Las Vegas By Any Other Name
Genealogists love names. Misspelled surnames, mangled forenames, and oft-repeated town names are at the root of many research problems, but we can only imagine the experience of future Las Vegas family historians.
The nickname, Vegas, Baby, like The Big Apple, holds a distinction as a wildly successful marketing ploy. But before this latest moniker, Las Vegas held other, equally popular nicknames.
When early Las Vegas consisted of one long street of casinos and hotels, everyone knew what you meant by The Strip, even if you were in Los Angeles talking about a recent cross-desert junket, as in “I just got back from seeing Elvis on The Strip.”
The Las Vegas Strip is not within Las Vegas proper, but refers to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard south of city limits that is home to the largest, flashiest, and most historic casinos and hotels. The nickname is often used to refer to a broader area encompassing other resort casinos or confused with Glitter Gulch or Fremont Street located in the center of the Las Vegas downtown casino area home to the Fremont Hotel, Golden Nugget, The Mint and other casinos.
Las Vegas has always been the self-proclaimed Wedding Capital of the World – what genealogists would call a “Gretna Green” – and with only 250 miles separating Hollywood and Vegas, it’s not surprising that Vegas was a popular destination for quickie divorces as well.
The Las Vegas gambling industry led to the nickname Lost Wages, and the easy availability of assorted (legal and illegal) pastimes spawned the moniker Sin City, and the more official Entertainment Capital of the World.
Nothing Safe from Creative Vegas Street Names
The 1980s brought widespread resort development to Las Vegas, quickly followed by an explosion in residential development. A brief look at any local map shows the unique Vegas spirit didn’t stop at designing fantasy casinos. We can only imagine the thoughts of future Vegas family historians searching for ancestors on Pillow Talk Court, Fast Lane, Jane Austin Avenue [sic], Vader Avenue, and Leia Street.
See You on Paradise Road for #NGS2013
Thankfully, it should be fairly easy to find our way around the NGS Conference area at the Las Vegas Hotel. I plan to be spending most of my time on Paradise Road.
For More About Las Vegas Street Names –
Vegas Today and Tomorrow (great historic photos)
Image Credit: photo by David Vasquez, WikiMedia Commons, public domain
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