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We all love Sin City (well, it’s a love/hate relationship mostly – our heart and soul LOVES Vegas; our liver and bank account despise it), but it wasn’t always a glittering paradise in the middle of nowhere.
Vegas has a sordid history, from a Mormon-funded desert town to a beacon of organized crime. Starting out as a small railroad town, this desert oasis transformed from a major crime hub with gambling and parties to, well … actually that still seems to be the case.
Las Vegas means “the meadows.” Shocked? We were too. We don’t see any meadows in Vegas besides the huge golf courses that have sprung up all over the place. Sure – it’s a watering hole, but we’re pretty sure green grass doesn’t grow from vodka tonics. Surprisingly enough, the Las Vegas valley was so named in the 1800s when it was discovered in the middle of a barren desert. Mormon missionaries decided it was the ideal location to link Salt Lake City and Southern California via railroad, so this little town became a mecca for railroad workers and agriculture in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that it really started to boom.
In 1930, under the direction of President Hoover, construction of the Hoover Dam had begun. With this, an influx of workers flooded little Las Vegas Valley and, since most of these workers were dirty, smelly, men, the demand for entertainment was only natural. Up popped showgirl theatres and hotel casinos…
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