Rafael Rivera

Las Vegas & Clark County

"It's no wonder people have no idea that this marker exists. You're more likely to get rear-ended trying to pull in here than find this marker on your own. This ridiculous location pretty personifies the horrid placement issues across the state. And what a shame. Rafael Rivera ... such an important historical figure in southern Nevada represented by a badly placed historical marker that almost nobody sees! What's even worse is that this location makes no sense in reference to Rivera or his doings. This one's easy. Place this one on the far outskirts of the city so we can "feel" the region that Rivera had crossed. Sloan would be an excellent location or a bit further down Las Vegas Boulevard near Jean. Anything has got to be better than this. ... Like a snow cone to calm my frustrations." -- Journal Entry, March 2009

Along Mountain Vista St, 1/4 mile south of E. Russell Road. -- Las Vegas
* Find this one at an empty turnout on the northbound side of the street *

Original Date Visited: 3/15/09

Signed: No

Notes: Other resources for Nevada historical markers will tell you the directions for this marker is as reads: "off Mountain Vista Road at the entrance to Vo-Tech School." Let me tell you boys and girls -- you won't find this marker anywhere near the entrance to that school. For one, the "Vo-Tech School" is a private facility, with public access strictly prohibited. And most importantly, the entrance is at least a half mile in the opposite direction of this marker. Once again, depend on me to bring you the correct location.

This marker is an annoying one! [214] suffers from a common condition among Nevada markers that I've named, "tough visibility syndrome." You'll see quickly why I diagnosed this marker with this condition. To make matters worse, it's often dangerous trying to spot the darned thing; motorists using Mountain Vista usually aren't expecting a marker hunter to be cruising by looking for it. After all is said and done, here's how to conquer this one with the syndrome in mind. The first step is knowing what segment of Russell Road to access. There are two sections of Russell Road and unfortunately, Russell is a transmittent route, separated by McCarran Int'l Airport. Begin by finding "East Russell Road", which begins on Paradise Road east of the Strip and south of the airport. The best way to get there is by taking I-215 (Exit 10B) east from I-15 to the "Airport Connector;" this "connector" (as its often called by Las Vegans) will take you underneath the airport and drop you off right at the intersection of Paradise and E. Russell Rds. Follow Russell eastward for about 3 miles until you reach Mountain Vista. Otherwise, if you aren't from Las Vegas, finding Russell Road (or Mountain Vista for that matter) from any other direction can be quite tricky. If you use the directions above, it'll take you roughly 20 minutes to get to this location, accounting for lights and traffic. Since most people will be coming southbound on Mountain Vista, it's important to know that you must make a solid U-turn to view this marker! Fortunately, there is a turn lane that allows you to do this -- a task that is an extreme bother.

  • [214] Cheers to another puzzling placement by the SHPO
  • [214] Marker 214 plaque
  • [214] Marker 214
  • [214] At least the City of Las Vegas provided some ample parking for marker viewing.
  • [214] The busy traffic of Mountain Vista Street in the b.g.

Exact Description:
This historical marker commemorates the valor and service of pioneer scout Rafael Rivera, the first Caucasian of record to view and traverse Las Vegas Valley. Scouting for Antonio Armijo's sixty- man trading party from Abiquiu, N.M. in January 1830, young Rivera ascended Vegas Wash twenty miles east of this marker and blazed a route to the Mojave River in California by way of the Amargosa River.

Rivera's pioneering route became a vital link in the Old Spanish Trail, with Las Vegas Springs a most essential stop on this popular route to Southern California. John C. Fremont mapped the trail in 1844. Three years later, following an extension of the course to Salt Lake Valley, the route became known in this area as the Mormon Trail. Today the Old Spanish Trail closely parallels Inter-State Route # 15.

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Related Links & Markers:

 [31] -- Old Spanish Trail (1829-1850) 

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