Clark County

Valley of Fire State Park
Established 1935

Clark County, Nevada's most populous, was created in 1909 from the southern half of Lincoln County. The growing rail hub of Las Vegas was the reason for the new county's creation, and has always served as the county seat. The county was named for William Andrews Clark, who was a US Senator and responsible for the construction of the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, which created Las Vegas.

Clark County's next big boost happened in 1931, when work commenced on massive Boulder Dam (later named Hoover Dam). Las Vegas grew from only 5,000 to nearly 25,000, and soon a company town known as Boulder City was created. That same decade, the Nevada State Legislature realized how profitable gambling could be, and the first gambling license was issued to Las Vegas' Northern Club in 1931. Gambling dens were established en masse, and 'Block 16' became the local Red Light District. Las Vegas continued to grow as an entertainment destination. In 1941, the U.S. Army established a gunnery school at the northeast end of the Las Vegas Valley, and in 1942 the Government forced Block 16 to close.

A milestone for Las Vegas and Clark County was in 1941 when Thomas Hull opened the El Rancho Vegas - the first resort on what was to become the Las Vegas Strip. In 1946, the Flamingo was opened by gangster Bugsy Siegel, and before long a number of resorts began to appear along the highway south of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip was born, and Clark County would never be the same.

Today Las Vegas is known by a number of things, including "Sin City" and the "Entertainment Capital of the World." Over 2,000,000 people live in the Las Vegas Valley in a number of communities. Only three cities in the Valley are incorporated: Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and despite its name is actually situated in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester.

Outside of the Las Vegas Valley, other areas have grown up as well. The towns in Moapa Valley have developed as the gateway to northern Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire, while Mesquite has grown up on the Arizona border. To the south, Goodsprings and Searchlight are two old mining communities that still hold on, and Primm has grown at the California state line as a quick getaway from Southern California. Further south yet, Laughlin has developed along the Colorado River as a getaway destination nestled in the wedge formed by the California and Arizona state lines.