Everyday Las Vegas
Local Life in a Tourist Town
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Nevada Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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c o n t e n t s
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i l l u s t r at i o n s
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Front and back of Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman’s “business card” 151Las Vegas Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 205...
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...this book is about my city. Although I grew up in Las Vegas, it was only much later that I realized what a unique place it is. When I tell some-one where I am from, I often encounter weird looks, puzzled reactions, and surprised excitement. I have come to enjoy such moments, as they rein-force the connection I feel to a city perceived as exotic and strange to people across the country and around the globe. Being from a unique place gives me a sense of pride in my own identity; because of my hometown, I feel I too ...
i n t r o d u c t i o n
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Las Vegas is one of the world’s most recognizable cities. People all over the world seem to have some notion of what this place is like. Frank Simon, a longtime Las Vegan, told of his visit deep into the “outback of the Out-back” in Australia. He and a friend went into a hotel where he wrote down his address at check-in. The woman behind the desk asked him repeatedly: “You’re from the Las Vegas?” When Frank replied in the affirmative, she dis-appeared into the back room and told a friend, who let out a blood-curdling ...
One Hundred Years of Opportunity,Luck, and Rapid Change
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History is easy to see in Las Vegas. Within an hour or so drive of down- town, one can hike on ancient volcanic formations, view sedimentary rocks that once formed the beds of Pleistocene lakes, photograph for-ests of bristlecone pines (one of the planet’s oldest living things), see Native American petroglyphs, visit ghost towns and remnants of once-thriving min-ing communities, and observe ranchers practicing the centuries-old meth-ods of transhumance. In the city, older casinos—like the Dunes, the Sands, ...
A Place in the Desert
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Driving south on Interstate 15, five hours from Salt Lake City, a family finds themselves in a barren desert at dusk. Craggy mountains, copper col- ored in the sunset, surround a valley covered by flesh-colored sand and speckled by sagebrush, Joshua trees, and yucca. They pass signs of civiliza-tion—lights from an Indian reservation fireworks stand, a gypsum plant, and a railroad overpass. Having traveled this route only once before in the light of day, their excitement and apprehension grow as they crest a rise near Apex, ...
Watch ’Em Come, See ’Em Go
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In 1872 a huge gold vein was discovered in the Snake Range of central Nevada near the Utah border. The resulting mining town of Osceola reflected the experience of many of its Nevada siblings: it boomed, attracted thousands of treasure seekers, produced millions in wealth, and then busted. All that remains in Osceola is a memory preserved in ruins, the occasional rancher keeping watch on sheep or cattle that roam the surrounding slopes, and a state-sponsored historical sign along lonely Highway 50. The sign reminds ...
Getting Along with Growth
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The June 20, 1955, issue of Life magazine tells an important story about Las Vegas. On its cover was an image of two African-American show-girls performing at the Moulin Rouge, the city’s first officially integrated casino-resort. Although this was a significant event at a time when rac-ism was rampant, more significant for today’s Las Vegas is the caption just above the dancers: “Las Vegas—Is Boom Overextended?” The article inside depicted escalation in resort construction and questioned the sustainability ...
Stuck in the Fast Lane
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State Route 160 in the southwestern Las Vegas Valley is one of the most dangerous roads in the city. When Maria Guadalupe Martinez’s car veered into oncoming traffic on the two-lane road in 2006 near the intersection at Arville Street and Martinez was killed in a head-on collision, it marked the eighteenth fatality on that highway in less than eight months. This number got the attention of state and local officials. The Nevada High-way Patrol allotted troopers to the busiest stretch of the thoroughfare, also ...
Locals in a Tourist City
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I had to look twice the first time I saw it. Every so often a youth leader will wear his Boy Scouts of America uniform to church to show support for an upcoming event or commemoration; that much was not unusual. What surprised me on this Sunday was the council patch on the sleeve of Growing up in Southern Nevada, I was a part of the Boulder Dam Area Council of the Boy Scouts, which served sections of Nevada, Arizona, and California, and our council patch appropriately showed an image of Boul-...
Life in a Town of Glitter and Gold
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I often travel by air from my current midwestern home to Las Vegas for a weekend visit. Unlike many of my fellow passengers, my intentions are family- or, more recently, research-oriented. But sitting on a flight inbound to McCarran Airport on a Friday, I always sense the energy of the mostly tourist group. It all starts near the gates prior to boarding the flight. A group of four middle-aged men, for example, joke and discuss the fun they antici-pate while celebrating a fortieth birthday in Sin City without the distractions ...
Religion in Sin City
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Religion may be the last thing that comes to mind when people think about Las Vegas. Jud Wilhite, a pastor at a large local nondenomina- tional church, recalled his attempt to convince a Virginia woman that churches actually do exist in the city. After he told her what he does for a living, she replied confidently: “No, you aren’t. There are no churches in Las Vegas.” According to Wilhite, “Her certainty was absolute. . . . Her percep-tion of the church just could not make room for Vegas.”1 Other clergymen ...
Las Vegas Becoming
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Entering the second decade of the twenty-first century, Las Vegas stands at the brink. This is nothing new for the city that molds itself into what- ever attracts the most visitors. Because of such a huge reliance on tour-ism, however, the city’s economy has suffered disproportionately in the Great Recession. The slumping economy only amplified huge questions locals faced earlier regarding water availability, sense of community, rapid growth, transience, and a movement toward a more economically diverse, less tour-...
n o t e s
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...1. Landor Associates and Penn, Schoen, and Berland Associates, “2006 Newsmaker Brands,” December 27, 2006; Benjamin Spillman, “Google, Las Vegas Top Brands in ’06 2. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (lvcva), “Historical Las Vegas Visi- 3. John Western, A Passage to England: Barbadian Londoners Speak of Home (Min-neapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992); Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Per-...
b i b l i o g r a p h y
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Brookings, Craig. January 20, 2006, and May 3, 2007. North Las Vegas, NV.Grand, Bernice. July 15, 2005, and February 7, 2007. Las Vegas, NV.Schwartz, Howard. February 26 and March 20, 2007. Las Vegas, NV.Airriess, Christopher A., Wei Li, Karen J. Leong, Angela Chia-Chen Chen, and Verna M. Keith. “Church-Based Social Capital, Networks, and Geographical Scale: Kat-...
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Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 20 photos, 6 maps
Publication Year: 2013