The Mob did not create Las Vegas. That credit goes to railroad builder William Clark, who created the original townsite in 1905 at the halfway point of his rail route between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. Clark sold lots, and a town sprouted up beside the tracks. A red-light district, called Block 16, provided prostitution and gambling for the miners who came to town after long, hot months digging in the desert. The construction of Hoover Dam and Nevada’s legalization of gambling, both in 1931, spurred Las Vegas growth. The first casinos, sporting neon signs, lined Fremont Street, creating what came to be known as Glitter Gulch.
This federal Bureau of Reclamation I.D. tag was used while building Hoover Dam between 1931 and 1936.
Early Las Vegas businesses, including The Gem, Arizona Club, Gem Lunch Counter and Red Onion Club Saloon. Courtesy of the Helen J. Stewart Collection. UNLV University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.