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HIST 302 (Figanbaum) Public History

Public history

Books on early Las Vegas history


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Native American perspectives

Oral Histories in Special Collections

Memoirs and oral histories of pioneer residents such as C.P. SquiresFlorence Boyer Squires, and Leon Rockwell also provide insight into these early years. All books are cataloged and can be searched in the library catalog.

Manuscript and photograph collections

Manuscript and Photograph Collections

The most comprehensive historical records of the earliest days of the town of Las Vegas are those of the Union Pacific Railroad, whose precursor, the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad, built the line on which it laid out a small town to service its trains. It is impossible to separate the town from the railroad in these early years and the extensive documentation created by this most bureaucratized of corporations assured a detailed record of all the details of building a town, from renting lots, building houses, and railroad buildings, to providing and distributing water through its subsidiary Las Vegas Land and Water Co.

Family papers and photograph collections provide a more personal perspective on this early history. They include the Las Vegas “pioneers” families who in some instances were its first settlers, established its first businesses and over the generations provided its leaders. Besides being active participants in this history several were avid local history buffs, very aware of their own history and the adventure of settling a new frontier, and consequently amateur historical collectors. The most notable of these collections are from the Rockwell, StewartSquires, Bracken, Ferron, Wilson, Von Tobel, Lake, Eglington, and George families. 

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