1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS, a city and the county-seat of San Miguel county, New Mexico, U.S.A., in the north central part of New Mexico, on the Gallinas river, and 83 m. by rail E. of Santa Fé. Though usually designated as a single municipality, Las Vegas consists of two distinct corporations, the old town on the W. bank of the river and the city proper on the E. bank. Pop. of the city (1890) 2385; (1900) 3552 (340 being foreign-born and 116 negroes); (1910) 3755. According to local estimates, the combined population of the city and the old town in 1908 was 10,000. Las Vegas is served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé railway, and its division headquarters in New Mexico. The city lies in a valley at the foot of the main range of the Rocky Mountains, and is about 6400 ft. above the sea. There are high peaks to the W. and within a short distance of the city much beautiful mountain scenery, especially along the "Scenic Route," a highway from Las Vegas to Santa Fé, traversing the Las Vegas canyon and the Pecos Valley forest reserve. The country E. of the city consists of level plains. The small amount of rainfall, the great elevation and the southern latitude give the region a dry and rarified air, and Las Vegas is a noted health resort. Six miles distant, and connected with the city by rail, are the Las Vegas Hot Springs. The old town on the W. bank of the Gallinas river retains many features of a Mexican village, with low adobe houses facing narrow and crooked streets. Its inhabitants are largely of Spanish-American descent. The part on the E. bank or city proper is thoroughly modern, with well-graded streets, many of them bordered with trees. The most important public institutions are the New Mexico insane asylum, the New Mexico normal university (chartered 1893, opened 1898), the county court house (in the old town), the academy of the Immaculate Conception, conducted by the sisters of Loretto, Saint Anthony's sanatorium, maintained by the Sisters of Charity, La Salle institute, conducted by the Christian Brothers, a Presbyterian mission school and a Methodist manual training and commercial school. There are railway machine-shops, and various manufactories. Las Vegas lies in the centre of an extensive grazing region, has large stockyards and annually ships great quantities of wool. Three of the local newspapers are published in Spanish. Las Vegas was founded in 1835, under the government of the Mexican Republic. On the 15th of August 1846, during the war between Mexico and the United States, Gen. Stephen W. Kearny entered the town, and its alcalde took the oath of allegiance to the United States. There was but little progress or development until the arrival of the railway in 1879. In 1888 the part east of the river was incorporated as a town under the name of East Las Vegas, and in 1896 it was chartered as the city of Las Vegas. The old Las Vegas, west of the river, was incorporated as a town in 1903.