1930s: A New Reputation


A Premonition

An editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal states, "We believe that Las Vegas today stands on the very threshold of that unparalleled development from which she is to emerge the metropolis of the state of Nevada and one of the great industrial centers of the West."


Let Gaming Reign!

Chamber officials, as representatives of the Las Vegas business community, work alongside representatives from Northern Nevada to lift the ban on gaming, as well as relax marriage and divorce laws. Nevada legislation repeals the act banning gaming, and Mayme Stocker's Northern Club is the first official gaming license procured.


A Vision

Jack Albright is commissioned by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce to build a model of the yet-unfinished Hoover Dam. It is then displayed at the Los Angeles County Fair to attract tourists to the Hoover Dam.


The First Post Office

The first federal building and first U.S. post office open in Las Vegas with help from the Chamber of Commerce. Chamber officials lobby Nevada senators to obtain the funds for these projects from appropriations. Charles "Pop" Squires, the "Father of Las Vegas," is one of these instrumental Chamber leaders.


Helldorado Days

The first Helldorado Days festival is established in large part to the Cashman family. It markets Las Vegas as a vacation destination. Two of the complexes that house the event, Helldorado Village and Cashman Field, help set the stage for expanding Las Vegas' reputation as a destination city.


A Landmark Is Dedicated

On September 30, 1935, Hoover Dam is formally dedicated by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attends the ceremony. Despite several challenges, labor issues, and temperatures that rose to 120 degrees during the summer months, the dam is completed ahead of schedule. It rises 726 feet above the Colorado River and ends the valley's cycle of vicious flooding and drought, and provides renewable energy for the growing Southwest.




Marriage & Divorce in the Desert

Ria Langham, wife of film star Clark Gable, comes to town to procure a divorce. She stays the required six weeks to establish residency, plays in the casinos, cruises on Lake Mead, and speaks publicly about her famous husband. Noting that the press had taken an interest in the story, Chamber president Bob Kaltenborn convinces the Chamber to spend $500 on an experimental publicity campaign. The Chamber issues a single press release extolling Nevada's liberal divorce and marriage laws, as well as nearby scenic attractions and indoor entertainment. "The return in publicity astounded...Kaltenborn and everybody else," a Review-Journal writer would recall some 10 years later. Not only did Las Vegas become known for its liberal divorce proceedings, but became even more notorious as a marriage hotspot, especially for celebrities.