Las Vegas is known as Sin City and almost every person on the planet understands the link between the city and gambling and nightlife. Whether it is from an actual visit, seeing Las Vegas in films, or documentaries, Las Vegas has played a part in many people’s lives, however long or short. What many people do not understand is the rich history of Las Vegas and why the city loves its history.

In the early 1900’s, Las Vegas became part of a railroad between Salt Lake City and Southern California. An Oasis in the middle of the desert, many travellers chose to stop in the Las Vegas valley on their journey and in the 1930’s, it really started to develop thanks to the construction of the Hoover Dam.

Workers entered the Las Vegas valley to work on the dam and as the majority of these were men, they demanded some form of entertainment in their free time. The Northern Club and Fremont Hotel were two of the first hotel casinos to be constructed and open their doors to the workers in Las Vegas. Showgirl theaters were also a major attraction and along with the influx of money came crime and mobsters who saw Las Vegas as the perfect place to conduct their business.

The growth of the big hotels and money that was being pumped into Las Vegas soon saw the arrival of some of the biggest stars in entertainment. Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra were two of the legends who started to perform all over the city and Las Vegas soon became known as the entertainment capital of the world.

Thankfully, in modern day Las Vegas, those in charge of the city are not mobsters and like to look after their residents and visitors. Indeed, the Nevada Gaming Commission recently approved a new self-exclusion program to help those with gambling issues. Las Vegas is looking to the future by implementing a self exclusion program and it should be in place soon. It is important to note that the program is for online casinos and those who sign-up will still be able to enter land based casinos in the city.

For those who want to delve further into the history of Las Vegas, a trip to the Neon Museum is a must. The museum was established in 1996 but admission to the public did not begin until 2012. Founded as a partnership between the Allied Arts Council of Southern Nevada and the City of Las Vegas, the museum is not-for-profit and inside you will find many signs from famous hotels and casinos that are no longer operating in Las Vegas.

In a collection known as the Neon Boneyard, you will discover over 200 unrestored neon signs and at night, these are lit with ground lighting. There are also restored neon signs in the museum and interestingly, a restored lobby shell from the defunct La Concha Motel acts as the visitor centre. The lobby was originally constructed in 1961 on Las Vegas Boulevard South and was saved from demolition in 2005.

There is plenty of history behind the development of Las Vegas as we know it today and it is a fantastic story.

For a city that is the most unlikely oasis of neon in the middle of the desert, it is a fascinating slice of American culture and a must visit for anyone visiting that part of the US.