Las Vegas has a long and rich history that extends far beyond the clichés of “sin city,” the Mafia, Elvis, or mindless urban sprawl. Mapping Historical Las Vegas takes readers beyond stereotypical tales and provides an illustrated cartographic exploration of the entire region from the time of the ancient Anasazi farmers to the present. Weber shows the development of the surrounding area, revealing a geographical perspective on the city’s growth, including the influence of water, public land surveys, transportation routes, and the construction of casinos on Las Vegas’s evolution.
Reaching past the city limits, Mapping Historical Las Vegas also examines the development of public lands, military bases, and the canyons and valleys of the Colorado River before the Hoover Dam was built and Lake Mead was created. Weber also includes information on dams, highways, railroads, and other projects that were planned but never constructed— showing what might have been in one of the nation’s largest cities.
With 137 color maps generated using Geographic Information Systems, along with extensive mapping by Weber that draws on his decades of experience in the region, Mapping Historical Las Vegas offers a unique perspective on one of the world’s most famous desert cities.
About the Author
Joe Weber is a professor of geography at the University of Alabama, but he often returns to Las Vegas, a place filled with fond memories from his time as a youth growing up in the city. Weber received his PhD from Ohio State University, which led him to his present academic work focused on the changing geography of both national parks and the American highway system.
“Weber captures the connection between our waterways and aquifers and the subsequent historical developments they made possible: war industries associated with aviation and the atomic bomb, transportation, tourism, gaming, suburbanization. This book provides an extensive look into the city’s founding and growth and how the environment has shaped, and continues to shape, our lives.” —Thomas Crowe, rjmagazine
"An informatively and profusely illustrated atlas, Mapping Historical Las Vegas: A Cartographic Journey is exceptionally well organized and presented so as to be a truly comprehensive and inherently interesting reference and history of one of the more unique American cities in the country." —Midwest Book Review
“Weber’s geographic take on Las Vegas history allows readers to not only understand the ‘what’ of the city’s past and present, but also the ‘where.’ Such a perspective gives way to a profound appreciation of and deep connection to this unique place. I learned something new in every chapter.” —Rex J. Rowley, professor of geography, Illinois State University, author of Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town
“The work is diligent and competent, the maps are clear and consistent, and the writing is straightforward and fact-based.” —Richard Campanella, geographer and associate dean for research, Tulane School of Architecture