Historic Sites Not To Miss In Las Vegas

June 9, 2014 5:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

One can go to the Las Vegas Strip to witness crowds of people walking along the famed Las Vegas Boulevard with mega resorts and casinos in the background. But what many of those people don’t realize is that Las Vegas has been a city since the 1860s and land underneath the city has been around for centuries. Whether downtown or in the surrounding areas, Southern Nevada offers the chance to experience its past in present day Las Vegas.
Neon Museum
770 Las Vegas Blvd. N.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 387-6366
www.neonmuseum.orgThe Neon Museum, along with the Neon Boneyard, also includes the Urban Gallery which has restored neon signs with plaques explaining its history. These signs are placed along Las Vegas Boulevard between Washington and Sahara avenues, on Third Street in downtown Las Vegas and one on Fremont Street just east of Las Vegas Boulevard. One can walk, view and photograph signs 24 hours a day. The gallery includes signs from the Landmark, The Silver Slipper, Binion’s Horseshoe and the Lucky Cuss Motel.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve
333 S. Valley View Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89107
(702) 822-7700
www.springspreserve.orgThe Springs Preserve, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a 180-acre cultural center located in what is considered by many historians as the birthplace of Las Vegas. The Preserve features over three miles of trails and 110 acres of native habitats and archaeological sites where one can walk or bike while exploring the history of Las Vegas while the valley was being settled in the 1840s. The Botanical Gardens showcases more than 400 mature plants and trees and over 1,200 species of native plants and foliage brought by settlers that became adapted to the desert.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
500 E. Washington Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 486-3511
www.parks.nv.gov/parks/old-las-vegas-mormon-fortIn 1855, Mormon missionaries settled in the Las Vegas Valley and built the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort along the Las Vegas Creek. In the 21st century, the fort is part of a park in downtown Las Vegas managed by Nevada Division of State Parks. The Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort has been restored including a remnant of the original adobe structure and other reconstructed buildings using historical and archeological information. There are paths to walk along while exploring the structures.

Related: Historic Churches In Las Vegas

Bonnie Springs Ranch
16395 Bonnie Springs Road
Las Vegas, NV 89124
(702) 875-4191
www.bonniesprings.comOriginally built in 1843 along the Old Spanish Trail and located about 20 miles west of Las Vegas, Bonnie Springs Ranch now offers hiking trails, horseback riding, a petting zoo, dining and a mining town recreated from the 1880s. Within the town, one can walk down Main Street surrounded by the same mountain ranges that stood when explorers first entered the trail and pioneers continued east to settle in the Las Vegas Valley.

Fremont Street Experience
(702) 678-5777
Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas has been transformed into the Fremont Street Experience. Part of the Fremont Street Experience includes exploring the casinos including the Plaza Las Vegas at Fremont and Main streets which was the original train station. Across the street on the southeast corner is the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino which has occupied its corner since 1905 and honors its rich history. On the northeast corner is The Las Vegas Club, which installed the first neon sign in 1931. In the next block is Binions’s, known as the place to play poker. The Fremont Hotel opened 50 years ago and launched the careers of Kenny Rogers and Wayne Newton. Other casinos include The Golden Nugget and The Four Queens. In the section known as East Fremont District, El Cortez, built in 1941, kept its original facade and offers a blend of its past with the present.

Related: Top Indie Movie Theaters In Las Vegas

Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (34 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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