The Golden Age of Las Vegas
All around the world, there is no doubt that people have their own experiences with Las Vegas. Whether it is by visiting it themselves, by reading about it or by watching films set in this dazzling city, it is difficult to know what exactly makes it stick out in our memory. As Las Vegas attracts thousands of people every day, it is worth going back to the ‘Golden Age of Las Vegas’ to explore how this popular city came to be.
The Early Years
Firstly, known for its bright lights, lush colours and vibrant nightlife, the origins of Las Vegas can be linked back as far as 1905. However, the ‘Golden Age of Las Vegas’ is regarded as the years between 1930 and 1960 when the city truly began to gain attention. This is when Las Vegas started to truly build its image and reputation into the well-known city it is today. During this era, it was common to glimpse an array of spectacular performers and entertainers. For example, the dance group known as ‘The BlueBell Girls’ were known as a regular act at the Stardust hotel attracting people from all over the world.
Furthermore, even in the early days, Las Vegas was globally known as a gambling hub. In 1906, Golden Gate was opened which was the city’s first gambling house. This set the precedent for years to come as in 1931, betting was legalised and Las Vegas began to cement its reputation during these ‘Golden Years’. The opening of El Rancho Vegas which was Las Vegas’ first resort-based casino in 1941 helped turn Las Vegas into the gambling capital of the world. Nowadays, people can play real money poker from the comfort of their own home and replicate the feeling of being in the ‘Golden Age of Las Vegas’ without travelling back in time.
Celebrities that ruled the horizon
In addition, famous faces who were frequently spotted in Las Vegas during this ‘Golden Age’ helped to popularise the city. For example, Audrey Hepburn was commonly seen in the crowds of popular shows in Las Vegas along with her husband. Furthermore, the reputation of Las Vegas was shaped by headliners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack, Elvis Presley who would frequently perform. In fact, it was common to see stars like Frank Sinatra performing at betting houses such as the ‘Sands’ which helped attract many people to gamble while listening to their favourite music artist. Even today, it is clear to see how these acts helped to solidify Las Vegas’ name as the entertainment hub of the world as there are many tribute acts still performing in the area.
Infrastructure began to grow
Moreover, in this ‘Golden Age’, Las Vegas became known for its lavish accommodation and array of opulent hotels. The Las Vegas Strip was primarily known as a two-land road. However, as the region acquired more visitors, it opened up to cater for more traffic. This paved the way for the opening of The Sahara in 1955 which was and is both a hotel and casino establishment. This sparked the creation of multiple luxury hotels on the Las Vegas Strop such as Riviera, Fremont and Tropicana which were all contracted during this ‘Golden Age’. During this time, there was also a lot of effort put into the visuals of Las Vegas including the architecture and aesthetics. For example, neon was first used in signs in the early 1930s and this trend could be glimpsed in Las Vegas with multiple neon lights becoming an architectural feature of Fremont Street and Vegas which can still be seen today. Furthermore, in this era, buildings such as those on Fremont Street became bigger as the city began to take on a life of its own.
Of course, just as there are many wonderful places to eat in the Las Vegas we know today, during the ‘Golden Age’ people were also spoilt for choice when it came to dining. This period between 1930 and 1960 witnessed the flourishing of many supper clubs such as The Mayfair Supper which offered visitors the benefits of visiting both a normal restaurant and a social club. With exquisite food, live entertainment and a thriving social backdrop, these supper clubs helped skyrocket the popularity of the city and pave the way for many more restaurants of the same type to pop up.
Overall, the story of how Las Vegas came to be is certainly an interesting one. From the legalisation of betting in the 1900s to the presence of major music artists, there are many reasons why ‘The Golden Age of Las Vegas’ has helped the city to become what it is today. As Las Vegas continues to still be a popular destination, it should be interesting to see if it will change even more in the future to adhere to modern trends.