The Bloom Before the Boom


Las Vegas was 50 years old in 1955, but the city as we know it was barely starting to take shape at that point. Life magazine photographer Loomis Dean captured the oasis-in-the-desert essence of the still-burgeoning city for a cover story titled “Gambling Town Pushes Its Luck,” and many of the photos were never published—until now. These 22 photos give eye-opening reminders of exactly how far our city has come in the last 57 years, and how exciting a place Las Vegas was, even at that early stage.

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