Neon sign at the Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Digital image produced by Carol M. Highsmith to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images.
Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.
Credit line: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2011; (DLC/PP-2011:124).
Forms part of the Selects Series in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive.
The name Las Vegas was given to the area in 1829 by a Mexican scout named Richard, a member of the Antonio Armijo trading party that was traveling to Los Angeles, and stopped for water there. At that time, several parts of the valley contained artesian wells surrounded by extensive green areas. Las Vegas means the meadows in Spanish. On May 15, 1905, Las Vegas officially was founded as a city, when 110 acres (45 ha), in what would later become downtown, were auctioned to ready buyers. On July 3, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the appropriation bill for the Boulder Dam later renamed the Hoover Dam. Work started and Las Vegas' population swelled to 25,000, with most of the newcomers, mostly males, working on building the dam. It created a market for large scale entertainment. A combination of local Las Vegas business owners, Mormon financiers, and Mafia crime lords helped develop the casinos and showgirl theaters to entertain the largely male dam construction workers.