Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6

Thirteen Things about Las Vegas

13 Things About Vegas, Baby.

1. In 1829, Rafael Rivera discovers a valley of wild grasses and abundant water. The Spanish had named the valley “Las Vegas”, which means “the meadows”. Prior to that, the Anasazi and Pauite people explored the area.

2. John C. Fremont parks himself in Las Vegas in 1844 and starts a 19th century blog, which is very popular and yanks more folks into the area. They are particularly fond of the springs.

3. Other stuff happens between 1845 and 1863, like the Mormons staking a claim and building a fort, parts of which can still be seen at Las Vegas Blvd and Washington Ave. Then, in 1864 even though Lincoln is busy with a little skirmish called the Civil War, Nevada becomes the 36th state.

4. In 1885, land is going for $1.25 per acre in and around Vegas, which wouldn’t get you a square millimeter in 2007. Mining and farming are the main money makers. Gambling and prostitution are probably going on, but organizing them hasn’t crossed anyone’s mind yet.

5. In the early 1900’s, with the completion of the railway, Las Vegas becomes a popular railroad stop. On May 15, 1905, under a sunny sky and temps probably into the high 90’s (yeah, but it's DRY heat), Vegas specifically becomes a “city” of 110 acres. Six years later, the population is 800.

6. Also in 1911, Nevada has the foresight to realize that California will soon be filled with actors and actresses and liberalizes divorce laws, creating the “quickie divorce” after 6 weeks of residency. Hundreds flock in and stay at short term residences which are the forerunners of the strip hotels.

7. Apparently, a lot of divorcees stick around, remarry and have more kids because in 1930, the population of Vegas reaches 5,165.

8. Hoover Dam construction begins in 1931 and with it, hundreds of construction workers flood in. Trying to follow up their ground breaking “quickie divorce” law, the state legislature comes up with a biggie: legalized gambling. Within 8 years, the population grows to 8,422.

9. The Official History of Las Vegas does not acknowledge the contribution of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, who was originally sent out west by the mafia to establish a “land wire” for gambling. He realized the value of “quickie divorces” and “legalized gambling” and got the mob to finance a hotel. Bugsy, while a dapper guy, was no business man, and the 1 million dollar budget for the hotel ballooned to 6 million. The whole venture of building the Flamingo seemed more trouble than it was worth to the NY mob heads, especially when it floundered after opening on 12/26/1946. Bugsy was floundered soon afterwards, after being shot through the head while reading a newspaper in the livingroom in June, 1947. The Flamingo had been reopened and was making a profit 3 months before his untimely demise.

10. More fun stuff happens and the phrase: “What Happens in Vegas, Maybe Will, Maybe Won’t Stay in Vegas” occurs to some when the first atomic bomb is detonated north of the city. Playing with bad nuclear things goes on from 1951-1962.

11. Funny, but there is no mention in the Official History of Las Vegas when those frisky law makers came up with legalized prostitution.

12. In 1960, the population of Las Vegas grows to 64,405 and those original 110 acres become 25 square miles. Howard Hughes gets involved and starts a building boom of hotels and casinos which continues through the millenium. The '60's are also famous for the introduction of the Rat Pack, and Frank Sinatra insisting that Sammy Davis, Jr. be treated with the same respect by hotel management as he and Dean-o were.

13. And where else to end but here: In 1969, Elvis Presley opens at the International Hotel --- now known as the Las Vegas Hilton and home to a 20 story high mural of Barry Manilow.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Tink said...

I don't like gambling, but I'd love to visit Vegas!
My TT has 13 things about BED.

pussreboots said...

My great grandfather was a turbine engineer on the Hoover Dam project. Happy TT and thanks for stopping by.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Neat stuff, Lara!!! I didn't know a lot of this, and what I thought I knew, I was wrong about.

Thanks for setting me straight. One day, maybe, I'll get out to Vegas. One day.

impworks said...

Great list, very interesting and not a single mention of CSI :-)

Suprina said...

Great List.
I have never been to Vegas, don't really have the want too to go.
However, my mom, sister, step-father, and brother in law, and husband have all been.

Happy TT!

Nicholas said...

Great list! I didn't know any of that EXCEPT the contribution made by Bugsy Siegel and the mob. I can't imagine why the official history leaves that out!

Natalie said...

I just learned so much about Las Vegas. Happy TT!

Jenny McB said...

I didn't know about the nuclear stuff...Great pictures to go along with it.

I may invite myself along for a business trip with my husband in October, now I just have to get some money to gamble!

Anonymous said...

You always were fascinated by Moe Green. OOPS! I mean Benjamin Seagal. So I'm glad to see you give me his props on your blog. But you left out the most important thing about Las Vegas. It was and is home to my beloved, future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who played high school basketball and baseball there and lives in Vegas with his lovely family during the off-season.


Harlekwin said...

Did you find slot machines in some of the strangest places? This was a fascinating read.

Happy TT!

Nancy said...

That was fun. We went there once. It is a fun place to visit.

Jill said...

viva Las Vegas!! Because I think it might be the only place I would go to gamble!!

Nicole said...

Heh, that's a fun TT! I've been to Vegas a time or three, and it's always quite amusing to see someone else's take on it.

Shelby said...

great Vegas list.. never been there :)

Devilish Southern Belle said...

Very fascinating!

WendyWings said...

You forgot the most important thing what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
I saw Barry at the Emmys last year, everyone around me was crying when he did the American bandstand tribute,my husband was looking at me like WTH hahahah.
Have a happy TT day.

Anonymous said...

I will get there one day! And thanks for the link - you are swell!


Anonymous said...

11. Funny, but there is no mention in the Official History of Las Vegas when those frisky law makers came up with legalized prostitution.

Your comment is a common myth of non-locals: There isn't legalized prostitution in Las Vegas.

Check this out:

BTW: Great list but from a local to potential visitors: Don't bring your kids when you visit.

colleen said...

How did he start a 19th century blog? I've never been to Las Vegas. I have no big pull to it.

Samara Leigh said...

I've been dying to go to Vegas. I'm not a gambler, but I'd love to see all of the fabulous casinos and a couple of the Cirque du Soleil shows including Ka and O.

Emmyrose said...

I'd like to go there too someday. Great TT!

Thanks for dropping by :)