The birth of Sin City: Rare retro photos reveal how Las Vegas transformed from a one-horse town to the glitzy City of Lights
Las Vegas. The desert metropolis which thrives on 24-hour gambling, showgirls and casinos without a clock in sight to remind revellers of the world outside.
Synonymous with hedonism, this adult playground has grown to attract millions of visitors annually, each bringing with them trillions of dollars to its Nevada location.
Despite its reputation for excess and surrealism, as a natural oasis in the Mojave desert, America's City of Lights was actually established in 1829 for practical reasons. Mexican explorer and merchant, Antonio Armijo, first sought to open up the area as a trade route between Mexico and California, called the Old Spanish Trail.
When the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad were created in 1905, the small settlement quickly became known as 'Sin City.' With pink limousines, tacky souvenirs and the gigantic Vegas strip, the larger-than-life city became a beacon in the desert over the years - but it didn't always look that way.
Revealed in rare retrospective photographs are the vintage cars parked outside casinos for a weekend escape, swim-up gambling tables, and the glamour of 1950's showgirls. The city that lured Hollywood's glitterati including Elvis Presley and Gene Kelly is strikingly different to the illuminated, bustling hot spot of today.
In its first flush of popularity the rich and famous of the golden era were greeted by empty desert streets and a handful of burgeoning venues only hinting at their future fortunes.
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First glimmer: The main strip in Las Vegas during the golden era hints at its potential for growth. The open expanse reveals the desert backdrop in all its glory and the Dunes Hotel is the only focal point in the foreground
City of Lights: In dramatic contrast, today's main strip in Las Vegas is vibrantly illuminated by hotels and casinos as far as the eye can see
Unearthed: This 1906 picture of the city shows its early days and the original settlement before it became a thriving metropolis
Nostalgia: With the odd car driving down Fremont Street in Las Vegas, this image is far cry from the packed main strip tourists witness today
The Apache Hotel, originally built in 1932, was the first building in Las Vegas to have a lift and also featured stained glass windows- an original detail which still remains today
Playing a game of chance: Gamblers crowding around a roulette table at a casino in 1935, Las Vegas
A view of the pool at the El Rancho Vegas hotel and casino in July 1942 in Las Vegas in Nevada
Neon Signs Outside Pioneer Club in 1951 (left) and The House of Jack Pots (right) greeted the visitors to the burgeoning Nevada outpost
Hosting legends: As the city grew in popularity it started to attract big names. Pictured in 1955 is Frank Sinatra surrounded by elaborately-dressed women at the Dunes Hotel
Golden glamour: The Gabor sisters pose at a cocktail party to celebrate their show at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in 1955. From left to right Zsa Zsa, Magda and Eva
Heyday: Noel Coward, the English playwright, was an entertainer at the Desert Inn, Las Vegas. Here pictured in 1955
International artists:The Bluebell Girls, from the Lido Nightclub in Paris, perform on suspended platforms above the audience at the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada in 1958
A flamboyant Bluebell girl (left) from the Lido de Paris adjusts her costume prior to appearing onstage at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas in 1958. The famous sign signalling entry into Sin City (right)
Signs of growth: An aerial view of Las Vegas in 1964 shows the city as hotels and casinos start to line the city's roads
A vintage postcard depicts the entrance of the Flamingo Hotel flanked by a line of vintage automobiles in the foreground
An audience with the King: Singer Elvis Presley entertains amused onlookers at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas
French film star Brigitte Bardot and her new husband, German industrialist Gunther Sachs Von Opel leave their plane after a flight from Las Vegas, where the couple were married in a surprise ceremony in 1966
Don't drop your chips: Gambling tables in swimming pools allowed guests to keep on playing without leaving the pool
Tanya, the Siamese elephant who performed on stage at Dunes Hotel and Casino, joins gamblers at a blackjack table in 1966
The adorned elephant aids gamblers during their game of craps at the Dunes Hotel and Casino in 1966
Rock 'n' roll crooner Elvis Presley performs at the Las Vegas International Hotel in the August of 1969
Practise makes perfect! Elvis Presley pictured during a filmed rehearsal before a Las Vegas show in July 1970
It's a hard life: Gene Kelly (centre) pictured with the elaborately dressed Folies Bergere showgirls in 1970
Name in bright lights: A giant board signalling Elvis Presley is performing in Las Vegas in 1972
Vintage postcard showing the entrance to the Dunes Hotel with huge neon sign and vintage automobiles parked in the drive
The Cal Neva Lodge in Crystal Bay in the early 1980's. Before the Las Vegas Strip ruled the gambling world, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. helped make the Cal Neva Lodge one of Nevada's coolest casinos in the 1960s
Fairy lights and fake palm trees blamed for Cosmopolitan blaze: Hip hotel owners blame electrical fault on rooftop display for inferno
Cabanas and artificial palm trees helped fuel the fire that broke out at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday, fire officials said.
