Prelude to Las Vegas

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To more fully understand Las Vegas following 1905 - a short history of 'Nevada's Frontier Culture' is presented below.

Goldfield, Nevada

1902 & 1906 View of the Town of Goldfield Nevada. Collection. Arrangement & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Goldfield, Nevada's growth between the years 1902 and 1906. The Goldfield Hotel is seen at near-right.

Nevada is one helluva state. It is absent of natural soil, vegatation and water. Its hot desert days and cold windy nights caused
most western settlers to avoid it altogether or die when mistakenly trying to cross it. Not even cactus can naturally survive Nevada's
harshness. Only a few Josuha trees and bad strains of sagebrush ever existed here. As far as wildlife - a lone coyote or jackrabbit
is about all you'll find. As for insects, even the common house-fly decided Nevada is too hot and lacking. A few crickets
can tolerate the lack of life that's a natural part of the Nevada environment. But even they have a hard go at it.

So why would humans attempt to survive in such a barren wasteland when the lush natural wonders of California lay just beyond
the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range? It's because Mother Nature hid her treasures all over the state in the forms of gold and silver.
How else could she populate such a place? Where gold is available - all things are possible. Even the impossible.

Nuggets of Gold.

The Silver State (as it is officially known) had two great mining eras. The Comstock Bonanza took place here during the years
1859-1878, after gold was discovered near Dayton in 1851. With the California Gold Rush of 1849 played out, miners headed
back east over the mountains to Nevada. During that first Gold Rush over 575 mining towns and camps sprang up all the state.

Map of 1870 Nevada Mining Camps and Silver Mill.

The colorful names of these early mining towns ran the gamut from Treasure City, Gold Acres, Bullion City, Cornucopia,
Diamond Field, Jumbo, Derby, Queen City, Lucky Boy, Midas, Star City, Stirling, Montezuma, Quartz Mountain, Silverhorn,
Ruby City, Crystal Peak, Monte Cristo and Eldorado. Hopes run high when good fortune hides itself under a rock.

Yet, by 1878, nearly 98% of these 575 mining towns had been played out and left abandoned. The remains of these
Ghost Towns exist to this day with abandoned saloons, vacant courthouses and schools spread across the state.

Twenty-two years later gold was again discovered in the southlands in the 1900 Tonopah Gold Strike. One hundred
miles northwest of current day Las Vegas is where the biggest southern strike was born in 1902.
The place was called Goldfield. It's heyday was from 1902-1910.

Within just four years an entire functioning town was built on high hopes. Goldfield became the largest city in the entire
state of Nevada with a population of 30,000. In the center of it all, on the former site of the Nevada Hotel, was built
the opulent Goldfield-Bonanza Hotel, considered to be the most luxurious hotel between Chicago and San Francisco.

The 1906 Lobby of the Goldfield Hotel. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The Goldfield Hotel lobby.

Built at the, then, high cost of $300,000 - the four story stone and brick hotel had 150 rooms and 45 suites with
private baths, each with telephone, electric lights and steam heat. The lobby had luxurious mahogany paneling
and leather upholstery beneath gold-leaf ceilings and crystal chandeliers. With imported chefs from Europe and
one of the first Otis elevators west of the Mississippi - society's upper class made it an immediate success.

Near the Goldfield Hotel was The Northern Saloon with the longest bar in the history of mining towns.
It was a bar so long it took 80 bartendars to tend the thristy, dusty and demanding mining hands.

Gold Miner with Beer.

King Midas in the desert.

Coins of the Nevada Gold and Silver Mining Rush Era of 1900-1910.

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Turn of the Century Nevada Mining Era Coins.

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Boxing and Racing Events in 1900 Goldfield, Nevada.

Goldfield's town developers soon brought in the greatest prize-fighters of the time for championship
boxing matches and hosted famous auto races to promote the growing, young town.

Old Wild West Fontier Saloon Dancers. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Like all Nevada mining towns, the ladies-of-the-evening were plenty. The lure of gold and
the Girls of Goldfield attracted adventure seeking men from all across the United States.

Old West Prostitute Rooms. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Open advertising at the prostitution cribs of Goldfield.

Prostitutes in the Saloon and Cribs in Old Nevada. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Goldfield's saloon & crib girls.

