The Vegas Wall
Helen J. Stewart home (Stuart Ranch) at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Helen J. Stewart (1854-1926) was a southern Nevada pioneer and is considered the “first lady of Las Vegas.” Helen was born in Springfield, IL. Her father, a prospector, moved his family to Sacramento, CA where she attended school. In 1983 she married Archibald Stewart and moved to Pony Springs, NV thirty miles north of Pioche. In 1882 the Stewarts moved to Las Vegas to take possession of the Las Vegas Ranch (called the “Los Vegas Rancho at the time) from Octavius Gass, who defaulted on a loan from Archibald Stewart. The Stewart’s new home was an adobe fort Brigham Young had constructed for a new mission – built in 1855. Gass purchased and expanded the home in 1856. In 1884, only two years later, Archibald Stewart was killed by a disgruntled ranch hand at the Kiel Ranch. With the help of her father, Helen ran the ranch and began to purchase adjacent properties in the anticipation of a railroad being built through the area. Helen J Stewart eventually became the largest land owner in then Lincoln County NV. In 1883, she became the first postmaster of Las Vegas, though the name was spelled Los Vegas until 1903. In 1902, Stewart sold 1,834 acres of the ranch, including the water rights, to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad for $55,000.00. She married Frank Stewart in 1903 – no relation to Archibald, and became an important part of social, political and business circles. In 1916, Helen J Stewart became the first woman elected to the Clark County School District Board of Trustees. She donated land, in 1933, for the Las Vegas Grammar School. It was the first public school attended by Native American students from the Southern Paiute Colony. She died in 1926. Helen J. Stewart’s legacy as a fierce pioneer and proponent of education lives on with Helen J. Stewart Elementary School that serves students with significant intellectual disabilities.
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Led by William Bringhurst, Mormon missionaries arrived on June 14, 1855 and selected a site along one of the creeks that flowed from the Los Vegas springs, on which to build the fort. The 50 square foot adobe fort served as the midpoint on the trail between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In 1858 the fort was abandoned as a result of the beginning of the Utah War.
Las Vegas High School Las Vegas High School is the oldest high school in Las Vegas and originally opened in 1904 on what was then the outskirts of town. The original LVHS campus, located on the corner of 7th and Bridger in downtown Las Vegas, was built as three stories in the Art-Deco Style Architecture and opened in 1930. The building has been classified as a protected historic building. The location was controversial since it was so far out of town – now it’s considered downtown! LVHS was built on property owned by the Union Pacific RailRoad. Union Paciific RailRoad deeded the land to the city with the designation it only be used as a public school. Should the property ever be used for anything else, the property would revert back to the RailRoad. Dr. Zac’s grandmother attended Las Vegas High School in 1948-1950. After school one day she found her 1950 green convertible Morris Minor on the landing at the top of these steps. Some LVHS jocks thought they had pulled off the prank on the century by lifting the Morris Minor up the steps onto the landing! Some notable LVHS graduates: William Harrell Nellis (1934) namesake of Nellis Airforce Base Barbara Knudson (1945) Actress Lloyd George (1948) U.S. Federal Judge Richard Bryan (1955) former Nevada governor Toni Basil (1961) pop singer Marc Ratner (1963) NV Athletic Commission/UFC VP for regulatory affairs William Soard (1972) Dr Zac’s dad Che’ Jones (1989) NBA player & college basketball coach Erick Fedde (2011) Major League Baseball player
Building of Hoover Dam Hoover Dam is a concrete arch gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers and cost over one hundred lives. Originally known as Boulder Dam from 1933, it was officially renamed Hoover Dam for President Herbert Hoover by Congress in 1947. Since about 1900, the Black Canyon and nearby Boulder Canyon had been investigated for the potential to support a dam that would control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power. In 1928, Congress authorized the project. Although Boulder Canyon was originally considered, it was found to be bisected by a geologic fault and two other canyons were so narrow there was no space for a construction sight at the bottom of the canyon or a spillway. Black Canyon was found to be ideal; a railway could be laid from the railhead in Las Vegas to the top of the dam site. Despite