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About the Collection

Collection Paragraphs


The Historic Landscape of Nevada: Development, Water and the Natural Environment (HLN) is a collection of original materials in a variety of formats, from many different sources and perspectives. The materials, which were selected entirely from UNLV Libraries Special Collections and Archives, document the landscape of Southern Nevada and the history of man's interaction with it. The text of the website offers a contextual framework for the project and its collections. It is designed to provide a narrative structure, to identify and explain a number of issues and themes, and to provoke questions and subjects for further inquiry.



There were three main objectives in selecting and presenting these collections:

  • The first objective was to provide a visual record, through photographs and maps of the landscape of Southern Nevada. These images serve to document the changes as Las Vegas grew into an urban metropolitan area.
  • The second objective was to provide, through original records, the history of water management in the Las Vegas Valley. This history illustrates a number of issues related to water management and urban development:  water rights and water quality,  the construction and extension of an urban water distribution system, and the politics of public vs. private ownership of water.
  • The third objective was to provide a digital repository for published technical and scientific reports related to geology, water supply, and water quality in the Las Vegas Valley. Although the collection of reports is not comprehensive, it does make available online as many of the most critical studies related to water in Southern Nevada. We hope to continue adding to this digital repository, which is maintained in the Library’s Digital Scholarship site.



Seldom is a collection or body of collections comprehensive for any subject. We have attempted, however, to present a very wide variety of representative materials, selected objectively, with the intention of providing a rich and diverse documentation of significant historical and informational value. The materials can be used as a self-contained collection or as an introduction and sample of the original collections. The original resources can be consulted further in Special Collections and Archives and the UNLV Libraries. We welcome any input as to the content of the project or suggestions about the inclusion of other relevant collections.


Related collections

HLN complements and can be used in conjunction with other UNLV digital collections:



The HLN website text was written by Peter Michel, Director of Special Collections and Archives, with the assistance of Aaron McArthur, the Project Archivist. The educational component to the project was created and written by Christy Keeler, PhD, with assistance from Peter Michel in creating the primary source packets.

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