About ten thousand years after some nomadic Paleo-Indians arrived in Las Vegas and left behind some petroglyphs, Las Vegas was founded as a city in 1905. 110 acres of land next to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks were auctioned in what would become the downtown area. The name Las Vegas is Spanish for ‘the Meadows’.
In 1931 casino gambling was legalised just as the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam was taking place enabling Las Vegas to avoid much of the Great Depression. Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos, and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Las Vegas. The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.
The Guardian report from February 1951:
An Atomic explosion in Nevada this morning (February 2 1951) by general agreement of distant observers the most violent of the four set off this week – shook Las Vegas 40 t0 70 miles away, like an earthquake. Buildings were rocked and the place glass window of a store was shattered. The flash, at first white, then orange and then finally yellow was seen further away than any of its predecessors.