Incredible Photo Shows What Las Vegas Looked Like In 1952

The calm before the storm...

Mike Tyson’s tiger. Hunter S. Thompson’s squealy tyred Chevrolet. Alan from The Hangover. Dan Bilzerian. Fear. Loathing. Money. Drugs. Multi-million dollar fights. $2 weddings. Booze. Instagram. Suites. Sex workers. Priests. You get the picture.

Since 1952, Las Vegas has become known for a lot of things. But it wasn’t always a desert hotbed flaunting the best and worst of humanity.

It used to just be a desert.

As an image posted to Instagram account @historic_imagery on Friday shows, Las Vegas used to be peaceful.

“What is now the fully developed Las Vegas strip,” @historic_imagery wrote, crediting the shot to 1952 Life photographer Loomis Dean.

“Before old school Las Vegas rose, many complicated real estate deals had to take place,” the caption continues.

“The picture above shows a plot of barren land that sellers were hoping buyers would pay $3 million to use as a hotel site.”

“As hard as it is to image what the area looked like before it was covered in incredible buildings and bright lights, this image definitely helps capture the calm before the storm.”

According to CPI Inflation Calculator: “$3,000,000 in 1952 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $30,474,905.66 today, an increase of $27,474,905.66 over 69 years.”

“The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.42% per year between 1952 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 915.83%.”

“This means that today’s prices are 10.16 times higher than average prices since 1952, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. A dollar today only buys 9.84% of what it could buy back then.”

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The image sparked a trip down memory lane, it appears, in some Instagram followers of @historic_imagery.

“I vividly remember that spot,” one user claimed. “My husband and I visited there after we got married in 1974.”

“There was actually a discarded sign from the actual El Rancho Vegas Hotel. I believe he did take a picture of it. I’ll look for it.”

Another wrote: “I prefer this over what they’ve done to it.”


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The wheels of time wait for no man or woman. And no boat (or car hood) either, as it turns out…

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