Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park

It’s hard to believe a city like Las Vegas has Mormon roots, but it’s true. On June 14, 1855, Mormon missionaries arrived to build a fort along a creek that flowed from Las Vegas Springs. Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park preserves what’s left of the oldest building in the city and tells the story of its first settlers. The park is open from Tuesday to Saturday and charges admission of US$1 (as of November 2017).

 

Visitor Center

Outside the entrance to the visitor center is a monument to Helen Jane Wiser Stewart (1854-1926), the First Lady of Las Vegas. She moved there in 1882 and sold 1,834 acres of her ranch in 1902. That land became the city of Las Vegas. Stewart played an important role in the development of the city until her death.

Helen Jane Wiser Stewart monument at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Helen Jane Wiser Stewart monument

Once inside, you can go through a small museum with displays on the beginnings of Las Vegas and a scale model of the fort.

Visitor Center at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Visitor Center

Visitor Center at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Visitor Center

Scale model of the original fort at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Scale model of the original fort

 

The Fort

Outside of the visitor center, you can walk through what’s mostly a replica of the original fort. A plaque stands next to the walls commemorating the first Las Vegas Post Office, which was on the site.

The fort at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

The fort

Post Office plaque at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Post Office plaque

A small building to the left contains the last surviving bricks of the original fort built between 1855 and 1857. Items that would have been used during that time period are on display. Nearby is a sign indicating the spot where Helen Stewart’s ranch house once stood until the 1960s.

Building with original bricks at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Building with original bricks

Original bricks at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Original bricks

Period items at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Period items

The replica walls and gates of the fort tell the story of US Army soldiers living at the fort between 1867 and 1869. The Army was sent to protect the settlers in 1860, and a display shows how they might have lived at the time. During the Civil War, the fort was called Fort Baker.

Gates of the fort at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

Gates of the fort

The fort at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

The fort

US Army display at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Nevada

US Army display

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