Las Vegas (The Meadows)

Las Vegas & Clark County
  36.15914, -115.19236

"Another important marker fallen to the wayside. If I was forced to choose an MIA to bring back, of all the missing plaques in Clark County it would be this one ... #40, the very piece of history that roots Las Vegas ..." -- Journal Entry, March 2009

According to the State Marker System ...
"Located on West Charleston Avenue and Valley View Road in Las Vegas, Nevada."
Today, this marker is currently missing.

Original Date Visited: 3/17/09

Signed: No

Currently Missing -- Last Seen: November 1996
Here is yet another unfortunate case deriving from Las Vegas; if only I can say it's just a classic case of another MIA. Far from it, because this one had many historical connections to all of southern Nevada. In fact, [40] went hand-in-hand with just about every marker in Clark County, making mention of several references such as Antonio Armijo, the Old Spanish Trail, John C. Fremont, Mormon explorers, the Mormon Fort, and the Paiutes. This marker is a great loss to our system and many southern Nevadans who have been robbed of its insightful text. Sit tight because this is a long one.

Perhaps no other intersection in Las Vegas has undergone more renovation than the four-lane crossroads of Charleston and Valley View Boulevards. At the northeast corner of this intersection visitors will find the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) Headquarters, the former site of Marker 40 as listed on several NDOT maps. Nevada's largest city began renovations on the intersection around 2002, at the same time when the LVVWD Headquarters began reconstruction of their facility. From my research, landscapers came in and started full renovation on the entire northeast corner after the intersection had been widened by NDOT, and in all courses of renovation, Marker 40 most likely fell by the wayside. Yet here's an ironic twist: in 2007, five years after the marker's disappearance, the city of Las Vegas opened the new "Springs Preserve," a sight-seeing attraction and water park built around the real Las Vegas Spring, located a quarter mile to the northeast. Clearly, Clark County seems to remember the roots of Las Vegas! What's even funnier comes in 2010 when the State of Nevada released a license plate commemorating the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and the very context of this marker. Now I ask this ... What of the marker? We are hopeful that a replacement marker will be erected at this preserve in the near future. I say "replacement" because more chances than not the original #40 was destroyed, or likely collecting cobwebs in an NDOT garage.

Like nearby Marker 32, finding any information on [40] is a difficult process within the City of Las Vegas. The LVVWD erected a towering commemoration of the Las Vegas Meadows and Springs, complete with a vague description on its own plaque. To be honest, I spent more time looking for this one than any other MIA during my last conquest of Clark. In my quest, I searched nearby parks, schools, fire stations, museums, including the Nevada State Museum just up the road, and other applicable locations within a three square mile radius. Furthermore, the Archives in Carson City has very little information that catalogs this marker. Before I close the lid on this case, I advise my fellow questers against intruding or trying to acquire information around the LVVWD Headquarters. The grounds of the building are heavily guarded and security patrols this place day and night. Yours truly nearly found himself in a bit of trouble when the security officer approached him on a visit. I pulled into the grounds and security saw me walk up to both office entrances (closed at the time with notebook in hand). I did a little scouring on the grounds while taking notes of my findings in the parking lot. I informed him as to who I was and how far I'd come to find the marker. It didn't matter. He very bluntly told me to leave without another word. In the meantime, be one of the thousands of commuters who whiz by this intersection everyday. Rather than it go unnoticed, pay respect to this long-lost marker ... one that celebrated water -- the true fortune of the Silver State.

Exact Description:
The famous Las Vegas Springs rose from the desert floor here, sending two streams of water across the valley to nurture the native grasses and create lush meadows in the valley near Sunrise Mountain. The water gushed forth with such force that a man could not sink in the Springs. The natural oasis of meadow and mesquite forest was the winter homeland of Paiutes, who spent the summers in the Charleston Mountains.

An unknown Spanish-speaking sojourner, whether padre, trapper or trader, named Las Vegas "The Meadows," and marked it as such on a map of the Southwestern Desert.

Antonio Armijo stopped at the Springs in 1829-30, traveling a route which became known as the Old Spanish Trail. After 1830, the route was traveled by Spanish traders, emigrants and frontiersmen, who rested beside the Springs. On one of his western explorations trips, John C. Fremont camped here on May 3, 1844.

Because of artesian water here, Mormons established the Las Vegas Mission and Fort in 1855; the Valley became a huge cattle ranch from 1866 to 1904; and the San Pedro, Los Angeles, Salt Lake Railroad Company acquired water rights and land and created the City of Las Vegas in 1905.

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Related Links & Markers:

[35] -- Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort    [141] -- Old Spanish Trail (Armijo's Route)   [171] -- Chief Tecopa   [195] -- The Last Spike   Old Spanish Trail Association 

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