The History of the Strip

Posted on March 9, 2018

The International after its completion.

When the Hoover Dam (known then as the Boulder Dam) project began in 1931, it brought with it droves of young male workers who needed a source of entertainment when not on the job. Many independent companies and organized crime groups took notice of this economic opportunity and began pouring money into casino and theater projects.

The Strip in the late 1940s.
The Strip in the late 1940s.
Image credit: http://digital.library.unlv.edu/objects/sky/93

Located miles from downtown, constructions along the Strip were meant to attract travelers heading to the city before they even arrived. The first club built on Highway 91, later known as Las Vegas Boulevard, was the Pair-O-Dice Club in 1931. Like many other spots to come, the club offered gambling and liquor when both were illegal.

The Pair-O-Dice Club in 1931.
The Pair-O-Dice Club in 1931.
Image credit: http://www.lasvegas360.com/4347/may-5-1931-the-pair-o-dice-nite-club-was-issued-a-gaming-license/

The first hotel to be built along this stretch was the wildly successful El Rancho Vegas Hotel, which opened in 1941. The resort was known for its popularity until it was destroyed in a fire in 1960. Celebrities of Hollywood and beyond often visited this hotel and its fame helped spur the construction of many more hotel-casinos along the Strip.

An El Rancho Vegas postcard from the 1940s.
An El Rancho Vegas postcard from the 1940s.
Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Rancho_Vegas

The Strip saw continued growth and expansion throughout the 1960s. In 1969, The International Hotel opened with over 1,500 rooms and was then the world’s largest hotel. Today, this location is known as Westgate Las Vegas.


The International after its completion.

The International after its completion.
Image credit: http://www.museumofthecity.org/project/1940s-growth-of-las-vegas/

The Las Vegas Strip, now stretching about 4.2 miles in length, is home to many more casinos, hotels, and “megaresorts” today. Although it has gone through many changes throughout the years, by way of some popular sites closing and new ones opening, the allure and glamour of the area has remained constant.
The Las Vegas Strip in the 1970s.
The Las Vegas Strip in the 1970s.
Image credit: http://www.museumofthecity.org/project/1940s-growth-of-las-vegas/

The Las Vegas Strip today.
The Las Vegas Strip today.
Image credit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g45963-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html

More great photos at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3176030/Evolution-Sin-City-Rare-retro-photos-reveal-Las-Vegas-transformed-one-horse-town-glitzy-City-Lights.html