1855 Setting The Stage For Future Las Vegas

oPrior to 1855, just a few non-Indians had been through the area we now know as Las Vegas. The last notable visit was by John C. Fremont (thus Fremont Street), a military officer, cartographer, and explorer who camped in the area in 1844.

In 1855, William Bringhurst, sent forth by Mormon leader, Brigham Young, set out with 30 men to establish a fort in the Las Vegas valley. This they did, but the project only lasted about two years. The Mormons had little success converting the Paiute Indians or getting them to cooperate in helping with the crops. In 1857, the fort was abandoned.

In 1865, Octavious Decatur Gass, bought the fort and turned it into the Las Vegas Ranch. Gass later defaulted on a loan, and lost the property to Archibald and Helen Stewart (Thus Stewart Avenue).

In 1902, a widowed Helen Stewart, sold 1800 acres and the water rights to the San Pedro, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City Railroad. On May 15, 1905, the railroad held an auction for 1200 lots, 110 acres. This marked the official establishment of Las Vegas. Then, on March 16, 1911, Governor Tasker Oddie, signed the incorporation papers. This made Las Vegas a state recognized city.

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