Las Vegas, New Mexico

Las Vegas is a city in and the county seat of San Miguel County, New Mexico, United States. Once two separate municipalities, both were named Las Vegas -- East Las Vegas; the population was 13,753 at the 2010 census. Las Vegas, NM is located 110 miles south of Raton, New Mexico, 65 miles east of Santa Fe, New Mexico, 122 miles northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico, 257 miles south of Colorado Springs, 326 miles south of Denver, Colorado. Las Vegas was established in 1835 after a group of settlers received a land grant from the Mexican government; the town was laid out in the traditional Spanish Colonial style, with a central plaza surrounded by buildings which could serve as fortifications in case of attack. Las Vegas soon prospered as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. During the Mexican–American War in 1846, Stephen W. Kearny delivered an address at the Plaza of Las Vegas claiming New Mexico for the United States. In 1877 Las Vegas College, the precursor to Regis University, was founded in Las Vegas by a group of exiled Italian Jesuits.

In 1887, Las Vegas College moved to Denver whereupon. A railroad was constructed to the town in 1880. To maintain control of development rights, it established a station and related development one mile east of the Plaza, creating a separate, rival New Town, as occurred elsewhere in the Old West; the same competing development occurred for instance. During the railroad era Las Vegas boomed becoming one of the largest cities in the American Southwest. Turn-of-the-century Las Vegas featured all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway, the "Duncan Opera House" at the northeast corner of 6th Street and Douglas Avenue, a Carnegie library, the Hotel Castaneda, the New Mexico Normal School. Since the decline and restructuring of the railroad industry began in the 1950s, the city's population has remained constant. Although the two towns have been combined, separate school districts have been maintained; the anti-colonist organization Las Gorras Blancas was active in the area in the 1890s.

Beginning in 1899, a reunion was held at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas for the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish–American War and the only one of the three to see action. The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry is more famously known as the Rough Riders; the reunion was attended by the Governor of New York, Theodore Roosevelt. Two years in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States when President William McKinley died while Roosevelt was serving as vice-president; the last surviving Rough Rider, Jesse Langdon, died in 1975 at the age of 94. In 2005, a group of local motorcycle riders gathered to organize and hold a rally focused on the area’s history and special environment; the "Rough Rider" name was chosen. Now in its 15th year, the rally attracts motorcyclists from throughout the southwest for three days of charitable activities and motorcycle related events. Beginning in 1915, the Las Vegas Cowboys' Reunions were held annually until 1931.

Their slogan was, "Git Fer Vegas, Cowboy!" These reunions were organized by a group of ranching families and cowboys which soon became the Las Vegas Cowboys' Reunion Association. The Reunions celebrated ranching life, which began in northern New Mexico in the early 1800s and continues into the 21st Century; the annual affair included pie eating contests, parades, balls, "ranch rodeos." In the early years, celebrities—cowhands as well as big-name bands, movie stars like Tom Mix, artists such as Randall Davey—came to Las Vegas for this event. In years, famous cowhands participated in the Cowboys' Reunion Rodeos; the Cowboys' Reunions reflected the occupations of the area and attracted huge crowds for their 4 days of events. In 1952, the Cowboys' Reunion Association invited the Rough Riders Association to join them at the annual rodeo; the arrival of the railroad on July 4, 1879 brought with it businesses and new residents, both respectable and dubious. Murderers, thieves, gunmen, swindlers and tramps poured in, transforming the eastern side of the settlement into a lawless brawl.

Among the notorious characters were such legends of the Old West as: dentist Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Mysterious Dave Mather, Hoodoo Brown, Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler. Historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell once claimed regarding the Old West, "Without exception there was no town which harbored a more disreputable gang of desperadoes and outlaws than did Las Vegas." According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.5 square miles, all of it land. Las Vegas has a cold semi-arid climate; as of the census of 2000, there were 14,565 people, 5,588 households, 3,559 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,938.2 people per square mile. There were 6,366 housing units at an average density of 847.1 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 54.21% White, 0.99% African American, 1.96% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 37.19% from other races, 4.95% from two or more races.

