The famous Las Vegas Springs rose from the desert floor here, sending two streams of water across the valley to nurture the native grasses, and create lush meadows in the valley near Sunrise Mountain. The natural oasis of meadow and mesquite forest was the winter homeland of Southern Paiutes, who spent the summers in the Charleston Mountains. An unknown Spanish-speaking sojourner, named this place "Las Vegas" meaning "The Meadows," marking it on a map of the Southwestern Desert.
Antonio Armijo stopped at the Springs in 1829-30, traveling a route, which became known as the Old Spanish Trail. After 1830, the route rested beside the Springs. On one of his western exploration trips, John C. Frémont camped here on May 3, 1844.
Because of artesian water here, Mormons established the Las Vegas Mission and Fort in 1855; the Valley became a huge cattle ranch from 1866 to 1904; and the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad Company acquired water righst and land, with which it created the City of Las Vegas in 1905.