As We See It

Ask Dead Elvis: Did we screw over Las Vegas, NM?

Is it true that Las Vegas, New Mexico, was a prospering city long before this Las Vegas came to fruition?

Sure looks that way, although our Las Vegas has a colorful history stretching back to 1829, with the arrival of Spanish explorer Raphael Rivera and the subsequent influence of John C. Fremont and the Mormon settlers—and of course, there were the Native Americans.

Yet Las Vegas, New Mexico, was the shit in its day, since it was a popular stop on the Sante Fe trail. Established in 1835 by a Mexican land grant for settlers, that Las Vegas was a well-known trading post, and when railroads made their way there in 1880, it became one of the most prosperous cities in the Southwest. Interestingly, it was the arrival of the railroads that created an influx of lawlessness and hedonism that is often fondly retold by historians. Most notable was its reputation as the town of choice for the legendary likes of Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Wyatt Earp.


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