In 1900, the population of Las Vegas was 22 people. Today, more than 39 million people visit the gambling center of America. All of this was thanks to the building of the Hoover Dam, which opened the floodgates of workers and visitors to the desert. In 1931, Nevada also made the pivotal decision to legalize gambling.
What happened over the next forty years was an explosion of casinos and culture that turned Las Vegas from a sleepy frontier town into Sin City. Read on and learn how Vegas went from a desert village to a resort city in just thirty years, and check out some incredible vintage photos from Las Vegas’s early days.
Gambling Was Outlawed For Years But People Still Did It
The city of Las Vegas was founded in 1905 as a frontier town and was simply a halfway point between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. At the time, the city followed the Nevada state laws that said betting and gambling was criminal, but there was still a strong underground gambling movement.
It wasn’t until 1931 when the state made gambling legal that business began booming. Despite the rest of the country being engulfed by the Great Depression, Las Vegas boomed thanks to the construction of the Hoover Dam.