Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Hist

  • Old-Las-Vegas-Mormon-Fort-Hist


Old Vegas Mormon State Historic Park Attraction is located in downtown Las Vegas, at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Washington Avenue.  See park hours below.   An entrance fee is charged to enter the fort. The first permanent non-native settlers in the Las Vegas Valley were a group of Mormon missionaries who built an adobe fort along

Las Vegas Creek in 1855.  They successfully farmed the area by diverting water from the creek.  Today, the park includes a remnant of the original adobe fort, which contains interpretive displays.   The Visitor Center contains exhibits on the history of the site, as well as historic artifacts.  Historic interpretation is and will remain the focus of the park.  There are series of programs throughout the summer.  The “Friends of the Fort” also provide a series of programs throughout the year.   For more information about the “Friends of the Fort”

One hundred and fifty years ago, a spring-fed creek flowed through this valley, creating an oasis in the desert. With only free-flowing water and grass for miles around, it attracted the native Paiute people as well as traders, emigrants and gold seekers traveling the Old Spanish Trail to California. The Spaniards called the place Las Vegas B The Meadows.

In June of 1855, William Bringhurst and 29 fellow Mormon missionaries from Utah arrived at this site and began construction of a 150-foot square adobe fort, the first permanent structure erected in the valley. The Mormon outpost, complete with post office, served as a way station for travelers. The creek provided irrigation for fields and orchards. Lead was later discovered in the mountains to the southwest, and the mission was expanded to include mining and smelting, but the effort proved unsuccessful.

After less than 2 years, the Mormon effort was abandoned after dissension arose between two of the local leaders, adding to discouragement of many in the group with the hot summer climate. In 1865, Octavious D. Gass bought the site and developed a large-scale ranch that included a small store and blacksmith shop to serve travelers and produce for nearby mining communities.

In 1881, Gass defaulted on the mortgage note and ownership of the ranch passed to Archibald and Helen Stewart. Although Archibald was killed in a gunfight in 1884, Helen an her father continued to operate the ranch.

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