the site change, the dam project was referred to as the “Boulder Canyon Project.” On March 12, 1928 the failure of the St. Francis Dam, constructed by the city of Los Angeles, caused a disastrous flood that killed up to 600 people. As that dam was a curved-gravity type, similar in design to the arch-gravity as was proposed for the Black Canyon Dam, opponents claimed that the Black Canyon dam’s safety could not be guaranteed. Congress authorized a board of engineers to review plans for the proposed dam. The Colorado River Board found the project feasible, but warned that should the dam fail, every downstream Colorado River community would be destroyed and that the river might change course and empty into the Salton Sea. On December 21, 1928 President Coolidge signed the bill authorizing the dam. The Boulder Canyon Project Act appropriated $165 million for the project. Congress approved the massive concrete arch-gravity dam design that was overseen by the Bureau’s chief design engineer John L. Savage, The monolith dam would be thick at the bottom and thin near the top and would present a convex face toward the water above the dam. The curving arch of the dam would transmit the water’s force into the abutments, in this case, the rock walls of the canyon. The wedge shape dam would be 660 feet thick at the bottom, narrowing to 45 feet at the top, leaving room for a highway connecting Nevada and Arizona. In the early 1930’s it was announced that a model city was to be built in the desert near the dam site as a headquarters for the dam construction, This town became known as Boulder City. Soon after the dam was authorized, increasing numbers of unemployed people converged on southern Nevada. Las Vegas, then a small city of about 5,000 saw up to 20,000 unemployed descend on it. A government camp was established for surveyors and other personnel near the dam site; this soon became surrounded by a squatters camp. The first concrete was poured into the dam on June 6, 1933 after the Colorado River had been diverted and two coffer dams had been constructed. When the coffer dams were in place and the construction site was drained of water, excavation for the dam foundation began. A total of 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete was used in the dam. In addition, 1,110,000 cubic yards were used in the power plant and other work. There were 12 deaths reported as associated with the construction of the dam. The first was a surveyor who drowned and the last an electrician’s helper who fell from one of the two Arizona-side intake towers.
MacDonald Hotel The MacDonald Hotel at 208 N. 5th Street was built by Grace and Alexander MacDonald during a boom followed by the signing of the Boulder Canyon Project Act in the summer of 1929. The front of the hotel was remodeled in the 1950’s. The building was demolished in 1981. In the late 1930’s Dr. Zac’s great-great grandfather Ulysses Stanley Addison (USA) Buzan along with his wife Clarkie, bought and managed the MacDonald Hotel. Dr. Zac’s grandmother and her parents moved to Las Vegas from Oakland, CA shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor ( to get away from the California coast) and lived behind the hotel. In the early morning hours of January 1943 during an attempted robbery Stanley was shot and killed. It is believed that the robber got away with about $60.00. Later that year a man arrested on robbery charges in St. Petersburg, FL confessed to the shooting but his claim was never substantiated. This crime remains the oldest unsolved murder in Las Vegas history.
Fremont St Fremont Street, named for explorer John C. Fremont, dates back to 1905, when Las Vegas was founded. Fremont Street was the first paved street in Las Vegas in 1925 and received the city’s first traffic light in 1931. Fremont Street - also called Glitter Gulch- was closed to traffic in September 1994 to begin construction on the Fremont Street Experience. Fremont Street is the address for many famous casinos including Binion’s Horseshoe (1951), Eldorado Club (1947), Fremont Hotel & Casino (1956), Golden Gate Hotel (1955), Golden Nugget (1946), Four Queens (1966), The Mint (1957), and The Pioneer Club (1942). While gambling was established prior to being legalized, the Northern Club in1931 received one of the first gamling licenses issued in Nevada and the first one for Fremont Street. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Fremont Street was the center of town with the train depot, movie theaters, restaurants, shopping, cruising Fremont, gambling halls, lumber stores and homes all centered around it. The top of Fremont Street is #1 Main Street. Before the Union Plaza Hotel was built the Union Railroad depot brought travelers to and from Las Vegas, The depot was torn down in 1969.
