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Las Vegas Mormon Fort

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1855. 900 Las Vegas Blvd. N.
  • (Mahlon Chute)
  • (Mahlon Chute)
  • (Mahlon Chute)
  • (Mahlon Chute)

The Las Vegas Mormon Fort is one of Nevada's oldest extant buildings. In 1855 the first Euro-American settlers in the area, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, built this mission on the Spanish-Mormon Trail between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino, California, to assert Mormon interests in this part of the West and to serve as a base for converting Native Americans to the Mormon faith and as a way station for travelers on the trail. They also selected this site because it was adjacent to the Las Vegas Springs, one of the few good sources of water in the Las Vegas Valley. The mission was fortified against attack by Native Americans or hostile non-Mormon emigrants. After two years of difficult labor trying to establish crops and convert Native Americans with little success, the Mormons left in 1857. The fort site subsequently served as a ranch and, in the 1920s, as a concrete laboratory for the Bureau of Reclamation when it was conducting tests prior to construction of Hoover Dam.

Only a 10-foot-by-30-foot building survives of what once was a 150-foot-square walled settlement. The walls of adobe brick are 2 feet thick at the bottom and 1 foot thick at the top (the base of the walls had to be thick enough to support the weight of the walls above it). Though its caretakers have made alterations to replace adobe, which is vulnerable to erosion, the basic simple, functional design of the building remains.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta


What's Nearby


Julie Nicoletta, "Las Vegas Mormon Fort", [Las Vegas, Nevada], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Nevada, Julie Nicoletta. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 208-209.

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