The blaze started at The Cosmopolitan's Bamboo Pool at the West End tower and quickly spread through the fake palm trees touching each other and the canopy covering a portion of the area, Clark County Assistant Fire Chief Sandra Baker said, according to ABC.
Two people were injured and hundreds of others were forced to flee after the fire broke out at the luxury hotel on Saturday afternoon. There were no burn injuries, officials said.
'What made it move so fast were all the fake palm trees,' Fire Chief Greg Cassell said, according to CNN.
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Aftermath: Fire Chief Greg Cassell said the fake palm trees caused the fire to move so fast at The Bamboo Pool at the West End Tower of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday (the pool deck shown above with clean-up crews and investigators at the scene following the fire)
Reopened: Tourists and employees are let back into The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas after the fire broke out on a rooftop pool deck on Saturday
Chaos: It took firefighters about 30 minutes to put out the blaze, which caused traffic on the Las Vegas Strip to be closed
Cassell said an electrical fire was also possible due to the number of decorative lights adorning the fake palm trees.
He added that the plastic foam used to make the imitation Arecaceae 'is like solid gasoline to us' which caused the fire to take 'off like a rocket'.
As large plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky, terrified guests fled to safety and more than 100 firefighters rushed to the scene.
One person injured in the blaze was taken to hospital, while a second guest with minor injuries is still being evaluated at the 2,995-room hotel. The pair both suffered smoke inhalation, officials said.
Cassell said firefighters extinguished the blaze around 30 minutes after arriving at the scene, KSNV reported.
Early preliminary reports indicated a 'landscaping fire' but investigators were still investigating the cause, Baker said.
On Sunday, the hotel said the Bamboo Pool on the 14th floor reopened at 10am with full service except for its West Bar.
Hotel officials said in a statement that an area affected by the fire has been walled off by the Clark County Fire Department.
A spa, fitness center and the 15th floor of the hotel's West End Tower are also open. However, guest rooms on the 14th floor are still closed.
Blaze: Two people were injured and hundreds of others were forced to flee after a fire broke out at The Cosmpolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon. Above, Twitter user 'ccyr17' tweeted the photo of the blaze, writing: 'Fire at the Cosmopolitan pool. #cosmopolitan'
Heavy smoke:The blaze started at an outside pool area on the rooftop of The Cosmopolitan and quickly spread, setting pool cabanas and trees alight. As black smoke billowed into the sky (above), terrified guests fled down 14 floors and 110 firefighters rushed to the scene
Burning: One person injured in the blaze was taken to hospital, while a second guest with minor injuries is still being evaluated at the 2,995-room hotel. The pair, neither of whom has been identified, both suffered smoke inhalation, officials said on Saturday evening
Hotel guest Michelle Masilon who evacuated the hotel during the fire described the scene as 'something from a horror movie', according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
'So much smoke reminded us of something from a horror movie,' she said. Her 40th-floor suite overlooked the pool.
A couple from New York, Joe and Erin Santos, who were in one of the pool's cabanas when the fire broke out, said they left their phones and wallets inside a safe in the cabana, which burned up in the flames. They are returning home Sunday, but Joe Santos said he is now without his credit and identification card and money.
'We were in the cabana where it started. We noticed the palm tree next to us was on fire and I noticed it because it smelled strange. I told our waitress and she didn't realize how serious the situation was,' Erin Santos told the Review-Journal.
'The fire spread to our cabana and we all ran out. We left our phones and wallets in the safe in our cabana but they're burnt up.'