Anderson Dairy Dairy farmer Harry Anderson came to Las Vegas in 1907, just two years after the land auction that helped establish the then-quiet railroad town. From his small herd of 10-15 cows, he established his small dairy farm near what is now University Medical Center. He delivered milk twice a day by horse-drawn carriage draped in wet burlap to keep the milk cool. When Anderson’s business grew and expanded in the 1920’s, it was relocated to the corner of Fifth and Hoover streets. Around the same time, the dairy was sold to Kenneth Searles – but the established name of Anderson Dairy was retained. In addition to delivering milk, for many years the company operated a successful ice cream parlor where it also sold fresh milk and other dairy products. In 1956 the company built a state-of-the-art facility at its present location 801 E. Searles Avenue. Many of us that grew up in Las Vegas remember having the insulated silver box on our porch where milk and other dairy products were delivered to our homes. Our mom would leave a note for the milkman stuck in the top of an empty milk bottle when she needed butter or ice cream. And our children have gone on the fun and informative free guided tour at the dairy. They even give you a Anderson Dairy treat at the end of the tour!
Howard Hughes Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist, known during this lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle - oddities that were caused in part by his worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash and increasing deafness. Howard Hughes was one of the brightest figures in Las Vegas neon history. But he came to Las Vegas under the cover of darkness during Thanksgiving weekend in 1966. Hughes rode in on a fortune. His father had invented an oil well drill bit that could penetrate hard rock, leaving his son one of the richest people in the world. Hughes arrived on that dark night for a private holiday, never intending to buy a hotel. But for the next four years Hughes would wield his fantastic wealth to change and modernize the Las Vegas Strip. Hughes had visited Las Vegas during World War II, staying at the Desert Inn, El Rancho Las Vegas, and the Flamingo. In the early 1950s he acquired about 40 square miles near Las Vegas from the BLM, trading 73,000 acres of desert land in five Northern Nevada counties for the federal parcel. It was known as “Husite” before being transformed into today’s Summerlin master-planned community. When Hughes finished buying the land, his Nevada holdings were worth an estimated $300 million. His empire included Harold’s Club in Reno, nearly every empty vacant lot on the Las Vegas Strip, an airline, several Nevada ranches and about 2,000 mining claims. On that night in 1966, Hughes’ two-car private train arrived in Las Vegas. His aides whisked him to the Desert Inn penthouse. As the story goes, Moe Dalitz, the DI’s general manager asked Hughes to vacate the penthouse because it was needed for the expected influx of New Year’s Eve guests. Instead, Hughes bought the hotel. Community officials bent the rules to accommodate their new resident, hoping he would be a great benefactor. Despite Hughes’ refusal to be photographed, fingerprinted or fill out financial disclosure papers, the tycoon got a license to operate the Desert Inn from the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1967. After buying the Desert Inn for $13 million, Hughes went on a roll. He bought the Sands for $14.6 million, the Frontier for $23 million and the unfinished Landmark for $17 million. His other on -and off- Strip properties included the Desert Inn Country Club residential lots, the North Las Vegas Airport and several casinos that operated under the umbrella Summa Corp. Hughes envisioned Las Vegas as a model metropolis with its own high speed train; a city with clean air and clean water in the middle of the desert. The man who never left the Desert Inn’s penthouse had other things on his mind. Once he was ensconced in the penthouse, he withdrew into his own world of movies on television, drugs, and excessive paranoia about germs. He even wrote directions to his staff about how many tissues they needed to use to carry items in and out of his suite. When Hughes first arrived in Las Vegas he discovered he couldn’t indulge in one of his whims. A chronic insomniac, he wanted to watch movies on television when most people were asleep, a habit harking back to his Hollywood days at RKO Studios. But Las Vegas had no all-night TV station.. Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun sold his television station (KLAS Channel 8) to Hughes in September 1967 for $3.6 million. The former movie mogul now had a 24/7 channel. After four short years in Las Vegas, Hughes left abruptly. On Thanksgiving Eve 1970, Hughes was reportedly carried out of the Desert Inn on a stretcher, driven to Nellis Air Force Base in an unmarked van and flown by private jet to Resorts International’s Britannia Beach Hotel in the Bahamas. The billionaire never returned to Las Vegas, although his legacy continues to feed the city’s lore and legend. Hughes, who was born on December 24, 1905, died on April 5, 1976, on a plane flying from Mexico to Houston.