1905 Train Depot in Old Las Vegas. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

1905 postcards list Las Vegas as 'The Gateway to Goldfield'. 1930s Las Vegas would be labeled 'The Gateway to Boulder Dam'.

Goldfield's Little Sister - Las Vegas, Nevada

When the railroad set up a railroad terminal in the newly formed hamlet of 1905 Las Vegas - small Las Vegas became
known as 'The Gateway to Goldfield'. Little did the residents of Goldfield then realize that it would be Las Vegas
that would later become the biggest, most fortune-filled city in the state & eventually America's Adult Playground.

During its short time the Goldfield mines produced more than $86 million dollars. But the gold would soon run out.
After its 1906 boom-peak, flash floods destroyed most of the town and a great-fire leveled 54 square blocks.

By 1910 Goldfield was nearly abandoned. The few remaining residents, miners and working girls, pulled-up stakes
and headed south to Las Vegas. It was there where the dreams of Goldfield would be re-born. In magnitude.

The Evolution of Las Vegas Saloon Design

The First Saloons & Arizona Club in 1905 Las Vegas. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

When Las Vegas was established in 1905 the town was divided into sections, and lots were sold at auction.
At the time alchohol sales were relegated to the section of town called called Block Sixteen. Arizona Club
was one of the first of the tent-saloons set up in 1905 - alongside its neighbors The Gem, Red Onion Club,
and The Arcade. Within months they had built wood-facade store fronts. By 1906 Arizona Club remodeled.

The 1906 Remodeled Las Vegas Arizona Club on Block Sixteen. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

The new, remodeled 1906 Arizona Club, with mahogany panels, beveled-glass and stone & cement frontage.
In just one year, its operation had exceeded that of the surrounding saloons and thus began the Las Vegas
phenomena of 'competative saloon architecture' that remains to this day.

The Third Story Addition of The Arizona Club on Block 16 in Las Vegas. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

Within two years The Arizona Club expanded by adding a third floor hotel to their establishment. It was
here where early prostitution activities took place, between train travelers and working-girls, during the
train's brief lay-over enroute from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Arizona Club soon surpassed the size
of its closest neighbors. The Arcade (in center) can be seen as the same size it was when it first opened.

. Collection. Restoration & Enhancement by Camden Communications

When Las Vegas first began, gambling was legal and The Arizona Club had the finest casino in town. By 1915,
gambling was outlawed through-out the State of Nevada - but would eventually be legalized in 1931. During
its heyday The Arizona Club offered the best in gambling and female companionship. Its beautiful mahogany
bar and entrance were later moved to the 1942 Last Frontier Casino - where they remained until the late 1950s.

Ladies of the Evening - In Old Las Vegas

Block Sixteen Prostitution in Old Las Vegas.

Similar to most every mining town in the Old West, the company of women was an understood requirement for
the large amounts of single-men in residence or passing thru. The Las Vegas train depot brought in lots of solo
travelers who partook of the 'frontier-services' available here that weren't so easily acquired in their home towns.

Women of Las Vegas' Block 16.

To fully understand the last 100 years of adult-oriented styles of entertainment in Las Vegas, an accurate understanding of
history must be made regarding the early days of prostitution, chorus-girls, burlesque theater, dime-a-dance halls, tango-parlors,
casino showgirls and modern day strip clubs. All these types of entertainment have deep roots in Las Vegas that cannot be
sanitized or denied, since it is this 'glorification of female sexuality' that is as much a part of Las Vegas history as is gambling.

History of Las Vegas Prostitution Photo.

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Early Las Vegas Working Girl.

The Wild West roots of Las Vegas Showgirls have always been an integral part of Las Vegas Culture. The frontier-roots and the
get-rich-quick mentality of the California Gold Rush, the two eras of Nevada mining, the lost boom-town of Goldfield, the birth of
Las Vegas in 1905, the progression of saloon-design, and the influence of showgirls are important historical elements that should
be considered in any study of the evolution of Las Vegas Casino Culture and the countless people who helped its advancement.

Coin Face Showing Liberty Motto.

The age-old quest for quick-riches is a search for liberty and instant-freedom from limitations.
The early days of gaming in Old Las Vegas provided the ability to strike-it-rich from a simple coin bet.