Timeline

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900 - Southern Paiute inhabit the Las Vegas Valley
1829 Raphael Rivera, a member of Antonio Armijo party, passes through the Las Vegas Valley
1844 Vegas appears on survey map of John FremontJohn C. Fremont travels though the Las Vegas Valley. The name Vegas appears for the first time on a published map, printed to accompany the account of Fremont's expedition which includes a description of the Las Vegas springs.
1847 Mormon scout Jefferson Hunt passes though the Las Vegas Valley.
1855

Mormon mission map June 14: Mormon missionaries arrive in the Las Vegas Valley, establish a farming colony on the spring-fed creek,  and construct a fort to protect themselves from neighboring Paiutes.

1858 Mormon Fort and colony is abandoned  after missionaries are recalled by Brigham Young.
1865 Former miner, Octavius D. Gass acquires the land of the old Mormon Fort and settlement, which becomes known as the Las Vegas Ranch.
1869 Survey mapsA survey team from the U.S. Geographical Survey West of the 100th Meridian, led by Lieutenant George M. Wheeler,  traverses southern Nevada through the Las Vegas valley.  
1878 July: O.D. Gass records in his day book that the Colorado River had fallen 4 feet
1881 Stewart ranchRancher Archibald Stewart takes over the Las Vegas Ranch when  O. D. Gass defaults on his loan.
1900 In Los Angeles, Senator William A. Clark of Montana incorporates the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad determined to build a railroad connecting Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
  May: Silver discovered in Tonopah
1902 Gold discovered in Goldfield. Mining boom in southern Nevada.
 

January: H.M. McCartney, chief engineer for Clark’s SP,LA&SL Railroad writes to Senator Clark’s brother, J. Ross, in Los Angeles, that the Stewart Ranch is the best land in the Las Vegas Valley with  its springs which would give the railroad control of all the water it required.

  Mobots thumbnail October: William Clark signs contract with Helen Stewart for purchase of the Stewart Ranch with its water rights for $55,000. The railroad hires local surveyor J.T. McWilliams to survey the ranch.

1904

April: Railroad officials discuss potential townsite at Las Vegas
 

October: SP, LA & SL rail line reaches Las Vegas from Caliente

 

December: Surveyor J. T. McWilliams purchases eighty acres of land on the west side of the railroad tracks and begins selling lots in his “Las Vegas Original Townsite.”

1905 January 30: Rail line completed to Los Angeles, first through train passes through Las Vegas
  February 7: Deseret News in Salt Lake City quotes J.Ross Clark, speaking on behalf of the railroad, who points out that McWilliams townsite has no water and no access to the railroad. Similar stories appear in the Los Angeles newspapers

 

April: The railroad incorporates the Las Vegas Land and Water Company to manage its new townsite and its water production and distribution.
  Las Vegas Townsite auction May 15: The Railroad holds an auction in Las Vegas to sell town lots in the new Clark’s Townsite
  November 11: Vegas Artesian Water Syndicate organized by residents to dig test wells, the wells to be sold with adjacent land to farmers.

 

January 30: Rail line completed to Los Angeles, first through train passes through Las Vegas
1906 Walter BrackenDecember: Walter Bracken becomes Las Vegas agent for the railroad and for the  Las Vegas Land and Water Company.
1907 July: First successful artesian well drilled in Las Vegas.
1909 July 1: Clark County created from Lincoln County.
  November 1: Las Vegas City Commission grants a franchise to the Las Vegas Land and Water Company to install, maintain, and operate a water system.  
1910 January 1: One hundred miles of the San Pedro, Los Angeles, & Salt Lake Railroad are washed out by a flood in the Meadow Valley Wash.
 

In this year it is reported that 100 deep wells have been dug, of which 75 were flowing. Also 25 shallow wells most water from deep wells used for irrigation and there were about 5 well established ranches

1911 March 17:  Nevada Legislature passes bill incorporating the city of Las Vegas. 
1911 November 11: Las Vegas Population: 800, Clark County Population: 3,321
1912 Las Vegas residents pass a $40,000 sewer bond issue.
1919 Nevada Legislature passes a law forbidding any public utility to install or operate water meters in towns with a population greater than 4,500.
1920 Governor Emmitt D. Boyle creates the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.
  Las Vegas Population: 2,304, Clark County Population: 8,045. 
1921 Bureau of Reclamation engineer Walker Young moves the location of the proposed dam from the original site in Boulder Canyon to the narrower Black Canyon.
  Lorenzi ParkDavid Lorenzi finishes the first of two lakes on his property which would become the Twin Lakes Resort.
1922 November 24: Colorado River Compact signed at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  Great Railroad Strike. Las Vegas rail yards and machine shops besieged by strikers. Railroad requests state troopers to protect railroad property. Most people in Las Vegas support the strikers. After the strike the railroad moves its machine shops to Caliente. 
1923 Governor Scrugham appoints a new Colorado River Commission.
1924 Railroad drills its first well, Well No. 1, near the Las Vegas Springs.
1926 Lorenzi Park poolMay:  David Lorenzi completes a 90x100 foot swimming pool with a fountain in the center and opens the Twin Lakes Resort to the public.
1928 Boulder Dam visualizationDecember 21: U.S. Congress passes the Swing-Johnson Act, authorizing the construction of Boulder (Hoover) Dam.
1929 2.5 million gallon covered reservoir completed at Las Vegas Springs.
1930 Las Vegas Population 5,165, Clark County Population 8,530.
1930-1938

Construction of flood control works in the Moapa and Virgin river valleys by Civilian Conservation Corps under the aegis the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various state, district and county agencies.

