The Las Vegas Strip’s first resort was a huge hit before it burned down

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Image: Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Once a modest desert town, in 1931 Las Vegas saw a massive influx of thousands of young men looking to work on the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam

With this new population of young males with money to spend, the Nevada state legislature shrewdly legalized gambling at the local level, and Las Vegas grew into a mecca for casino games and bawdy entertainment

After the completion of the dam in 1935 and the dispersal of the workers, the newly-created Lake Mead became a tourist destination, and more hotels sprouted up.

In 1941, El Rancho Vegas became the first resort to open on Highway 91, south of Las Vegas, a stretch which would soon become known as the Las Vegas Strip. Read more…

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