva Vision Screen. The screen has a 550,000-watt speaker and features over 12.5 million LED lights. The next big draw is the SlotZilla zip line which offers an outdoor ride that can be fun for the whole family. This slot machine-inspired zip line attraction stretches two different routes that range between 77 and 114 feet. Guests will be able to look down on the Fremont Street Experience from above as they fly through the air. Lastly, we suggest heading to the Neon Museum. It’s a non-profit museum that collects and preserves pieces of local history, for educational, historical, arts and cultural enrichment. There are guided tours, photo shoots and event bookings available, and guests should set aside at least two hours to enjoy everything on display.

Dining

The Fremont Street Experience features various places to dine out that are suitable for different needs and price points. The Triple 7 Restaurant & Microbrewery, located on North Main Street in the Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel, is one of the most popular semi-casual dining options. It offers high-end craft beers and easy-to-eat comfort food set within a microbrewery layout. Higher end diners will want to take a trip to the Redwood Steakhouse right down the street in the California Hotel & Casino. The Redwood Steakhouse is closed on Wednesday and Thursday but otherwise offers some of the finest steak dishes in the neighborhood. Finally, the California Noodle House is a popular destination for casual eaters who want high quality Asian fusion food on a budget, especially for their Korean tacos.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.