Fremont St By the late summer of 1946, Guy McAfee was the best-known big shot in Las Vegas, McFee, 58, had spent more than $1 million to open the Golden Nugget casino on August 30. Located on downtown’s Fremont Street, the Golden Nugget was the largest gambling house in town. Meanwhile, McAfee’s associates from Los Angeles, Bill Wilkerson and Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, were constructing what would become a more famous casino, the Flamingo, several miles to the south on Highway 91- later known as the Las Vegas Strip. The Flamingo would debut on December 26. Few in Las Vegas knew or cared about how McAfee earned his way to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. In the 1930’s, he owned the Clover Club, a nightclub and illegal casino on Sunset Boulevard - the “Sunset Strip.” The Clover Club was popular with the Hollywood set. Born in Kansas in 1888, McAfee joined the Los Angeles Police force in his twenties. In the 1920’s during Prohibition, while serving as a captain of the vice squad, he took hush payments from bootleggers. After marrying a brothel madam, he quit the force to make more cash as one of the criminals, joining the ranks of Los Angeles’ top crime syndicate. By 1931, after the death of mob boss Charles Crawford, McAfee led the syndicate by the likes of City Hall power broker Kent Kane Parrot, bookmaker Ezekiel Caress, nightclub manager Milton “Farmer” Page, slot and pinball machine runner Robert Gans, and gambling ship operator Tony Cornero. For years, along with gambling, McAfee had his hands in the city’s brothel racket. After Los Angees elected a reform mayor in 1938, McAfee soon left town for Las Vegas with his wife, the sexy movie actress June Brewster. In 1939, he bought the small Pair-O-Dice casino and auto park on Highway 91 outside Las vegas. His wife, June, later recalled that he jokingly called the almost-barren highway the “Strip,” after the Sunset Strip, believing that other casinos would eventually locate there. But he also invested in downtown, buying a two-story building on Fremont Street. In 1941 he sold the 91Club and purchased, on Fremont Street, the Pioneer casino as well as Cornero’s SS Rex Club casino and built a modern, tropical-themed bar, the Mandalay Room. By 1945, with the El Rancho and Last Frontier (at the site of the old Pair-O-Dice) hotel-casinos operating along the highway, McAfee announced he was ready to build his dream property, along with investor Buck Blaine. He called it the Golden Nugget Saloon, located on First and Fremont streets, the site of a pool hall, cafe and former drugstore. For its interior, McAfee demanded fixtures 50 years or older, opting for Victorian carved wood and marble imported from Italy to fashion a decor based on the original Golden Nugget bar in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast during the Comstock and silver rush of the mid-19th century. About 20,000 people were invited to the grand opening. He touted the place, beyond Las Vegas, as “the largest casino in the world.” The gaming hall boasted of the largest - and brightest- sign in the world, when it erected its new neon sign, topped with a shining neon nugget, over Fremont Street. The sign was removed in 1984 when the casino underwent renovations. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, the name coined by McAfee, easily surpassed downtown in popularity. In 1972, a local real estate investor, Steve Wynn, bought a controlling stake in the Golden Nugget. In 1981, the world’s largest gold nugget was put on display amid a number of other gold nuggets. The “Hand of Faith” as it is known weighs 875 troy ounces and is 18 inches in length. It was found near Kingower, Victoria, Australia.
Alpine Village Inn The Alpine Village Inn, a Bovarian/German restaurant known for its Chicken Supreme soup and Seasoned Cottage Cheese appetizer, was located on Paradise Road just south of Sahara Avenue until its closing in 1997. First opened in 1950 in a downtown location, it would later move to four different locations on Las Vegas Blvd before settling at the Paradise Road location in 1970. The establishment housed a “fancy” restaurant on the upper level and a “fun” one in the basement called the Rathskeller. There was always a sing a long polka, unlimited peanuts and pumpernickel and twinkling lights on a toy gondola that traversed hand painted murals of the Alps. The waiters wore lederhosen and the waitresses wore dirndls. Upstairs also housed a cute little gift shop that sold Swiss clocks, music boxes and embroidered hand towels, along with pewter mugs and bowls like the ones used in the restaurant. You could also purchase the seasoning for their famed Cottage Cheese appetizer. In 1975 two bombs were planted on the roof of the Paradise Road location. They went off at 9pm, thirty seconds apart, on a busy Saturday night. Amazingly no one was seriously injured. A labor dispute between the local Culinary Union and several off-strip restaurants escalated into violence which ultimately resulted in the head of the Culinary Union learning a valuable lesson- never refuse to pay a hitman. The restaurant would again be targeted with a bombing and once again no one was injured. The majority shareholder of the Alpine Village Inn, Lou Weiner, passed away in 1997 and the estate decided to close rather than invest in renovations and keep the restaurant open.