  February 21: City of Las Vegas grants a 50 year franchise to the Las Vegas Land and Water Company.
  September 17: Union Pacific Railroad completes branch to Hoover Dam site.
1931 George Hardman, Director of the State Agricultural Experiment Station, after 10 years of studying ground water supplies for irrigation, reports that the recharge of the aquifer was limited and that conservation of ground water  should be practiced.
  April 20: Construction of Hoover Dam begins.
1932 November 14:  Colorado River diverted for Hoover Dam construction.
1934 Public agitation for the City of Las Vegas to acquire the water production facilities of the Las Vegas Land and Water Company.
  July 18: First emergency city ordinance limiting waste and irrigating hours passed.  One would be passed nearly every summer for the next twenty years.
1935

City elections. Elected slate of candidates run on a platform vigorously advocating public ownership of both water and electricity.

  February 1: Hoover Dam began impounding water.
  June 22: Las Vegas City commission passes resolution asking citizens to conserve water “and that they avoid any waste or unnecessary use of the City’s water supply . . .” 
  September 30: Hoover Dam dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1936 Union Pacific railroad drills Well No. 2 near the Las Vegas Springs.
  Summer: Las Vegas Police Department assigns an officer to enforce watering restrictions with fines or jail time.
1937 October 1 North Las Vegas water system finished.
1938 March: Heavy flooding in the Moapa Valley
1939 Union Pacific Railroad drills Wells 3 & 4 near the Las Vegas Springs.
  March: Nevada Legislature passes law requiring a permit for every well drilled.
1940 Las Vegas Population: 8,422, Clark County Population: 16,414.
1941 The El Rancho Vegas, the  first “strip” resort outside the city limits on Highway 91, opens.  the El Cortez and the Hotel Last Frontier announced. 
  March: Construction begins on the Las Vegas Army Air Field.
  Union Pacific Railroad drills Wells 5 and 6 near the Las Vegas Springs. 
  Basic Magnesium plant aerial view September: Construction begins on Basic Magnesium plant in Henderson.
1942-1944 Union Pacific Railroad drills five new wells.
  March 28: 40-inch pipeline from Lake Mead to Basic Magnesium completed.
 

July: Population of Clark County surpasses Washoe County (Reno) for the first time.

1944 Flow from the Las Vegas  Springs drops from 4.5 cubic feet per second in 1924, to 2.5 c.f/sec. 
  November 3: State Engineer Alfred Merritt Smith informs the Chamber of Commerce that “Las Vegas is running out of water.”
  November 15: Basic Magnesium closes.
1945 Las Vegas Land and Water Company begins work on a 1.5 million gallon reservoir.
  St. Thomas, Nevada emerges from the waters of Lake Mead.
1946 Aerial view of Colorado RiverConstruction begins on Davis Dam on the Colorado.
  October 8:  Walter Bracken retires after forty years as Agent for the Las Vegas Land and Water Company.
1947 Map of the proposed water districtMarch 27: Nevada Legislature passes Act to Create a Water District in the Las Vegas Valley.
  August: Public meeting in Las Vegas to form a public water district.
1948 Newspaper clipping, water waste prohibitedLas Vegas City Commission passes ordinances forbidding the waste of water, providing for a $50 fine of 25 days in jail for its violation.
 

State Engineer reports that withdrawals from the Las Vegas Aquifer equal recharge. The aquifer is being depleted.

  March: Nellis Air Force Base reactivated.
  October 19: Special election held to elect officers for the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
  November 4: First official meeting of the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
1949 Newspaper clipping, install water metersNevada S. 93, a bill to repeal water metering restrictions, defeated.
1950 Las Vegas mapLas Vegas Population: 24,624, Clark County Population: 48,289.
 

Nevada Test Site and vicinity mapDecember: President Harry Truman approves the establishment of a continental nuclear proving ground 65 miles north of Las Vegas to be known as the Nevada Test Site.

1951 Effort to repeal water metering prohibition defeated again in the state legislature.
1952 Las Vegas Valley Water District begins negotiations for purchase of the Las Vegas Land and Water Company.
  Lake Mead water intake for Basic Magnesium Inc.May 23: Basic Magnesium-Water District agreement for purchase of water from Basic’s Lake Mead Pipeline signed.
1953 Draft of Agreement regarding the sale of Las Vegas water facilitiesJune 1: Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Las Vegas Land and Water Company agree to sale of the company’s water production facilities.
  Draft bond agreementSeptember 30: Voters approve the Las Vegas Valley Water District’s $8.7 million bond issue.
1954

Las Vegas pipelines and power plants July 1: Las Vegas Land and Water Company’s water production facilities transferred to the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

1955

September 22: Water District begins pumping water from Lake Mead into the Las Vegas water system.

 

News release, authority to use water metersOctober 25: Water District begins installing water meters after Nevada Attorney General issues the opinion that the state’s metering prohibition does not apply to water districts.

1960

Las Vegas aerial viewLas Vegas Population: 64,405, Clark County Population: 127,016.