The Streets of Las Vegas

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Long before there was a Las Vegas Blvd. , a.k.a. “The Strip,” there was a Fremont Street . What you might want to think of as the first Las Vegas , a few downtown blocks with joints, primitive slots, a roulette wheel, blackjack and a crap game. What more could you ask for? Oh, yes, hostesses and booze. All in all, not a bad place for miners, dam workers and soldiers to spend a few bucks and blow off some steam.

Fremont Street was named for John C. Fremont, because it was Mr. Fremont by what he did that put Las Vegas on the map. What he did was put Las Vegas on a map…literally. Because along with being a general, a statesman, candidate for President and an explorer, John C was a map maker. And in 1830, after traveling through on an U.S. expedition to California , this valley was surveyed, noted and put on a map for the first time. 20,000 copies of his map were published and distributed to anybody who wanted one. Las Vegas became an important stop on the way west.

Fremont and his group [which included the famous Kit Carson] were not the first people by any means to see and stop in this valley. There is enough historical and archeological evidence to prove that millenniums before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), this marshy valley was used as an annual meeting place for tribal Native Americans to get together to trade goods, trade stories, feast and play KENO. A convention!!

What's changed?

The accommodations are much better now. But Fremont St. and its “Experience” are still the center pieces of downtown. Hotels, shops and restaurants all covered by a two-block-long ceiling of lights (in the millions) that every half hour after dark put on an eye-popping state-of-the-art light show with music that causes the spectator to cheer like it's the World Series or Super Bowl or something.

Thanks John and the horse you rode in on.