Las Vegas Tour





North Las Vegas


The Strip


East Side

Henderson Green Valley


Red Rock Canyon

Mt. Charleston

Hoover Dam

Valley of Fire



welcome to las vegasTravel less than a mile from the Strip and you will find the real Las Vegas, the suburbs that attract over 50,000 new residents a year. Think about the enormity of that number! Try to imagine a city of 50,000 with all its industry, schools, places of worship and other support services. Now, relocate that whole city to Las Vegas... every year! If you are looking for a vibrant city in which to launch a new business, start a new career or simply a pleasant climate in which to retire, the Las Vegas Valley offers a very attractive choice.

Many newcomers are unaware of life beyond the neon. The purpose of this site is to familiarize you with the Valley (Las Vegas, Henderson, North LV and Clark County). In addition we will take some field trips to nearby locations, such as Red Rock Canyon and Hoover Dam.


In 1844 the John Fremont expedition (with Kit Carson as one of the guides) camped at the Las Vegas Springs. mormon fortAlthough a young Spanish scout named Rafael Rivera apparently had previously discovered a grassy area with plentiful water which he named Las Vegas (Spanish for "The Meadows"), the Fremont expedition is the first documented instance of Europeans in the Las Vegas Valley. A few years later, Mormons established a route from the Great Salt Lake Valley to the California coast which came to be known as the "Mormon Road". This trail, passing through the Vegas valley, saw increased traffic during the California gold rush. In 1855 Mormon missionaries established the first settlement in Las Vegas and constructed an adobe fort near the present day downtown which served as a way station. Some attempts at lead and silver mining at nearby Mt. Potosi were disappointing and the fort was abandoned in 1857.

In 1865 Octavius Decatur Gass rebuilt the Las Vegas Mission, remodeling the old fort into a ranch house and naming it Las Vegas Rancho. The ranch passed hands to the Stewart family in 1884 and finally in 1902 to William Clark, who was constructing his San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad. Las Vegas then became a busy construction camp.

An event on May 15, 1905 officially established the city of Las Vegas. The 110 acres of land situated between Main St. to the west and Las Vegas Blvd. (5th Street) to the east and from Stewart Ave. to the north, and Garces Ave. to the south were auctioned. The sale of these 40 square blocks took place at the site of the current Plaza Hotel (at the west end of Fremont St.). The city became the county seat of Clark County in 1909 and was incorporated in 1911.

During the 25 years from 1905 to 1930 Las Vegas remained largely a railroad town and the population grew from 800 to 5,000. Most of the population resided within the original townsite but a few farms were established in the outlying areas.

In the early 30's three events lead to an expansion of the Las Vegas population; the beginning of construction of Hoover Dam, legalization of gambling in Nevada and liberalization of divorce laws in the state. These events created an influx of; 1) construction workers for the dam, 2) gamblers and 3) soon to be divorced "dude ranchers" who could obtain a quickie divorce after a six week residency. New home construction developed east of 5th Street and Las Vegans saw the completion of their first high school and hospital.

By the beginning of World War II the population had grown to 8,400 and two more events stimulated another population expansion. The establishment of the Las Vegas Army Gunnery School (now Nellis Air Force Base) in the northeast of the valley and the construction of the Basic Magnesium Inc. plant in the southeast (now Henderson) both led to a surge in population.

In 1941 the El Rancho Vegas Hotel opened on the "Strip" (Las Vegas Blvd. south of the city) and one year later the Hotel Last Frontier opened its doors. Contrary to popular belief, "Bugsy" Siegel's Flamingo Hotel which opened in 1946 was not the first on the "Strip", it was however the most lavish and led to a string of mob owned copy-cat operations.

By 1960 Vegas boasted a population of 65,000. In 1966 Howard Hughes arrived at the Desert Inn and began purchasing hotels. This started a trend of corporation ownership which has continued to the present day. Hughes incidentally also purchased a large tract of land on the west side of the valley which was to become Summerlin (his mother's maiden name).

Las Vegas in 1969

One can see from the population figures (125,787 in 1970 and 164,674 in 1980) that growth continued, in spite of the introduction of gambling to Atlantic City. These were the days that gambling became "gaming" and an air of respectability blew over the valley.

In 1989 Steve Wynn opened the first mega-resort hotel on the strip, the Mirage. Steve continued an unprecedented expansion including Treasure Island, the Golden Nugget, and Bellagio hotels. Recently these have been sold to the MGM and Steve has moved on to Purchase the Desert Inn. Everyone is waiting to see what wonders he will perform with that property.

By 1990 the population of Las Vegas had reached 258,295 and the growth showed no sign of slowing. To the contrary, population passed the 1 million mark before the end of the century and is expected to reach 2 million by the year 2005!


The Las Vegas Valley is surrounded by 4 mountain ranges; The Sheep Range to the north, Sunrise Mountain to the east, Black Mountain in the south and the Spring Mountains to the west. Currently new home construction is into the foothills of all but the Sheep Range. And that is just a matter of time.


