The mention of Vegas conjures up bright lights, 5-star resorts and cruising down The Strip. But what a lot of people don’t know is that when you’re cruising down The Strip and bypassing Caesars, The Venetian and The Mirage, you’re most likely in unincorporated Clark County and not within the Las Vegas city limits at all.
Fremont Street, on the other hand—Las Vegas’ first paved street—is within the city limits and it was here where Vegas’ got its reputation for world class gaming and entertainment. Golden Nugget, Fremont Hotel and Casino, and The Pioneer Club’s Vegas Vic are all icons of the street.
Now, you’re probably wondering how The Strip came about.
The Strip didn’t show signs of development until the early 1930s, with the opening of Pair-O-Dice Club. This was the first nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip (then called the Los Angeles-Arrowhead Highway) and its main attraction was gambling (before gambling was even legal in Nevada). It wasn’t until the 1940s, though, that The Strip saw a lot of change. The Last Frontier Hotel was built on and around the Pair-O-Dice property, the now-defunct El Rancho Vegas (now the location of MGM Resorts Festival Grounds) became a major player in entertainment and gambling, and the still-up-and-running Flamingo became the first luxury hotel on The Strip.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Vegas.
Now, if all this Sin City history has you wondering what life was like before your time, you’re in luck. Vintage Las Vegas is a 20th century photographic archive of the city, showcasing original slides, negatives and prints, as well as photos curated from the Las Vegas News Bureau, UNLV Digital Collection, LIFE Photo Archive, and others.
The collection can be searched by year or property name, too, so you can get a sense of what your fave LV resort looked like before you or even your parents were around.
Rachel Ruiz-Oakley is the Managing Editor of Slide Night.