When you think of Las Vegas, you probably think of chiming slot machines, strippers, and the strip flanked by huge brightly lit casino hotels. But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, Las Vegas, Nevada was just this dusty little town that had a few low-profile casinos. Take a look back at vintage Las Vegas for some serious nostalgia.



Las Vegas, 1906

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The San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad was officially completed in 1905, and what was left behind was a cute little desert town far smaller than what you'd find today.

Fremont Street, 1921

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Fremont Street, which would later become the most happening part of Las Vegas, was little more than a small town main street in 1921.

Gambling Casino, 1935

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Because of the construction of the Hoover Dam in the early 1930s, there was a huge influx of people living and working in Las Vegas. Gambling was legalized in 1931 and casinos started popping up soon after.

Fremont Street, 1944

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Once casinos became such a big attraction, Fremont Street was the main drag that drew in gamblers.

Golden Nugget, 1950s

Neat Stuff

After World War II, there was a huge boom for Las Vegas gambling. So many new casinos and hotels popped up between 1946 and 1955, though still barely anything compared to what you see now.

Vegas Vic

Neat Stuff

The neon cowboy for the Pioneer Club, named Vegas Vic, was a staple of Fremont street. People who had never even been to Vegas could recognize him.

Las Vegas Casino, 1950s

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The interiors of casinos looked a lot different back then compared to now. For one thing, they were a lot brighter inside.

Showgirls

All That Is Interesting

Las Vegas showgirls were a huge attraction, and even the smallest casinos had shows.

Frank Sinatra, 1955

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In the 1950s, Las Vegas was frequented by a laundry list of big-name celebrities, and Frank Sinatra was a king among famous men.

Miss Atomic Bomb, 1957

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Vegas also drew people in with atomic bomb testing. They detonated their first atomic bomb in the desert outside of town, with a huge crowd watching in 1951. They went on to detonate over 100 bombs at the Nevada Test Site.

Fremont Street

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Over the years, Fremont street became more brightly lit. Neon signs filled the sky, many of which had moving parts like the famous cowboy sign.

Las Vegas From Above, 1964

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Las Vegas began to change. While Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas was the place to be, Las Vegas Boulevard, known as the Las Vegas Strip, became the new happening area to build huge casinos.

The Lights Of Las Vegas, 1966

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After a while, the lights on Fremont Street began to have a retro feel. It was seen as the old-fashioned part of Vegas.

Tanya The Elephant, 1966

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Vegas was not opposed to publicity stunts. When Tanya, an elephant that performed at the Dunes Hotel and Casino, played at the blackjack table, people loved it.

Woman Playing Craps, 1963.

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The late '60s brought a lot of racial tension in Las Vegas. Segregation was a national issue at the time.

Sahara, 1960s

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When city officials were slow to desegregate, the crime bosses that ran Las Vegas casinos put the pressure on. After all, they wanted to make more money by allowing everyone into their casinos, regardless of color.

Dunes Hotel

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When the 1970s came along, there was a huge boom in the Las Vegas population. More and more people were flocking to the casinos.

Entering Las Vegas, 1970s

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Since the Las Vegas strip became the mecca for gambling, they built this "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign in 1959. What's funny is that the Las Vegas Strip isn't actually in Las Vegas. It's just outside the city limits.

Caesar's Palace, 1971

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As time went on, hotels and casinos got bigger and more lavish. Caeser's Palace was the first completely themed hotel on the Strip.

Fremont Street, 1979

Gary Thompson/Las Vegas Review-Journal

People have mixed feelings about Las Vegas now. Gamblers love a night of losing money, but, as you can see from this graffiti, others think it's a town of moral decay. What do you think?