Historic Landmarks in Las Vegas

Gambling casinos, lavish acts and spectacular shows are the things that first come to mind when thinking about a trip to Las Vegas. However, there are enough landmarks and historical sites to keep a history buff or sight seer interested for days. For newer architectural views, the casinos have quite a few extraordinary offerings in a town that seems to try to reinvent itself every couple of years.

Old Mormon Fort is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. Located on East Washington Avenue in downtown Las Vegas, this adobe fort was built by Mormon missionaries, the first non-native settlers to remain in the area. Check with the website to ascertain a list of events running throughout each summer. The fort is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.

Fifth Street School or the Las Vegas Grammar School was originally opened in 1936. The mission style building will be reopened September 2008 with festivities planned. There will be memorabilia and pictures of the location when it was a working school. When the school reopens it’s doors cultural and architectural organizations will be housed there.

Las Vegas Historic Hotel, established in 1906, is now a casino and hotel. It’s located on Fremont Street where the locations is an event in it self with street performers, free concerts and special events. The hotel makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the Roaring 20s. Try their traditional shrimp cocktail, first served in 1959.

Railroad Cottages, built between 1900 and 1912, 12 of them were moved to the Clark County Museum in 2002. They were originally constructed by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroads. Used by railroad workers, these bungalows are on the list of national historic buildings.

Hoover Dam, located in Black Canyon, just 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, opened in 1936. The original name was dubbed Bounder Dam and was the tallest dam in the world. It now takes 11th place with Rogun Dam in Tajikistan in first place. The Discovery Tour is offered to visitors which is a self-lead tour with guides at various locations to give further information. During the summer months the temperature can rise in this area. Therefore, it is best to make plans to visit first thing in the morning.

El Cortez Hotel and Casino on Freemont Street was once owned by Bugsy Siegel and partners. However, it was sold in the 40’s to purchase the Flamingo Hotel. It is one of the few Las Vegas casinos to have kept it’s original exterior along with its signs which has a ranch-style theme. The interior, however, has been renovated several times.

Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino, although currently closed, is the landmark of the first interracial casino in Las Vegas. Back in 50’s such notables as Frank Sinatra with his Rat Pack, Maurice and Gregory Hines as well as the Platters were quite often seen there. Many have attempted to refurbish and reopen the Moulin Rouge. In fact, it was just about to reopen 2003 the casino section was destroyed by a fire. Viewing the 1940s hotel façade is worth the trip.

Clark County Heritage Museum begins in Anna Roberts Park Exhibit Hall displaying a timetable, of Nevada, from prehistoric times to the present. There are interactive exhibits that allow visitors to handle such items as chamber pots, butter molds, branding irons and fossils. Indigenous plants grow outside the museum as part of the Mohave Desert Outdoor Classroom. As you take a stroll down winding paths, the plants are marked. Next, there is a 1918 steam switch engine that was once used to pull passenger and freight cars. The most unique part of this museum is Heritage Street. It contains eight historic buildings that have been brought there from all over southern Nevada and restored to their original likeness. They are filled with furnishings and décor of their times.

The Spring Preserve is a hands-on cultural and historical learning attraction about Las Vegas history and eco-system. Located 3 miles from downtown Las Vegas, you can follow outdoor paths displaying archeological sites and historical buildings. Experience the realization of a flash flood in a special exhibit. View live showcases of gray foxes and tarantulas. In one of the interactive exhibits, adults and children alike may dig for fossils.

Liberace Museum contains all things Liberace. The famous entertainer left behind for all to view and enjoy his classic cars, pianos, private papers, wardrobe and memorabilia. Included in the location are the museum store and café. The museum occupies two separate buildings decorated with piano keys and lit up pink piano on the outside. A guided tour is included in the admission price of $15, children under 10 are free.
Creative Commons License photo credit: holgabot*

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