How Well Do You Know Old Las Vegas?

WORLD

By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Edward N. Edstrom

About This Quiz

There's more to Las Vegas than the 12 million lights that make the Strip visible from outer space. For every dollar gambled at the city's casinos, there's a historical tidbit that's worth more than gold. Travel back to the Old Mormon Fort and walk your way into today to see how much you know about it. Out of 35 questions, how many will you wager you'll get right?

You don't need to belly up to the blackjack table to know your Vegas stuff! All you need to have is a real love for American history and a fascination with the city's unique culture. As you go through this quiz, you'll have to read the questions carefully. With so many mobsters, casinos and a birth like no other town, it can be easy to place your chips on the wrong response. No matter how much you already know, you'll break even in the end. 

From the Hotel Nevada to the MGM Grand, Las Vegas has more to offer than most places. It's easy to forget that the town rose out of nowhere into the thriving hotspot that it is now. Challenge yourself to get all the questions right, but remember what happens there stays there. Will you do as well as you think you'll do? 

Also called "the old Strip," what Vegas street started it all?

With the first fort, the first railway stop and the first hotel, Fremont Street has a legacy all its own. Located only a few minutes from the now-famous Strip, it has been transformed into an area called Old Las Vegas.

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Who was the famous mobster responsible for building the Flamingo?

After burning all his bridges in New York and Chicago, Bugsy Siegel set out to rebrand himself in Las Vegas. Named after his dancer girlfriend, he used plenty of mob money to open the Flamingo.

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Which of these things was made legal on Fremont Street in 1931?

Now incorporated for 20 years, Las Vegas officials set out to regulate some of the activities already taking place in the area. In 1931, laws that kept gambling illegal were lifted and a new era of Vegas was born.

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Called "The Atomic Powered Singer," Elvis first performed in which iconic, planetary lounge?

Along with Sinatra, Elvis' stardom helped to shape Las Vegas into being the self-proclaimed Entertainment Capital of the World." His first performance there took place in 1956 in the Venus Room area of the New Frontier hotel.

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Vegas Vic welcomes visitors to Fremont Street using what type of lights?

One of the most iconic Vegas images, Vegas Vic is one of the largest animated signs in the world. Since 1951, his neon lights welcome visitors to the older part of the city. He was the first non-typeface neon sign to light up the old Strip.

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Before becoming known as "The Strip," what was the area's name?

As Glitter Gulch kept expanding, Highway 91 became the next logical place to start building more casinos. Home to more than 12 million lights these days, you can see the famous Strip from space.

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It's been operational since 1906. What's the name of the oldest hotel in Las Vegas?

With railroad workers needing a place to stay, it only made sense that hotels began to be built on the line. The first, the Hotel Nevada, was built in 1906. It eventually became the first casino when it was turned into the Golden Gate in the 1930s.

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What famous group first performed at The Sands in 1960 and helped put Vegas on the map?

Frank Sinatra had been performing in Las Vegas for nearly a decade before the rest of the Rat Pack joined him. Over four weeks during 1960, 34,000 people came to see them live at The Sands.

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The 1931 construction of which major attraction caused the population to boom?

Every year, over seven million people visit the Hoover Dam that sits approximately 30 miles from the Vegas strip. During construction, workers raised the population of the small town from 5,000 to 25,000 citizens.

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The FBI got concrete proof of mob activity when which mob boss was shot in 1957?

By 1957, mobsters were using legitimate funding sources like Wall Street. Up until Frank Costello was shot with a ledger in his pocket, the police had little proof of their illicit activities.

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Do you have any idea what nickname was given to a portion of Fremont Street in 1946?

Once major hotel-casinos were starting to define Fremont Street and merchants were taking advantage of cheap hydroelectric power, the area began to glow at night. In 1946, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce nicknamed it "Glitter Gulch."

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Which North American desert is near Clark County, where Las Vegas resides?

Nevada is situated in the American southwestern region, which is home to four deserts. The city of Las Vegas sits just 58 miles from the Mojave desert, and it's considered an oasis.

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What's the name of the first-ever hotel-casino to open up just outside of Las Vegas' Fremont Street?

The Hotel Nevada was the first hotel opened in Las Vegas, but it didn't offer gambling until it became the Golden Gate. The El Rancho Vegas was built in 1941 and became the town's first-ever licensed hotel-casino combo. It's still in operation today.

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Do you have any idea what the name Las Vegas means?

Las Vegas might be known as the City of Lights, Sin City and the Entertainment Capital of the World. Its name means "The Meadows," though. When Mexican explorers discovered it in 1824, it was nothing more than flat land with a few natural springs.

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What religious group were amongst the first settlers in Las Vegas?

Around 1855, Mormon leader Brigham Young wanted to expand outposts in the Southwest. In addition to settling in San Bernardino, California, the area that's now known as Las Vegas was also chosen.

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Can you figure out the name of the first non-native structure that still sits on Las Vegas Boulevard?

One of the things that drew Mormon settlers to Las Vegas was a natural source of water. A small creek allowed settlers to irrigate fields, and the 150-square foot Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort was erected. You can still see it in the downtown area.