Hispanic people of any race were 82.94% of the p


Iranistan was a Moorish Revival mansion in Bridgeport, Connecticut commissioned by P. T. Barnum in 1848, it was designed by Bohemian-American architect Leopold Eidlitz. At this "beautiful country seat" Barnum played host to such famous contemporaries as the Hutchinson Family Singers, Matthew Arnold, George Armstrong Custer, Horace Greeley, Mark Twain; the grandiose structure survived only a decade before being destroyed by fire in 1857. It was one of five such fires in the showman's life that "burned to the ground all his accomplishments". "Barnum's most unique mansion" was designed by the New York architect Leopold Eidlitz a founder of the American Institute of Architects. It was a mix of Byzantine and Turkish decorative elements, inspired by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, which Barnum visited shortly after its construction and admired; the word Iranistan is composed of Iran and -stan. The suffix -stan is Persian for "place of" or "country" and Iranistan means descended from Iran and Persian culture.

As such an architectural style had not yet become established in the United States, Barnum describes his efforts to have it built: I concluded to adopt it, engaged a London architect to furnish me a set of drawings after the general plan of the pavilion, differing sufficiently to be adapted to the spot of ground selected for my homestead. On my second return visit to the United States, I brought these drawings with me and engaged a competent architect and builder, giving him instructions to proceed with the work, not'by the job' but'by the day,' and to spare neither time nor expense in erecting a comfortable and tasteful residence; the work was thus begun and continued while I was still abroad, during the time when I was making my tour with General Tom Thumb through the United States and Cuba. Elegant and appropriate furniture was made expressly for every room in the house. I erected expensive water-works to supply the premises; the stables and out-buildings were perfect in their kind. There was a profusion of trees set out on the grounds.

The whole was built and established literally'regardless of expense,' for I had no desire to ascertain the entire cost. By the time the house was completed in 1848 it had cost Barnum about $150,000; the architectural extravaganza on 17 acres of land was the first of four "famous" Bridgeport mansions built by Barnum. The fanciful three-story oriental-style structure had numerous porches and arches, the whole thing topped by multiple onion domes. A circular driveway curved around a fountain in the front of the house and urns stood at corners of the lawn. Iranistan had a greenhouse from which Barnum used to gather flowers for Sunday services at the local Universalist church. Barnum imported and kept a variety of choice livestock at this property and was soon president of the local Fairfield County agricultural society; the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind told Barnum that she would not have come to the United States if Barnum had not built Iranistan. Lind explained that she did not "relish the idea of crossing 3,000 miles of water" and declined all offers until she received a letter from Barnum, engraved with an image of Iranistan in its heading.

Deciding that any gentleman successful enough to build "such a palace cannot be a mere adventurer", she agreed to an interview which she would have "declined if I had not seen the picture of Iranistan". When Barnum experienced financial difficulties, he had Iranistan closed and it was unoccupied for more than two years. Carpenters and painters had been ordered not to smoke in the building, they smoked after-dinner pipes there in the evening. A pipe left to smolder may have ignited a blaze; the fire alarm was sounded at 11 PM on December 17, 1857 and the house burned until 1 AM. P. T. Barnum was staying at the Astor House in New York City. In the morning of December 18, he received a telegram from his brother, Philo F. Barnum, informing him that Iranistan had burned to the ground. Barnum had retained some insurance on the unoccupied mansion, but he collected only $28,000. Many pictures and pieces of furniture were saved from the fire, although many of the salvaged pieces were damaged. After the fire, bank assignees sold the property, including the surviving outbuildings, to Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine.

The Iranistan seen in the A&E Network movie P. T. Barnum was a specially constructed model that now marks the entrance to the main gallery of the Barnum Museum; the museum has a recreation of Iranistan's library that holds furniture designed by cabinetmaker Julius Dessoir and "showcases Barnum's distinctive taste." Connecticut History Online, "Iranistan, the Residence of Mr. Barnum." History of Bridgeport, Connecticut

Elliott Cutoff

The Elliott Cutoff was a covered wagon road that branched off the Oregon Trail at the Malheur River where present-day Vale, United States is today. The first portion of the road was known as the Meek Cutoff after Stephen Meek, a former trapper who led over 1,000 emigrants into the Harney Basin in 1845. There were considerable difficulties for the 1845 train, after reaching a hill known as Wagontire, the people left Meek and split into groups, they turned north at the Deschutes River and returned to the traditional Oregon Trail near The Dalles. In 1853, another group left the Oregon Trail at Vale; this emigration was led by Elijah Elliott who followed, with Meek's 1845 route. But instead of turning north at the Deschutes River, Elliott turned south and traveled up the Deschutes about 30 miles where a newly built trail had been prepared for the wagon train; this new road crossed the Cascades near present-day Willamette Pass and was known as the Free Emigrant Road. No toll would be collected on this road.