“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is one of the most historic Las Vegas landmarks. It was built in 1959. The sign was designed by Betty Willis at the request of a local salesman, Ted Rogich. Betty Willis was born in Overton, NV in 1923 and became a well-known American visual and graphic designer. She attended art school in Los Angeles then returned to Las Vegas designing neon signs for Western Neon. Besides her signature piece, she also designed the Moulin Rouge Hotel sign in 1955 and the Blue Angel Motel fifteen foot tall blue angel statue in 1957. Betty Willis never trademarked the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, saying “it’s my gift to the city.” She continued designing until the age of seventy one. She passed away at the age of ninety one in her home in Overton, NV.
Sands/Rat Pack The Sands Hotel and Casino was a historic hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip that operated from 1952 until 1996. The resort hosted a prominent 56 foot high sign and was the seventh resort to open on the Strip. The hotel’s biggest claim to fame was a three - week period in 1960 during the filming of Ocean’s 11. During that time the movie’s stars, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford performed on stage together in the Copa Room. The performances were called the “Summit at the Sands” and this is considered the birth of the Rat Pack. Howard Hughes purchased the hotel in the mid-1960’s for $14.6 million. Hughes grew particularly annoyed every time the Rat Pack were in his hotel, due to a hatred for Frank Sinatra which stemmed from the fact that he had been in love with Ava Gardner in the 1950’s and she had run off and married Sinatra. The ill feeling was reciprocated by Sinatra. Hughes plotted to oust Sinatra from the Sands by imposing gambling restrictions on Sinatra. After an altercation with Sands management ending with Sinatra having a bloody nose and losing two teeth, Sinatra never performed at the Sands again while Hughes owned it. Sinatra then performed at Caesars Palace for several years.
Fremont St The Fremont Hotel is located at 200 Fremont Street. It was designed by architect Wayne McAllister and opened on May 18, 1956. as the tallest building in the state of Nevada. At the time of its opening it had 155 rooms, cost $6 million to open and was owned by Ed Levinson and Lou Lurie. In 1963 the hotel was expanded to include the 14 story Ogden Tower and one of the city’s first vertical parking garages. (Dr Zac’s great-grandmother once owned the property where the Fremont Parking Garage now stands.) The Fremont is located on what is commonly referred to as the four corners. There are four main hotels located on the corner of Casino Center Boulevard and Fremont Street, The Four Queens, The Golden Nugget, Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel and The Fremont Hotel and Casino.
Evel Knievel On December 31, 1967 Daredevil Evel Knievel attempted to jump over the water fountains at Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. Knievel’s jump was a 141 foot attempt and his longest to date. When he hit the take off ramp he felt the motorcycle unexpectedly decelerate. The sudden loss of power on the take- off caused Evel to come up short and land on the safety ramp which was supported by a van. This caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them and onto the pavement where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles and a concussion that kept him in the hospital for a month. On April 14, 1989 Robbie Knievel, Evel’s son, successfully completed what his father could not do years before by completing the fountain jump.
UNLV The 1989-90 University of Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels basketball team represented UNLV in the NCAA Division I men’s competition in the 1989-90 season and won the NCAA title under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. ( Dr Zac’s mom and dad were in Denver to witness this extraordinary event!) The Rebels entered the finals as the #1 seed from the West with a record of 33-5. They beat Georgia Tech 90-81 in the semi-final game and went on to win the championship 103-73 over the #3 ranked Duke Bluedevils, winning the championship by the largest margin in history. (The undefeated Rebels 33-0 would enter the final four the following year only to lose to Duke in the semi-final game 77-79.) Pictured are Anderson Hunt, Greg Anthony, Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and David Butler.
