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Las Vegas History

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History

  • 1829
    Discovered by Spanish explorers.
  • 1855
    First settlement by Mormons in Las Vegas.
  • 1905
    Town of Las Vegas established by auctioning of land.
  • 1905
    The First United Methodist Church of Las Vegas formed. The original members bought the land at 3rd & Bridger that the church sits on today in the original property auction.
  • 1911
    The city of Las Vegas is incorporated.
  • 1926
    First commercial airline flight, Western Airlines.
  • 1931
    Hoover Dam construction begins in Black Canyon.
  • 1931
    Gambling legalized in Nevada.
  • 1935
    Hoover Dam dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt.
  • 1940
    Clark County population 16,414 (Las Vegas-8,422).
  • 1941
    El Rancho Vegas opens on the Strip, destroyed by fire 19 years later.
  • 1941
    El Cortez Hotel opens downtown.
  • 1942
    Last Frontier Hotel opens. (Later called New Frontier and Frontier.)
  • 1944
    The first Helldorado parade and rodeo is conducted.
  • 1946
    Bugsy Siegel opens Flamingo Hotel. State levies first gaming taxes.
  • 1950
    Clark County population 48,289. (Las Vegas-24,624).
  • 1955
    Gaming control strengthened. Gaming Control Board created within the Nevada Tax Commission by the Legislature.
  • 1959
    Las Vegas Convention Center opens. The Nevada Gaming Commission is created by the Legislature.
  • 1960
    Clark County population 127,016. (Las Vegas-64,405).
  • 1966
    Howard Hughes arrives to live at Desert Inn.
  • 1967
    Nevada legislature passes a law allowing publicly traded corporations to obtain gambling licenses. The law is refined in 1969.
  • 1967
    First community college, Great Basin College, in Nevada opened in Elko.
  • 1970
    Clark County population 273,288 (Las Vegas-125,787).
  • 1975
    Nevada gaming revenues first crack $1 billion mark.
  • 1980
    Clark County population hits 463,087 (Las Vegas- 164,674) as Las Vegas celebrates 75th birthday.
  • 1981
    Las Vegas celebrates Golden Anniversary of Gaming.
  • 1985
    First National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas.
  • 1989
    Mirage opens Nov. 22, with 3,039 rooms.
  • 1990
    Clark County population 741,459 (Las Vegas-258,295)
  • 1990
    Excalibur opens June 19, to date the world's largest resort hotel with 4,032 rooms.
  • 1991
    Ground broken on MGM Grand Hotel and Theme Park; Treasure Island Hotel, and pyramid-shaped Luxor.
  • 1991
    The Las Vegas Online Entertainment Guide goes online as a dial-up BBS system.
  • 1992
    First Las Vegas Bowl held at Silver Bowl.
  • 1993
    MGM Grand Hotel and Theme Park tops off. Flamingo Hilton announces plans to raze Bugsy suite and office.
  • 1993
    Dunes Hotel sold to Steve Wynn's Mirage Inc.; the north tower and Dunes sign imploded Oct. 27.
  • 1993
    Money won by Nevada casinos tops the $6 billion mark for the first time.
  • 1993
    Grand Slam Canyon Adventuredome opens Aug. 23.
  • 1993
    Luxor Hotel opens Oct. 15 with 2,526 rooms.
  • 1993
    Treasure Island Hotel opens Oct. 26 with 2,900 rooms.
  • 1993
    MGM Grand Hotel and Theme Park opens Dec. 18, with 5,005 rooms and a 171,500-square-foot casino; to date the largest resort hotel-casino in the world.
  • 1993
    The Nevada Legislature passes enabling legislation for development of The Fremont Street Experience.
  • 1994
    Mirage Resorts Inc. and Gold Strike announce plans to jointly construct Monte Carlo, a mega-resort north of the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and the Strip. The resort will have a Victorian theme.
  • 1994
    Plans to construct New York-New York Hotel Casino at the intersection of the Strip and Tropicana Avenue announced by MGM Grand and Primadonna Resorts.
  • 1994
    Work begins on Fremont Street Experience. Downtown Fremont Street is permanently closed to automobile traffic on Sept. 7, 1994.
  • 1994
    Sam's Town on Boulder Highway expands with the opening of a 650-room tower and lush, plant-filled atrium.
  • 1994
    Boomtown opens a 300-room hotel-casino on Blue Diamond Road.
  • 1994
    The first non-stop, regularly scheduled charter service from Europe begins with weekly flights by Condor from Cologne, Germany.
  • 1994
    Four skywalks are built over the intersection of Tropicana Boulevard and the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1994
    The Fiesta, the first hotel-casino in North Las Vegas, opens with 100 rooms.
  • 1995
    Vegas World closes its doors Feb. 1 for work on a casino complex at the base of the Stratosphere Tower.
  • 1995
    Clark County population for the first time is estimated at more than 1 million residents.
  • 1995
    The first Hard Rock Hotel opens March 10.
  • 1995
    $25 million monorail begins running between MGM Grand and Bally's hotel-casinos on June 14.
