Las Vegas Was Always Sin City
Today, Las Vegas markets itself as “Sin City,” but probably that moniker attached itself to Las Vegas in the city’s infant days. Let’s be honest, Las Vegas is not where most folks go for spiritual enlightenment and few churches plan their retreats in Las Vegas.
There were two blocks in the new town that became notorious-Blocks 16 and 17. Originally, these two blocks were set aside as places where liquor could be sold without a license. By 1910, Block 16 added to its charm. It became the home of open prostitution. There were hotels and saloons on the Block, but prostitution was a major draw and set it apart from its neighboring Block 17.
If you want to visit the original site of block 16 you may have already been there. It is the block between Stewart and Ogden Avenues and 1st and 2nd Streets (Casino Center Blvd).
One of the best known saloons in Block 16 was the Arizona Club (closed in in 1941). Originally, the establishment did not offer prostitution. However, in 1912 with new management, an additional story was added to the building and ladies began to ply their trade. The Sheriff at the time, Sam Gay was known for saying, “if you are not bothering people, go about your business.”