Las Vegas is often used to describe the Las Vegas Metro area, but in fact the City of Las Vegas is only about 25% of the population base. Founded in 1905 and incorporated in 1911, the city can trace it roots to being a watering stop for the Los Angeles to Salt Lake City railroads. Although in the middle of the desert, eons of rain and snow in the area mountains have drained into the water shed and actually created shallow sourced water – critical for the operation of steam trains.
The city received a boost when then then Boulder Dam, now Hoover Dam was being built. Supplies for the dam were routed thru Las Vegas and it was the destination for recreation for builders when they got a well deserved but seldom available day off.
Las Vegas serves as the leading financial, commercial and cultural center for the State of Nevada. The mega resort casinos provide enormous employment and tax revenue base for the state. Downtown Las Vegas was the original gambling district. Several years back, the down town area was, well basically, pretty tired and worn out. However a combined effort by the city leaders and local businesses, and they started to revitalize the area. The closing of Fremont Street to auto traffic, building the doom over it and turning it in to a county fair like pathway was a major boost. It allows guests at one property to move safely and easily among to other casinos. The addition of other entertainment venues and the attraction of small boutique shops makes Fremont Street a destination of its own.
Already a gambling destination, the option of Bugsy Siegel to buy land outside the city and build the Flamingo Casino and Hotel started to make Las Vegas a destination for Southern California tourists. Bugsy booked 1st class entertainment and no longer was it just about gambling and cheap drinks – it was now an experience.