Water is always a concern in the desert. The Las Vegas Valley Water District is responsible for supplying a safe water supply to residents of the valley. Water originates in Lake Mead as well as underground aquifers. Water is the pumped by 45 pumping stations to 25 reservoirs with a capacity of over 660 million gallons. Some of the older reservoirs are quite visible while the newer systems, such as the one located at Durango and Spring Mountain are all but invisible to the passerby.

Water conservation is of course encouraged. While there is a tendency to want to create a lush lawn, just like the one you had back in Lushville, desert landscaping and xeriscape will not only reduce your water bill but will make you feel better about yourself. They say that overwatering a lush lawn can waste up to 70% of your household water through evaporation.

Incidentally, the waste water collected by the Water District is treated and pumped back into the ground to replace the extracted water.

Another source of water is rainfall. While a light shower is nice, a downpour will result in flash floods. We recently went through a period of 145 days without any rain which came close to the previous record set in the 1950's. But long dry periods are common in the valley. As a result the ground tends to bake to a hard surface so that when it does rain, the water tends to run to the lowest points. There is no comprehensive storm sewer system in town to carry this water away so water runs down surface streets to the lower levels or "flood zones". You must always check before purchasing a home to be assured that it is not located in a flood zone. FEMA maps are available at the Clark County offices for such a search. Our annual rainfall is less than 5 inches but when it rains flash floods are a major concern. Regional Flood Control continues to construct water retaining basins throughout the valley as a means of controlling water from the major sources.

WEATHER (Yeah, but it's a dry heat)

Click for Las Vegas, Nevada Forecast Many folks move to Las Vegas for the weather. We are located in the "high desert" which means that we generally have warm weather relative to the rest of the country. We average 295 days of sunshine per year with an average humidity of 29%. This low humidity is very attractive to arthritic sufferers. Daytime temperatures are in the mid 50's during December and January and rise to over 100 in July and August. During the winter months snow falls on nearby Mt. Charleston and skiing at Lee Canyon is a favorite pastime. Under the right circumstances you could water-ski at Lake Mead later the same day.

Seasonal High & Low Temperatures
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Highs 57 62 68 79 88 98 105 102 94 82 66 57
Lows 31 37 42 50 59 68 73 73 65 52 40 33


Rapid expansion is bound to create some problems. We are currently constructing about 12 new schools per year. On the plus side, if you purchase a home in a newer area, your children will attend a brand new school. On the other hand they may have to be bused to the school until a closer one is built. School zoning is in a constant state of flux.

With all the earth moving involved in new construction, dust control is a challenge. I guess I should be politically correct and call it "air-born particulant matter", or maybe not. You could wait a few years for the dust to settle but chances are you will end up paying considerably more for the home, as available land becomes more scarce. By the way, unless you really enjoy dusting furniture constantly, leave any black or ebony heirlooms behind... sorry.

Traffic flow remains a problem. Fortunately many new residents are retirees and don't have to travel during peak hours. Likewise, many more people work from their home offices these days and this has helped relieve demand on the road system. Finally, the city and county fathers haven't buried their heads in the sand. Major roadworks are underway in all parts of the valley. A beltway from Henderson running west past the airport and up the west side and then across the north is scheduled to be completed very soon. While all this road construction currently exacerbates the traffic problems, everyone can see an end in sight.

Unless you come from Tokyo, or New York or maybe Chicago be prepared to pay a little more for auto insurance. I don't know why but rates here are on the high side. I can only suggest that if you're over 50 years of age join AARP and sign up for the senior's rates. If you are under 50, just grin and bear it.


Beside location, elevation ((view map) should be a consideration when selecting a homesite. In addition to the improved panoramic views that come with increased elevation, temperature, air quality and flash floods also come into play. (Click here to view a flood hazard map of the valley) Many folks use the Stratosphere Tower as a reference point since it can be seen from just about anywhere in the valley. The tower is located on Las Vegas Blvd. just north of Sahara and the base is approximately 2050 feet above sea level. The total height of the tower is 1149 feet. This means that the top of the tower is, hmm 2050 + 1149 = 3199 feet above sea level. A few locations in Las Vegas are higher than the top of the tower (ie. west side of Summerlin) but most are not. From your vantage point you will either be parallel to some point on the tower or you will be looking up at it from a lower elevation.

There is typically a five to ten degree difference in temperature between Summerlin and the lower portions of Henderson. While elevation is not the only element in the equation, it certainly is a factor.

Phillip Henkle Realtor with Prominent Realty
Phillip Henkle
Las Vegas
Buyer's Agent

Las Vegas real estate agent

Prominent Realty Group
7469 W Lake Mead Blvd Ste 130
Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 496-9898

Copyright © 1997 - 2014 Jim McEachern Las Vegas