Several rooms on the 14th floor of the luxury casino and hotel sustained heat damage but the fire never made its way into the hotel, Cassell said.
On Saturday afternoon, the Clark County fire department announced via Twitter that firefighters had been dispatched to a blaze at The Cosmopolitan.
In total, 110 firefighters and 35 vehicles, including crews from Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, responded to the fire, which started at 12.15pm local time.
'@ClarkCountyFD fighting a #fire at 3708 Las Vegas Blvd So. 2nd alarm called. #CCFD #vegas,' Clark County Fire Department tweeted.
It later revealed that trees and cabanas were burning on the resort casino and hotel's pool deck.
'Update to 3708 LVBS: Trees and cabanas burned on pool deck. Very little extension to building. One patient transported at this time,' it tweeted.
By the time crews had extinguished the two-alarm blaze, it had already destroyed the Bamboo Pool, which is located on the hotel's 14th floor.
Fiery: Firefighters put out the blaze 30 minutes after arriving at the scene, Cassell said. An investigation is ongoing
Smoking: One of the two injured people was treated at the scene while the other was taken to hospital. Both suffered smoke inhalation
An aerial view of the blaze shows how the flames ripped through palm trees and cabanas at the luxury hotel
Dark landscape: In total, 110 firefighters and 35 vehicles, including crews from Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, responded to the fire, which started at 12.15pm local time. Above, smokes billows from the blaze, which occurred on the outside pool area of The Cosmopolitan
Announcement: The Clark County fire department tweeted about the blaze, saying that trees and cabanas were burning on the pool deck
'There was some damage to some windows; very, very minor damage to the building. It was contained to the pool area,' Baker told Reuters in a phone interview, adding that guests were evacuated from the hotel because of the huge mass of black smoke.
However, she could not immediately say whether the entire hotel, or only part of it, was evacuated. Guests were let back into the casino at 1.30pm.
In a press release shortly before 1pm, Baker wrote: 'Fire crews are currently on scene of a fire on the outside pool area where trees and pool cabanas were on fire. There is a report that the fire has been put out and crews are handling smoke evacuation and checking for any extension to building.'
There was later found to be no extension to the hotel, it is reported.
At around the same time, the Regional Transportation Commission announced that Las Vegas Boulevard was closed in both directions.
Terrifying: 'There was some damage to some windows; very, very minor damage to the building. It was contained to the pool area,' Clark County Assistant Fire Chief Sandra Baker told Reuters in a phone interview, adding that guests were evacuated because of the smoke
Aftermath: Twitter user 'Ccyr17' later tweeted this picture, along with the words 'Firefighters have taken control of the fire!! Thankfully!!!!'
Vehicles could not pass from Tropicana Avenue to Flamingo Road.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, which has not yet been determined, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Cosmopolitan (or 'The Cosmo') is owned by The Blackstone Group and has a total of 52 floors, with two highrise towers
The $3.9billion hotel opened on December 15, 2010, at a spot just south of the world-famous Bellagio hotel on the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard.
In addition to a casino and its now-ruined outdoor pool area, the hotel boasts 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a theater and a spa.
It was rated 'The Best Hotel In The World' by Gogobot in 2013.
2,995 ROOMS, A CASINO, A THEATER, A SPA AND AN ENORMOUS GAMBLING SPACE: THE COSMOPOLITAN HOTEL
Situated just south of the world-famous Bellagio hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard, The Cosmopolitan is a hit with those looking for luxury.
The $3.9billion hotel, also dubbed 'The Cosmo, boasts 2,995 hotel rooms (many of which feature their own private terrace), an enormous casino, 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a theater, a spa, plenty of meeting space, and a number of swimming pools.
These include a relaxing pool, a day club pool and a nightclub pool.
The venue, which features architecture by the Friedmutter Group, is also home to the acclaimed Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub.
Owned by The Blackstone Group, the casino hotel opened on December 15, 2010.
In 2013, it was rated 'The Best Hotel In The World' by Gogobot.
Celebrities who have visited the venue include Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z and Coldplay have both performed at the Marquee Nightclub.
The Cosmopolitan is surrounded by other glamorous, gambling-oriented hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
Luxury: Situated close to the renowned Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan (file image) is a hit with those looking for luxury