Mormons from St. George founded Mesquite on the Spanish-Mormon Trail in 1880, abandoned it in 1892, then resettled it in 1895. As did those in Bunkerville, early settlers here laid out an orderly grid for streets and lots. Though established as an agricultural community, Mesquite has since capitalized on its border location by building large, flashy casinos to attract travelers as they enter Nevada. For much of the twentieth century, descendants of the town's settlers made up the majority of inhabitants, but recent growth has attracted many outsiders to work in the casinos and other service sectors of the local economy.
Few buildings remain from Mesquite's early years. The most architecturally significant ones, dating from the 1930s and 1940s, are federally funded but locally built structures. Mesquite's transformation into a tourist town in the 1980s has brought it high-rise hotel-casinos, new suburban subdivisions, and numerous trailer and RV parks.
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