As emigrants came to Oregon, the majority traveled on the Oregon Trail to the Portland area. It was not practical to journey too far south once arriving in Western Oregon, so most emigrants settled in northwestern Oregon. In the early 1850s, residents of the Upper Willamette Valley attempted to attract more emigrants to Central Oregon. One of the suggestions was to build a road over the Cascades that would bring emigrants directly to the upper valley; this road would save emigrants over 130 miles, avoid the difficult crossing at the mouth of the Deschutes and the difficult choice of reaching Portland by boat or by traveling over the Barlow Road. Finding a way over the Cascades was challenging, several possibilities were presented but most were deemed impractical. A survey party was formed to explore the Willamette Pass, it was through this pass. The survey party became known as the Road Viewers. Men who took part in the survey included William Macy, John Diamond, William Tandy, Joseph Meador, Alexander King, Robert Walker, a J. Clark.

On July 19, 1852, Macy and Diamond made a preliminary trip across the pass. During this trip they decided to climb a prominent peak to help understand the terrain; this peak was named Diamond Peak after John Diamond. From here they were able to plot a route over the eastern half of the Cascade Range and on to the Deschutes River; the Road Viewers left the Willamette Valley on August 20, 1852. Once they finished the road survey, they tried to follow the remaining route to Vale, where the cutoff was to begin, they continued northeast until they located the ruts of Meek's wagons and followed them not far from the Crooked River until they came to Steen's Ridge. A marker was found carved on a rock, left in a small cairn on top of Steen's Ridge; the inscription read: "T – 1852." It is believed the rock was carved by one of the Viewers. Although there was never any official statement, it is apparent the Viewers were looking for the Lost Blue Bucket Mine, a place where some of Meek's emigrants had stumbled onto gold nuggets.

From Steen's Ridge, the Viewers followed Meek's wagon ruts south into the Harney Basin. The ruts led past the northern shores of Malheur Lakes, it was here the Viewers were attacked by a band they believed were Shoshoni Indians, although this was the territory of the Northern Paiute. The aboriginal attack force included 14 horsemen using guns and 40–50 foot soldiers using bows and arrows. Macy and Diamond were wounded by musket balls and four horses were killed by arrows; the Viewers lost their notes and their geological specimens. The Viewers fled to the north and came to the Oregon Trail along the Burnt River. A couple of doctors were able to assist the wounded men. From here they returned home. With their adventure completed they filed a report, quite optimistic considering the difficulties they encountered; the report devotes only one sentence to the skirmish with Native Americans. Because emigrants had to pay tolls in places such as the mouth of the Deschutes River and the Barlow Road, there was a strong feeling among the new road commissioners—William Macy, Thomas Cady, Asahel Spencer—to make the new road toll free.

A call for donations was sent out and once the money was raised, a contract was given to a Dr. Robert Alexander to build the road; as time went on there were numerous problems with the road construction. R. M. Walker was hired to mark out the road, but there was an unusually heavy snowfall in 1853 and Walker was unable to mark the road near the Cascade crest. Walker returned home without telling anyone, when the road workers ran out of marks they went home. Several weeks went by. A crew of 10 was sent to finish the road. Construction was made in great haste; the construction of the Free Emigrant Road was a tree-felling operation. Many of the logs were left in the road where the emigrants themselves had to clear them out of the way; as emigrants were heading west during the summer of 1853, there were some settlers from the Willamette Valley heading east. Among those were Elijah Elliott and Robert Tandy. Elliott had been a supportive donor for the new road, was traveling as far as Fort Boise to meet his wife and children who were coming with the 1853 emigration.

Before he left, sponsors of the new road commissioned Elliott to lead a wagon train on the Meek Cutoff, across Harney Basin to the Deschutes River and over the Cascades using the new Free Emigrant Road. Elliott trav