A view down Bridge St. in historic Old Town Las Vegas, New Mexico // Summer 2012 // Las Vegas, NM is home to more than 900 historic buildings.
The Las Vegas Citizens' Committee for Historic Preservation was formed in 1977 to encourage the preservation and appreciation of Las Vegas and San Miguel County historic resources. Established by land grant in 1835, Las Vegas was originally called Nuestra Señora 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 with a wide variety of adobe structures. As trade on the trail increased, so did the variety of settlers and architecture in the town. The arrival of the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad saw a further increase of new residents many of whom built Victorian houses reminiscent of their homes in the east. While the Victorian residences are quite a surprise to visitors, use to the Pueblo revival of Santa Fe, it is the combination of the indigenous adobe architecture and the variety of Victorian architecture that makes Las Vegas unique.
Over 918 of these structures, both adobe and Victorian, survive today. The Las Vegas Citizens' Committee for Historic Preservation (LVCCHP) was organized to promote the preservation of these buildings, educate the public regarding the rich cultural heritage these buildings represent, and to investigate and implement ways in which these buildings can continue to play a vital role in the infrastructure, culture, and future of Las Vegas.