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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.