The Landmark Hotel Implosion The Landmark Hotel was located just east of the Las Vegas Strip and across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center. The resort included a 31-story tower inspired by the design of the Space Needle in Seattle. The tower was completed in 1969 making it the tallest building in Nevada until the competition of the International Hotel opened across the street later that same year. The resort suffered financial problems after its opening and underwent several ownership changes. The hotel closed in August 1990. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority purchased the property in September 1993 and demolished the resort in November 1995. At 5:37am on November 7, 1995 the Landmark Tower was demolished through implosion. Upon detonation, the tower’s northwest half was brought down followed by the second half which caved in on itself, followed by a black cloud of dust ascending 150ft into the air. The 31-story tower was the tallest reinforced concrete building ever demolished in North America and the second tallest building in the world to be demolished at that time. Demolition and related expenses cost $3 million.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Las Vegas Temple The Las Vegas Nevada Temple is the 43rd operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located at the base of Frenchman Mountain, the 80,350 square foot temple sits on 10.3 acres of land. A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication for the temple was held in November 1985. Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the church’s first presidency, presided and gave the dedication prayer. Construction began soon after. The temple was dedicated in sessions held December 16-18, 1989. The temple has six spires, the highest of which is 119 feet. At the top of the tower stands a ten foot statue of the angel Moroni. The exterior is a white finish of pre-cast stone walls with a copper roof. Hinckley dedicated the temple as “an oasis of peace and light.”
NFR/PBR The popularity of rodeos in Las Vegas began in 1934 with the annual festival called Las Vegas Days later changed to Helldorado Days. The event was created by Clyde Zerby to draw people to Las Vegas as the workers who had been building Hoover Dam began leaving because the dam was nearing completion. Events like the rodeo, parade and carnival were added in later years. The first rodeo arrived as part of the festival in 1944. Dr. Zac’s grandmother rode in her first parade in 1942. She remembers her dad bought her outfit in the giftshop of the Last Frontier Hotel. Since 1985 the National Finals Rodeo has been held at the the Thomas & Mack Center showcasing the talents of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association top 15 money-makers in each event as they compete for the world title. The Professional Bull Riders Inc (PBR) has held its world finals in Las Vegas since 1994, competing originally at the MGM Grand Garden Arena then moving to the Thomas & Mack Center and most recently competing at the T-Mobile Arena. Las Vegas has a rich cowboy history dating back to the early pioneers who settled the valley and worked the land. “Sometimes life is just like a rodeo, the trick is to ride and make it to the bell” -John Fogerty
Dam/Overpass The Mike O’Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is an arch bridge that spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona. The Bridge is located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas and carries Interstate 11 and U.S. Route 93 over the Colorado River. Opened in 2010, it was the key component of the Hoover Dam Bypass project, which rerouted US 93 from its previous routing along the top of Hoover Dam and removed several hairpin turns and blind curves from the route. It is jointly named for Mike O’Callaghan, Governor of Nevada from 1971-1979 and Pat Tillman, an American football player who left his career with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the United States Army and was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 by friendly fire. In March 2001, the Federal Highway Administration selected the route, which crosses the Colorado River approximately 1500 feet downstream of Hoover Dam. Construction of the bridge approaches began in 2003, and construction of the bridge itself began in February 2005. The bridge was completed in 2010 and the entire bypass route opened to vehicle traffic on October 19, 2010. The Hoover Dam Bypass project was completed within budget at a cost of $240 million; the bridge portion cost $114 million. The bridge was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States, and incorporates the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. At 890 feet above the Colorado River, it is the second highest bridge in the United States after the Royal Gorge Bridge near Canon City, Colorado, and is the world’s highest concrete arch bridge. The bridge has a length of 1900 feet and a 1060 ft span. The roadway is 900 ft above the Colorado River and four lanes wide. The twin arch ribs, connected by steel struts, are made of 106 pieces - 53 per arch - mostly 24 ft cast in place sections. The arch was constructed from both sides concurrently, supported by diagonal cable stays strung from temporary towers. The twin arch spans were completed with the casting of the center segments in August 2009. That same month, the two halves of the arch were completed, and were ⅜ inch apart; the gap was filled with a block of reinforced concrete. Pedestrian access is provided over the bridge to tourists who wish to take in a different view of the nearby dam and river below. But the dam is not visible for those driving across it. When the bridge was opened to traffic, the roadway over Hoover Dam was closed to through traffic, and all visitor access to the dam routed to the Nevada side; vehicles are still allowed to drive across the dam to the Arizona side but must return to the Nevada side to return to US 95. Dr Zac’s children were very excited to be able to stand in both Nevada and Arizona at the same, startling the state line on the roadway over the dam.
Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix Built by Jerry Barton in 1992, Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix is a seven acre family owned family fun center with four Go-Cart tracks, carnival amusement rides and a large arcade area. They host parties of all kinds for the young and young at heart! There is also a food counter offering pizza, sandwiches and wings along with drinks and desserts. Dr. Zac’s family has spent many fun times making great memories racing and playing the fun arcade games.
Thunderbirds The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron (Thunderbirds) is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Airforce. The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th wing and are located at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Created in 1953, the USAF Thunderbirds are the third oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, after the French Air Force Patrouille de France formed in 1931 and the United States Navy Blue Angels formed in 1946. The Thunderbirds Squadron tours the United States and much of the world performing aerobatic formation solo flying in specially marked aircraft. The squadron’s name is taken from the legendary creature that appears in the mythologies of several indigenous North American cultures. Officers serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while enlisted personnel serve three to four years. As the squadron performs no more than 88 air demonstrations each year, replacements must be trained for about half of the team each year, in order to provide a constant mix of experience. The Thunderbirds are also part of the USAF combat force and if required, can be rapidly integrated into an operational fighter unit. The Thunderbirds perform aerial demonstrations in the F16C Fighting Falcon and they also fly two F-16D twin seat trainers. Much of the Thunderbirds’ display alternated between maneuvers performed by the diamond (Thunderbirds 1 through 4) and those performed by the solos (Thunderbirds 5 and 6). There are a total of eight different formations, often flying within as little as 18 inches fuselage to canopy separation. All maneuvers are performed at speeds of 450 to 500 mph. The opposing solos usually perform their maneuvers just under the speed of sound - 500 to 700 mph and show off the capabilities of their individual aircraft by doing maneuvers such as fast passes, slow passes, fast rolls, slow rolls and very tight turns. Some of their maneuvers include both solo aircraft at once such as opposing passes (passing in close proximity to each other) and mirror formations (two aircraft being flown back to back as in the calypso, pass belly to belly). In mirror formation, one Thunderbird must be inverted, and it is always number 5. In fact, the number 5 on the aircraft is painted upside down and thus appears right side up for much of the routine. The pilots all wear tailored flight suits with their name and jet number embroidered on the left breast. The suit of the pilot of the number 5 airplane has the number sewn upside down. Pictured are the Thunderbirds performing a calypso pass.
VGK The Vegas Golden Knights are a professional ice hockey team based in Las Vegas, NV. They compete in the National Hockey League in the Western Division.. Founded as an expansion team, they began play in the 2017-2018 NHL season. The team is owned by Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, a consortium led by Bill Foely and the Maloof family. The team plays its home game at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Unlike most expansion teams, the VGK have achieved great success in their first several seasons as a professional team reaching the Stanley Cup finals in their first year of operation.
Snow on the Luxor On February 20, 2019, Las Vegas saw more snow than it had in thirty years. The airport was closed for a short time, roads were closed and students even got a “snow day” off from school! The rare winter storm dropped up to three inches of snow in parts of the valley – a rare scene in the Nevada desert. Because of the shape of the Luxor it was one of the few buildings that held the snow. National news reported “hell hasn’t frozen over, but it’s snowing in Las Vegas!”
Vegas Strong October 1, 2017 marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Fifty eight people were killed and 527 people were injured while attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. The shooter was in a room at the Mandalay Bay Resort on the 32nd floor which overlooked the outdoor area, The suspect killed himself after authorities attempted to enter his room. Las Vegas is a city built on hospitality. For locals and visitors, October 1 has been a catalyst for a new sense of solidarity in good times and bad. The hashtag Vegas Strong trended on social media in days following the shooting largely due to the support of visitors. The hashtag was meant to support the victims and reduce the offensiveness of the crisis while promoting a positive image of the city. To show their support of the victims and the city of Las Vegas many hotels including the Wynn Hotel and Resort Resort displayed the hashtag #Vegas Strong.