|Las Vegas sits in a high mountain meadow at an elevation of 6,470 feet.
The Rocky Mountains literally begin on the west side of town, and the
Great Plains begin on the east side of town.
Established by land grant in 1835, Las Vegas was originally
called Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Las Vegas Grandes (Our Lady of
the Sorrows of the Great Meadows). The history of Las Vegas is
influenced not only by many different cultures, but also by two major
forms of transportation. As a major trading point on the Santa Fe
Trail, Las Vegas became a prosperous Spanish town. As trade on the
trail increased, so did the variety of settlers in the town. When the
Atchikson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad bypassed the town by about a
mile, the city of East Las Vegas was established near the railroad
depot and both towns saw a brief period of major growth.
Today, Las Vegas is the home of a unique Northern New Mexican
Spanish community, influenced by Native American, Northern European,
and Jewish cultures, among many others. There are over 900 buildings in
town on the National Register of Historic Places, with examples of
everything from Spanish adobe to Victorian architecture. We are proud
of our history, and we try to reflect our heritage in every aspect of
our town. Welcome.