  • 1995
    Bally Entertainment Corp. announces it will build Paris Casino Resort, a $420 million hotel, on 25 acres adjacent to Bally's Las Vegas on the Strip.
  • 1995
    Texas Gambling Hall & Hotel opens next door to the Fiesta on Rancho Road in North Las Vegas.
  • 1995
    $25 million monorail begins running between MGM Grand and Bally's hotel-casinos on June 14.
  • 1995
    Circus Circus Enterprises buys Hacienda and surrounding 100 acres.
  • 1995
    The face of downtown Las Vegas changes forever with the Dec. 13 opening of the $70 million Fremont Street Experience.
  • 1995
    Las Vegas reported a 29 million visitor volume for the year. Statewide gross gaming revenue surpasses $7.3 billion. Clark County produced $5.7 billion of the state's gaming revenue total.
  • 1995
    Landmark Hotel imploded Nov. 7.
  • 1996
    Ground breaking ceremonies for Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience held on Jan. 24.
  • 1996
    The $13 million Las Vegas Strip beautification project, in which 76,000 palms, shrubs, flowering foliage and ground covers were planted, was finished in March. It was started in May 1995.
  • 1996
    Wayne Newton celebrates 25,000th Las Vegas performance. Siegfried and Roy celebrate 15,000th Las Vegas performance.
  • 1996
    Work is completed on the Desert Inn Road arterial, creating the first tunnel under the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1996
    Stratosphere Tower, the tallest free-standing observation tower in the U.S. and the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, opens April 30, only to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy nine months later (Jan 27, 1997). It continues to operate.
  • 1996
    Hilton Hotels Corp. purchases Bally's Entertainment Corp., parent company of Bally's Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip for $3 billion.
  • 1996
    Caesars Magical Empire, a multimillion dollar dining and entertainment complex opens in Caesars Palace June 18.
  • 1996
    Monte Carlo, a joint venture between Circus Circus Enterprises Inc. and Mirage Resorts Inc. opens June 21.
  • 1996
    The $72 million, 1,100-acre Las Vegas Speedway park with tracks for drag, stock car and formula car races to open September 1996.
  • 1996
    Clark County Commission grants building permits for the $500 million, 2,900-room Paris Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1996
    Hyatt Hotel Corp. announces plans to build a 500-room hotel on the shores of Lake Las Vegas
  • 1996
    Circus Circus Enterprises announces a joint venture with Four Seasons Regent to build a 400-room, five star non-gaming hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1996
    The Sands Hotel, after 44 years of continuous operation, is closed June 30 by owner Sheldon Adelson who announces plans to build a 6,000-room megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip site. Sands tower imploded Nov. 26.
  • 1996
    Flamingo Hilton celebrates 50th anniversary. Caesars Palace celebrates 30th anniversary.
  • 1996
    State Line, NV, at the Southern Nevada-California border, is renamed Primm in honor of the community's founder Ernest Primm.
  • 1996
    Ground breaking held for 3,000-room Planet Hollywood Hotel Casino adjacent to The Desert Inn at Sands Avenue and the Las Vegas Strip. Construction on the joint venture between ITT Corp. and Planet Hollywood was never started.
  • 1996
    Circus Circus implodes Hacienda Hotel Casino Dec. 31 to make way for megaresort.
  • 1996
    29.6 million people visit Las Vegas in 1996; state gross gaming revenue totals $7.45 billion, and Clark County population hits 1.1 million.
  • 1997
    The Tropicana Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • 1997
    New York-New York Hotel Casino opens on the Las Vegas Strip Jan 3. More than 100,000 people a day visited the new resort during the casinos first days in operation.
  • 1997
    Hilton Hotels Corp. makes a $10.5 billion hostile take-over move on Jan. 28 against ITT Corp. which resists the bid. ITT shareholders reject Hilton take-over in favor of a more lucrative offer by Starwood Lodging. The deal involves ownership of Caesars Place and The Desert Inn on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1997
    The 6,945-yard, par 71 Lakes Course opens Feb. 7, the first golf course located in Primm, NV.
  • 1997
    Sheldon Adelson breaks ground in April to build a 6,000-room, $1.8 billion Venetian theme resort on the grounds of the original Sands Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1997
    Steve Wynn, builder of Las Vegas Strip megaresorts, calls for a slow approach to future expansion in Las Vegas.
  • 1997
    The U.S. Air Force celebrates its 50th anniversary in an unequaled display of aviation military might attended by 80 foreign, high-ranking NATO and Pacific Air Command officials, and 300,000 spectators.
  • 1997
    Sue Henley, a Las Vegas construction inspector, wins $12,510,549 on a Megabucks slot machine April 14 in New York-New York Hotel/Casino. It is the largest slot machine jackpot in history to date.
  • 1997
    Coca Cola Co. opens its World of Coca Cola store in the Showcase Mall marked by a 100-foot-tall glass Coca Cola bottle.
  • 1997
    The first non-stop scheduled commercial flight from Frankfurt-Mein International Airport in Germany lands May 7 with 215 passengers at McCarran International Airport.
  • 1997
    Sunset Station Hotel-Casino opens June 10.
