History of Laughlin, Nevada

Laughlin History – the southernmost tip of Nevada, along the Colorado River, where Nevada, California and Arizona meet, has become a major national tourist destination and gambling resort within the last few decades. The townsite of Laughlin was established in the 1940s as South Pointe because of the proximity to the southern tip of the state of Nevada. The early town consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold and silver miners, construction workers building Davis Dam, and fishing enthusiasts. In the 1950s, construction workers left, and the town all but disappeared.

Laughlin, Nevada

History of Laughlin Nevada

In 1964, a man by the name of Don Laughlin, owner of the 101 Club in Las Vegas, flew over the site and saw the tourism potential. He offered to buy the land, and within a few years, the small motel and casino, consisting of only 12 slots and two live tables, was bustling.

In 1972 the Riverside Resort added 48 rooms, followed by several additions and in 1986 built the first 14-floor high-rise. A second casino, the Bobcat Club, opened in 1967 where the Golden Nugget Laughlin currently operates. In 1968 a third casino, the Monte Carlo, opened its doors. Across the river, Bullhead City flourished in the glow of the casino light. Shuttle boats transported customers from the Arizona side of the river to Laughlin’s resorts.

The 1980s saw the construction of several more hotels and casinos. The Colorado Hotel (now the Pioneer), the Regency, Sam’s Town Gold River (now the River Palms) and the Edgewater opened in the early 1980s. Other investors saw the growth as an opportunity to get in on the action. A second boom resulted in the construction of the Colorado Belle, Harrah’s Del Rio, and the Ramada Express (now the Tropicana Express). The Flamingo Hilton, now known as the Aquarius, was built in 1990. In 1987, Don Laughlin funded and built the Laughlin Bridge at a cost of $3.5 million. He donated the bridge to the states of Nevada and Arizona. The bridge carries 30,000 vehicles daily.

Today there are nine hotel/casinos and one motel in Laughlin providing over 10,000 rooms, 154,000 square feet (14,300 m2) of meeting space, 60 restaurants, two museums, a 34-lane bowling center and a variety of boutiques, spas and salons. More than 14,000 casino workers now cross the Colorado by shuttle boat or the Laughlin Bridge each day. The city by the river now attracts nearly 3 million visitors annually who visit Laughlin to gamble, enjoy water sports on the Colorado and attend many high-profile special events hosted by the community.

Mohave Power Station

The Mohave Power Station opened in 1971, but later closed down on December 31, 2005. Mohave was the only power plant in the United States that used coal delivered by coal-slurry pipeline. The 18 inches diameter Black Mesa Pipeline ran 275 miles to the plant from the Peabody Energy Black Mesa Mine in Kayenta, AZ, and could deliver 660 short tons per hour. The land where the mine is located is owned by the Navajo and Hopi tribes. Four 8-million-gallon storage tanks each held the equivalent of 20,000 short tons of dry coal. The slurry transport water was recycled for cooling tower water makeup; this and all other waste water was reused, making Mohave a zero-discharge facility. A natural-gas line run to the facility from a gas main near Topock supplied the required heat to start the plant, although the line was too small to run the plant exclusively on gas. The power was transmitted via two 500kV lines to substations in southern Nevada and southern California.

Mohave Power Station

Hell’s Angels —VS— The Mongols at Harrah’s Laughlin

In April 2002, Laughlin was the scene of a deadly fight between two rival California motorcycle gangs, the Hell’s Angels and the Mongols. The fight broke out inside Harrah’s Laughlin during the annual Laughlin River Run. Mongol Anthony Barrera, 43, was stabbed to death, and two Hell’s Angels, Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50, were shot to death. Six members of the Hell’s Angels, as well as six members of the Mongols were sent to prison as a result of the event, and 36 other people had their charges dismissed.

Hells AngelsThe Mongols

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