Last week, I shared photos of The Strip taken during the day, and it took me by surprise to learn that many of you haven’t seen that much photos of Las Vegas in the daytime, so I’m glad to have given you a glimpse of the Sin City in broad daylight. Your comments made me all the happier because I wasn’t sure if those photos were even worth sharing, especially when I shot most of them from a not-so-favorable situation (while moving or stopped in traffic), so thank you for the warm reception!😬
I know all-things-Vegas dominate my blog and Instagram page these days, but I hope you’re not sick of them just yet because I’m here to talk one more thing about The Strip that you may or may not have already heard (I swear this is the last time). Did you know that The Strip we know today isn’t the original mecca of high-rolling gamblers? If you did, then good for you! I, for sure, didn’t know this until Roan told me in passing that a certain Old Las Vegas Strip exists. Wait, what? Let’s go back a bit in history, shall we?
Old Town Las Vegas / Downtown Las Vegas
Since the dawn of time, prophets and warriors have gone to the desert in search of visions. There is ancient magic in the arid isolation that seems to make the most outrageous visions come to life—enter Las Vegas.
Millions and millions of people visit every year for a taste of its intoxicating blend of high-stakes, pop culture, and big entertainment. Las Vegas is the world’s largest amusement park, a glittering celebration of America’s pioneering personality and the reckless pleasure of putting all your hopes and dreams on one roll of a dice, taking that tumbling ride wherever it leads.
It all began in Old Town Las Vegas, also Downtown Las Vegas, which is now more commonly known as The Fremont Street Experience, just less than 10 miles north of the present-day Strip.
The railroad actually created Las Vegas. Las Vegas was important as a stop on a transportation route because it had water and because it was strategically located between Salt Lake and the Pacific Coast. In the summer of 1905, the railroad held an auction right at the head of present-day Fremont Street and laid out a very small town-side of just 40 square blocks. This was supposed to be a sober, industrious working-class community to support the railroad, very different from the present image of Las Vegas obviously.
What they did was limit the sale of alcoholic beverages to just one to two blocks in town, but there was an escape clause that a hotel could also sell intoxicating beverages, so every little saloon along Fremont Street, which was the main thoroughfare then added a couple of rooms in the back or upstairs. From that point, Fremont Street developed as the saloon district. Gambling became legal in 1931, but nobody really paid a whole lot of attention to it because construction of what was then called Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam). That was what first caused the population to explode in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
There you have it—a brief history of how the fabulous Las Vegas came about. We visited Fremont Street during the day, but it absolutely looks even more spectacular with all the neon lights at night. There are free concert stages on either side of the strip for on-lookers to enjoy. Who said you have to gamble while in Vegas?