Hello all! A new week is upon us and more possibilities abound are yet to be discovered. For this blog post I will briefly be talking about my wonderful city, Las Vegas! The community is vast and the amount of creative togetherness seems to be limitless. But this was not always the case.
You most likely have heard of, or know this city as, Sin City. But do you know why and when? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. Before 1945, the mob, and the Bugsy Siegel Las Vegas you are probably thinking of, it was the location on the town map designated Block 16. It was the first street that resided between Stewart avenue and Ogden avenue. Block 16 was one of the two blocks in the town that was legally able to sell and serve liquor without any restrictions of licensing laws. But this was not what made Block 16 unique. It was the open offering of prostitution to the public in 1910. It was for all intensive purposes with out any theatricality, like what you saw in those old western movies. There were many saloons, brothels, and small bars littered thought the blocks not constrained by liquor licensing. They catered primarily to the railroad workers and traveler’s making a pit stop. But the most famous place in Block 16 was The Arizona Club. It was called ‘The Queen of Block 16’ on the streets. It had a 40 foot mahogany bar, made slow gin fizzes, and outlasted most other bars and saloons in the city. The town citizens and officials detested these blocks and businesses to no end, but also understood that the money the town made because of their existence greatly helped maintain the town’s economic needs. So for years on end, nothing was done to prevent or shut down these establishments.
But this is not the only time Block 16 kicked dirt in the faces of opposition. In 1920 it completely and openly disregarded the prohibition reign enforced by the 18th Amendment. It didn’t matter how many fines, raids, or threats any of the saloons and brothels got. The alcohol still flowed all the way into 1933 when the amendment was finally repealed.
It wasn’t until 1941, with the arrival of the Army Corp. Gunnery School (which is now called Nellis Air force Base), that Block 16 began to feel a heavy weight about to crush everything they had. The army officials warned the city administration that if prostitution continued in the town, no army personnel would be allowed in the city. This would mean the economic welfare of the city would be in peril. So near the end of the year, all the liquor and gambling licenses were revoked, a good chunk of the prostitutes were arrested, and all the brothels and saloons had to permanently close shortly after.
So on a lighter note…
Do you know what the name Las Vegas means? It is the Spanish word for, “the meadows.” It was coined by Raphael Rivera, stopping at quite a few artisan wells surrounded by a lush expanses of greenery, on his scouting journey from New Mexico to Los Angeles back in 1829. The original inhabitants of this land back then were the Paiute Indians (known as The Tudinu, which translates into Desert People) which resided here for over 10,000 years before being forcibly denied freedom from their land and eventually designated into reservations across the country. In 1911 the Las Vegas Paiute Colony was established on a stretch of 10 acre land provided freely by a ranch owner known as Helen J. Stewart. Then of course in 1934, the Indian Reorganization Act was passed and finally in 1970 with the help of the LV Paiute Tribal Constitution, the Paiute people became a sovereign nation.
The past of this city is in no way a pleasant one. Yet it still thrives and still grows. Las Vegas used to be a place to gamble and drink alcohol freely. But you can do those things now in just about every city in the US. Things are very different now. There are countless attractions, 5 national parks, numerous historical sites and cultural centers, over 27 libraries, and most importantly, hundreds of close knit communities. Where else in a single town can you visit Comic Con, see circus performers, watch countless street and stage magicians, ride roller coasters, visit water parks, play golf on numerous courses, be in the audience of a tv show, and actually meet countless famous celebrities just walking on the street next to you. Not to mention get to see some of the greatest entertainers of our time perform on stage, all within 10 blocks of one another. And all in the middle of a desert?!
“Always get to know that which is a mystery to you. Unless of course it is the mystery that you wish to be entranced by.”
On Fridays and Saturdays, if you wish to have a magical experience, come on down the The RockHouse. I will be performing between the hours of 7 and 9pm.