Downtown Las Vegas: A Historical Perspective
Long before Bugsy Seigel envisioned the Flamingo Hotel/Casino and long
before the Las Vegas Strip was populated by pirates, volcanoes, castles or
pyramids, there was downtown Las Vegas.
Since the city was first established in 1905, downtown Las Vegas--Fremont
Street, in particular--has been an integral part of the community and in the
gaming industry's forefront.
Fremont Street has been the site of numerous "firsts" in Las Vegas: the first
street to be paved (1925); the first traffic light; the first elevator (the Apache
Hotel in 1932); and the first high-rise (the Fremont Hotel in 1956). When
gaming was legalized in 1931, the first Nevada gaming license was issued to
the Northern Club at 15 E. Fremont Street. Meanwhile, the Horseshoe was
the first casino to install carpeting while the Golden Nugget was the first
structure designed from the ground up to be a casino.
"By the time the El Rancho opened as the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip
in 1941, downtown Las Vegas had 36 years of history," said Donald D. Snyder,
president of The Fremont Street Experience Limited Liability Company. "The
Fremont Street Experience, the next phase of the street's evolution, is being
designed to help revitalize Downtown Las Vegas and return this part of the
community to a place of prominence in the gaming industry."
In the 1940s the emergence of neon began to transform a drab Fremont Street
into Glitter Gulch. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce unveiled Vegas Vic
--an icon for Fremont Street--in 1947, and Wayne Newton opened at the
Fremont Hotel/Casino in 1956.
The Fremont Street Experience, the cornerstone for the comprehensive
redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas, is a private/public partnership
between The Fremont Street Experience Company--owned by the collection
of downtown casino operators--and the City of Las Vegas.
Like the entrepreneurial spirit that built downtown Las Vegas, today's leaders
are using that same independent and enterprising nature to make the
Fremont Street Experience the catalyst for downtown's future as a viable
economic core and attraction for tourism.
"We salute those who built downtown -- Binion, Boyd, Gaughan and others
-- who provided the guiding force for the future of Las Vegas," Snyder said.
"Today, public officials and private-sector business leaders are committed to a
downtown Las Vegas that will grow and prosper into the next century."
Information provided by the Fremont Street Experience
- Las Vegas (1995)