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What industry came along and put Las Vegas on the map in 1905?

Although the Mormons eventually abandoned their settlement in Las Vegas, the railroad industry brought life to the area again in 1905. The Las Vegas and Tonopah built 150 buildings and created a stop there.

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Only five years after trains came to town, Las Vegas was incorporated in what year?

Now with a railway stop and hotels, Las Vegas had grown enough to become a fully functioning town. In 1910, lawmakers made it official by incorporating the town. No one could have predicted how large it would become!

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Which of these mobsters functioned as an investment partner to Bugsy Siegel?

Siegel was shunned by many, but long-time partner Meyer Lansky had no fear of following him to Vegas. After Siegel's untimely demise, he and other crime family members fulfilled Siegel's vision for the city by going on to build casinos like Caesar's Palace and The Tropicana.

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Is it true or false that Bugsy Siegel's murderer confessed to the 1947 act?

To this day, no one knows who is responsible for the 1947 murder of Bugsy Siegel. Rumors still abound about the possibilities, and one popular attraction tells a tale that still leaves minds wondering what really happened.

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It was recently rebuilt, but what's the name of the first movie theater on Fremont Street?

In 1928, the El Portal Theatre was built on the former site of Fremont Street's Airdome. In addition to being the first theatre in the city, it was also the first air-conditioned building.

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During what year was the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign put up?

No trip to Las Vegas is complete without a picture at the original welcome sign. Made from steel, it stands less than a mile from major casinos. Each one of its circles is said to represent a silver dollar because Nevada's nickname is the Silver State.

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Famous for directing films like "Hell's Angels," what Hollywood legend began investing in Las Vegas in the late '60s?

When Howard Hughes breezed into town in 1966, he landed with a keen interest in mind. First, he purchased the Desert Inn; then, he continued with his streak by buying up the Sands, the Frontier and the Landmark.

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Before opening in 1966, which new hotel-casino had $42 million worth of advanced bookings?

In the very early days, servers and greeters at Caesar's Palace were told to say, "I'm your slave." That is no longer a practice, and the legendary Vegas hot spot now has 3,300 rooms and a theater that seats almost 4,300.

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On May 1, 1967, which of the world's favorite singers married his younger bride at the Aladdin?

Elvis Presley was not a member of the Rat Pack, but he was also one of Vegas' favorite performers. You can follow Elvis and Priscilla's lead and marry with few restrictions in Vegas. If you choose, you can have an Elvis impersonator officiate your nuptials.

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If you look up while walking down Fremont Street, what will you see?

When you look up on Fremont Street, you'll see the world's largest single video screen. Called a barrel canopy and boasting a 1,500 x 90-foot screen, the unique feature got a $32 million makeover in 2019.

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What Las Vegas act became a magical staple for the Tropicana starting in 1973?

After the glamour of the '60s faded, investors were looking for new ways to attract crowds. Newcomers Siegfried and Roy began performing at the Tropicana. Their illusions and their tigers started an entertainment revolution on the Strip.

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A major upgrade brought even more visitors to the city by 1979. What was it?

Before adding an international terminal to McCarran Field into a major air hub, it was a lot of hard work to arrive in Vegas. The addition of the terminal made the city more accessible to visitors from around the world.

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Any idea what sort of upgrade Fremont Street got in 1925?

Before 1925, the dusty, unpaved streets in Las Vegas looked exactly like something out of the Wild West. Once they were paved, it added an air of sophistication that helped move Fremont Street forward.

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Steve Wynn helped to put Vegas on the map with the 1989 construction of what hotel-casino?

Coming in at $630 million, Steve Wynn's decision to build the Mirage was quite the gamble. The first of Vegas hotels to feature fountains, top chefs and glamour to the hilt, it set the stage for the Vegas we know today.

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Can you figure out which early '90s hotel used a medieval theme to tap into the family vacation market?

Hot on the heels of Steve Wynn's success with the Mirage, other investors decided to take advantage of the upswing by marketing towards families. The Excalibur's grandeur and all-age activities are still a hallmark of the city.

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Built in 1998, which casino's fountains are one of the most visited sites in the city?

The Bellagio's construction totaled $88 million, and its famous fountains were only a portion of it. Every 15-30 minutes, they erupt into an aquatic symphony that tourists cannot resist.

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Opened in 1956, what's the name of the first high rise to be built on Fremont Street?

Built by Sam Levinson, Fremont Street rose to new heights when the Fremont Hotel Casino came into town. Small by today's standards, it's still in operation and boasts 447 rooms that are ideal for an old Las Vegas experience.

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What 1930s Fremont Street hotspot knocked a hole in the wall to allow patrons to order food?

The Barrel House Beer Garden hosted nightly orchestras and drew large crowds. With prohibition in full swing, the owners decided to cut a hole in the wall so that patrons could order food from the next restaurant over. If you were lucky, you could impress the owner and be served a drink, too.

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What name was given to the first red light district just outside of Fremont Street?

Located only one block from Fremont Street, Block 16 was established in 1941. The brothels did well until the U.S. Air Force opened and decided that it needed to be shut down to keep airmen out of trouble.

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