Las Vegas Mormon Fort and Rancho (Nevada's Oldest Building)

Las Vegas & Clark County
  36.18057, -115.13303

"... An MIA right across the street from an MIA. Lovely. Dare I say this is almost embarrassing. #35, of all the markers to go MIA ... a marker representing the first settlement in the state. Hopefully any research I do at home will redeem this sad story, if only for a little while. Miller time." -- Journal Entry, March 2009

According to the State Marker System ...
"Located at North Las Vegas Boulevard at Washington Street."
Today, this marker is currently missing.

Original Date Visited: 3/17/09

Signed: No

Notes: Fee required. The "replacement" marker for [35] stands just inside the gates of the fort so you can access it only during the park's hours. See the link below for the park's website.

Currently Missing -- Last Seen: May 1995
The fact that this marker is missing is a true shame. After all, it only represents the state's oldest building. Before I start sounding too harsh, [35] may have a valid reason behind its disappearance: "may" meaning it might be right under our noses.

The following is an intel of my conquering of [35] in March 2009 or rather its could-be twin. Visitors to Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park will find two markers, one of these being a Clamper that stands proudly at the rear exhibits. This small plaque was placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) in 1999. The other marker stands at the front of the complex near the museum was placed by the Clark County Boy Scouts in 2003. (The information gets sketchy here.) The Boy Scout marker was constructed when the museum was first remodeled in 2003 and comes complete with the exact wording as the text listed by the SHPO (above). It's rumored this newer marker was built to "replace" the original blue Standard that was standing before the renovations took place. So, in a strange nutshell, this new marker could quite possibly be [35]!

During my visit in 2009, I inquired with the few museum attendants only to get blank stares in reply. This might make sense considering none of them were here before renovations took place. The few people I did speak to had little to no idea there was even an "original blue marker" here. I also checked with Nevada State Parks got a bit more illumination, but as expected, the "landmarkers" (as they call them) were "out of their jurisdiction." I also found this frustrating why they knew little to nothing about this particular state park. They couldn't even tell me when the renovations took place. One thing's for sure: the Old Mormon Fort in downtown Las Vegas is one of the more hidden parks in the system, yet it could be one of our state's most important pieces of history. Smart landscaping hides the old fort from the thousands of commuters rumbling by the corner of Washington and Las Vegas Blvds, but upon visiting its exhibits and restored interiors, it's easy to see why this place is such a gem. Despite its representative marker having disappeared without a trace, I'm confident my fellow Nevadans will honor its place with each passing visit.

  • Marker 35, representing Nevada oldest building, has been missing for the past fifteen years
  • A fee is required to visit this Nevada State Park

Exact Description:
At this location Las Vegas had its beginning on June 14, 1855, when 30 Mormon missionaries arrived from Utah. They built a 150-foot square adobe fort enclosing eight two-story houses, cultivated small gardens and fields, planted fruit and shade trees, and established friendly relations with the Paiutes.

After the Mormons departed in 1858, Octavius Decatur Gass developed Las Vegas Rancho, using the adobe structures as headquarters. He farmed 800 acres, supplying produce to miners and travelers.

Mrs. Helen J. Stewart, owner of the property from 1882 to 1903, expanded the ranch to 1,800 acres, which she sold to the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company as the Las Vegas townsite, auctioned on May 15, 1905, starting contemporary Las Vegas.

One of the Fort houses remains as a monument to the 1855 pioneers.

Next Marker:


Related Links & Markers:

 [40] -- Las Vegas "The Meadows"   [195] -- The Last Spike   Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort S.H.P. (Nevada State Parks) 

Have you been to this marker? Tell us all about it here!