rough riders
History

Las Vegas Today
Today, Las Vegas is the home of a unique Northern New Mexican Spanish community, influenced by Native American, Northern European, and Jewish cultures. There are over 900 buildings 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.

The People
Native peoples inhabited the plains and mountains in northeastern New Mexico long before Spanish colonial settlers arrived in the 1600s. The Santa Fe Trail was established with the Spanish in 1821, and In the late 1830's Las Vegas became the last major stop on the southward-bound Santa Fe Trail. It became a mainstream hub for the AT&SF railroad in 1879. The railroad brought in a large number of European immigrants, including Jewish merchants, seeking prosperity in the land of enchantment.

Rough Riders
When the call went out for the first volunteer army of the United States, there were many that answered that call. Some of those who answered that call were from the territory of New Mexico. In fact, there were so many, that New Mexico comprised 40 percent of the regiment. This group of volunteers became known as the Rough Riders of the 1st Volunteer Calvalry Regiment during the Spanish American War. In June of 1899 the first Rough Rider Reunion was held in Las Vegas with Teddy Roosevelt in attendance. In 1949 The Rough Riders celebrated their 50th anniversary in Las Vegas and eventually Las Vegas was declared the permanent reunion headquarters until the last Rough Rider passed away in 1975. Numerous presidents including Teddy Roosevelt, who recruited many of his volunteer Rough Rider Cavalry members from New Mexico, frequented the town. Las Vegas is home to the City of Las Vegas Museum, with its large collection of Rough Rider memorabilia. The building was constructed in 1940 as a project of the Works Progress Administration.

Colleges and Universities
New Mexico Highlands University and Luna Community College, named in memory of Rough Rider Maximiliano Luna, are also located in Las Vegas. Alumni of these schools have garnered national and international honors. Las Vegas is also home to the Armand Hammer United World College, located at the Montezuma Castle — one of 12 UWC campuses in the world and the only one in the United States. The college educates and houses students from over 80 countries, giving the town a strong international flavor.

Film History
Since the beginning of the film industry, Hollywood has found Las Vegas to be an ideal setting. Tom Mix, the silent film actor, filmed many of his early westerns here.   Easy Rider 1969 (Peter Fonda), Red Dawn 1984 (Patrick Swayze), All the Pretty Horses 2000 (Matt Damon), and the 2007 Best Picture Oscar winner No Country For Old Men (Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) were all filmed in Las Vegas.


Did you know that the infamous outlaws Doc Holliday, Jessie James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Mysterious Dave Mather, and Hoodoo Brown also visited Las Vegas?