  • 1997
    Players Island Resort Hotel and Spa in Mesquite purchased by Virgin River Casino and renamed CasaBlanca on July 1.
  • 1997
    The Forum Shops at Caesars on Aug. 29 opened 35 new shops, stores and restaurants in a 276,000-square-foot expansion. The growth doubled the size of the upscale shopping mall adjacent to Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1997
    The Aladdin Hotel closed on the Las Vegas Strip Nov. 25 making way for a $1.2 billion gambling and hotel complex. Plans call for development of a Middle East-theme shopping center, a 2,600-room hotel as well as a joint venture with Planet Hollywood Inc. for development of a neighboring $250 million, 2,000-room music-theme resort.
  • 1997
    The Desert Inn Hotel Casino completes $200 million renovation and expansion.
  • 1997
    Owners change the name of the Boomtown Hotel Casino to Silverton after Majestic Realty Co. took control of the struggling resort from Boomtown Inc.
  • 1997
    Harley Davidson Cafe opens on the Las Vegas Strip, continuing the theme restaurant proliferation.
  • 1997
    Caesars Palace opens new tower in December.
  • 1997
    Harrah's Entertainment Inc. buys Showboat Inc. in a $1.154 billion deal.
  • 1997
    The Frontier Hotel, owned by the Elardi family, is sold to Phil Ruffin, a Kansas industrialist, for $165 million.
  • 1997
    Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino opens Masquerade Village and new 41-story, 1,025-room tower giving the resort a total of 2,556 suites.
  • 1997
    Alan Paulson, California entrepreneur, buys the Gold River Casino/Hotel in Laughlin.
  • 1998
    Star Trek: The Experience opens Jan. 4 at the Las Vegas Hilton.
  • 1998
    Ameristar Casinos, Inc. opens The Reserve Hotel Casino on Feb. 10
  • 1998
    Circus Circus officials announce that Mandalay Bay will be the name of the company's new resort at the Strip and Russell Road. The hotel's working name was Project Paradise.
  • 1998
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts buys ITT Corp. for $14.6 billion. The purchase includes acquisition of Caesars Palace and The Desert Inn hotel/casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • 1998
    Eagle Canyon Airlines buys Las Vegas-based Scenic Airlines.
  • 1998
    The Aladdin Hotel is imploded on April 27.
  • 1998
    Northwest Airlines inaugurates non-stop service June 1 from Tokyo to Las Vegas.
  • 1998
    Japan Airlines inaugurates non-stop service October 2 from Tokyo to Las Vegas.
  • 1998
    Koren Airlines makes history in August with three non-stop charter flights from Seoul, Korea, to Las Vegas.
  • 1998
    Country Star restaurant on the Strip is acquired by Mirage Resorts Inc. and closes.
  • 1998
    Bellagio, billed as the most expensive hotel in the world ($1.7 billion) opens October 15 on the Las Vegas Strip and initiates a policy barring persons under 18 years of age who are not registered guests of the hotel.
  • 1998
    Las Vegas Convention Center opens an expansion, boosting its total space to 1.9 million square feet.
  • 1998
    The Debbie Reynolds hotel-casino, a half block east of the Las Vegas Strip on Convention Center Drive, is sold at public auction August 5 to the World Wresting Federation for $9.27 million.
  • 1998
    The Las Vegas Motor Speedway is sold in December by founders Bill Bennett and Ralph Englestad to North Carolina-based Speedway Motorsports Inc., headed by O. Bruton Smith, for $215 million.
  • 1998
    Proposition 5 is passed by California voters in November, opening the door for casino-style gambling on American Indian reservations.
  • 1998
    A 66-year-old Las Vegas resident hits a $27.58 million progressive Megabucks jackpot November 15 at the Palace Station Hotel Casino.
  • 1998
    The D gates open at McCarran International Airport.
  • 1998
    Annual gross gaming revenue in Nevada hits the $8.1 billion mark.
  • 1998
    Annual number of visitors to Las Vegas totals 30.6 million people.
  • 1998
    Hilton Hotels Corp. spins off its gaming division to Park Place Entertainment Corp., including the Las Vegas Hilton, Flamingo Hilton, Bally's and soon to open Paris Las Vegas on the Strip, December 31.
  • 1999
    Harrah's Entertainment Inc. purchases the Rio Hotel-Casino Inc. for $888 million, Jan. 1.
  • 1999
    Mandalay Bay Resort opens March 2 with 3,300 rooms.
  • 1999
    Four Seasons Hotel opens March 2 with 424 rooms
  • 1999
    Japan Airlines adds a fourth nonstop flight per week in April from Tokyo to Las Vegas.
  • 1999
    The Las Vegas Convention Center celebrates its 40th birthday.
  • 1999
    Circus Circus Enterprises changes its name to Mandalay Resort Group.
  • 1999
    Paris Las Vegas Casino Resort opens September 1, 1999
  • 1999
    Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Tina Turner, Wayne Newton and Don Rickles are among the many entertainers booked by Las Vegas resorts to ring in the new century.
  • 2000
    El Rancho (formally the Thunderbird, then the Silverbird) is imploded on October 3.

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