Old Spanish Trail (1829-1850)

Las Vegas & Clark County
  36.18234, -115.12906

"So in order to capture this one, I had to park a quarter mile from its supposed location. All that walking ... and the mouth of bad lib I received was all for nothing. The moment I pulled onto this intersection I knew full well this one was going to be gone. You know those feelings you get when you know the first hurdle is just a prelude to a bag full of hurdles? ..." -- Journal Entry, March 2009

According to the State Marker System ...
"Located in Fantasy Park, 1/4 mile east of Las Vegas Boulevard North and Washington Street in Las Vegas, Nevada."
Today, this marker is currently missing.

Original Date Visited: 3/17/09

Signed: No

Currently Missing -- Last Seen: February 1995
Once upon a time (twenty years ago to be exact) there was a shaded haven in the middle of metropolis called "Fantasy Park" - a small shaded bench at the intersection of Washington and Las Vegas Blvd. Fantasy "Park" (if you can call it that) was a small green, centered around Marker 32 in a stone memorial complete with picnic tables and another adjacent grassy area for kids and pets. For a short time, Fantasy Park even housed a small statue commemorating the Old Spanish Trail! The growth of Sin-City has blown away all expectations in the state of Nevada and said urbanization is our main nemesis of the story. The growth of the downtown area quickly overwhelmed Fantasy Park when Clark County Roads renovated this intersection sometime in the late 90s - decimating the little park and the marker along with it.

Today at "Washington and Las Vegas Blvd," hunters will be find the montrous Grant Sawyer Building, a huge state building with gates, passwords, and all the above requiring permission. On my conquering of Clark in 2009, I inquired at the front gate by stating who I was and how far I had come to capture the marker. I also knew a few people from NDOT and I stated their names to hopefully help things along. I requested simply that I wanted nothing more than to walk the grounds for a few minutes to locate "an old and important historic marker for Carson City." To double my chances, I even offered them my driver's license as collateral and prove that I wasn't a fiend. The attendant interrupted boldly with ..."Only state officials are allowed through the gates. You have to leave."

With that said, I contacted fellow marker hunter, Gary Bodell from the Lincoln County Branch NDOT, a state official who has had access to the Grant Sawyer Building in the past. Turns out at least my experience wasn't in vain. He emailed me a few days later stating ... "No marker on the complex. We got our hopes up." Later, I uncovered a rumor that [32] was "probably lying in a rubble pile at a nearby Clark County maintenance station." However, I find this to be highly unlikely considering that the marker is a rare "Classic" plaque which would need to be removed the state statue. In my opinion, this would entail too much effort on count of the road department during the renovation. A week later, I researched the Nevada State Archives back home in Carson City to shed if even a tiny bit more light on this case. What I found, however, was extremely vague. Apparently, the builders of the complex tried to "work around the sign" (1995) probably knowing full well that if the marker was destroyed, it would never again be replaced. By more or less connecting the dots without confusing apples for bananas, this notion is promising considering the builders' reluctance to rid of the marker! Given the historic importance of the Old Spanish Trail and recent makeovers for many markers throughout the state, [32] might have been resurrected in some form, most likely either via a metal plaque or some other type of plaque located somewhere among the busy bustle of downtown Vegas. The problem is, I've never met a person who could truly find a needle in a haystack, especially when the haystack is as extravagant as downtown. Fantasy Park was a perfect location for this marker because the Old Spanish Trail roughly followed the path of current North Las Vegas Blvd and a few short segments of Washington Street. From this intersection, the Trail followed the path of Main Street, then down the Strip to about Flamingo Ave before turning northwest onto Charleston Blvd. The marker could be anywhere along this path, keyword: COULD. It's unlikely the marker was replaced within the Grant Sawyer Complex given the building's privacy. My other hunches could be about a mile east of the present intersection, but on my conquering, I went in circles for at least a day searching and inquiring to no avail. Until [32] finds its way back onto the downtown scene, pay your respects to this very old historic marker, one representative of our state's first great transport.

Exact Description:
Stretching for 130 miles across Clark County, this historic horse trail became Nevada's first route of commerce in 1829 when trade was initiated between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The trail was later used by the wagons of the "49ers" and Mormon pioneers. Concrete posts marking the trail were erected in 1965.

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Related Links & Markers:

 Old Spanish Trail Association   Old Spanish Trail: Review Journal 

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