They say Las Vegas was once more wicked than Dodge City. When you know the history of its historic plaza area, the more modern parts of Las Vegas may seem almost pious.
Among the notorious residents who once lived in Las Vegas were such "legends of the Old West" as: dentist Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Mysterious Dave Mather, Hoodoo Brown, Durango Kid, and "Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler."
When the Santa Fe Railway came, Las Vegas grew into one of the largest cities in the Southwest. Some 100 years ago, Las Vegas even had an electric street railway and an opera house.
You can still experience historic Las Vegas by visiting its Mexican-style plaza surrounded by a wonderful collection of western-style buildings.
Many films and television shows were shot in and around the area, including scenes from Diamonds Are Forever, Easy Rider, and No Country for Old Men.
In the photo above, a wedding party poses on a warm autumn afternoon. For picnics, there are benches and a lawn but no tables.
I love the old buildings on the plaza. These are occupied by local businesses, not national chains.
Just to the left of the building above, Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders held their first reunion at the now renovated Plaza Hotel in 1899.
Of course, you realize that I am talking about the other Las Vegas, Las Vegas, New Mexico. This New Mexican town sits some 70 miles east of Santa Fe, NM, along Interstate 25.
To reach the Plaza, take one of the three Las Vegas exits off Interstate 25 and follow the signs or ask a local to point you to the plaza. In addition, the Amtrak Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles serves Las Vegas.
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