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Laughlin Historical Information


  • 900-Patayan and Anasazi Indian tribes inhabit Colorado River area.
  • 1200-Mojave Indians plant crops along riverbanks.
  • 1540-Spanish explorer Melchi Diaz travels through tri-state area.
  • 1776-Father Garces, Spanish padre, crosses Colorado River at the site of Katherine Landing.
  • 1852-Steamboats begin traveling Colorado River.
  • 1857-Lt. Edward Beale surveys tri-state area for government; uses camels to deliver mail.
  • 1858-Lt. J. C. Ives names Pyramid Canyon, later selected as site of Davis Dam, during survey of Colorado River.
  • 1863-Extensive mining begins in tri-state area.
  • 1864-William Harrison Hardy founds Hardyville, a major supply center and river port.
  • 1900-Katherine Gold Mine discovered.
  • 1902-Reclamation Services investigates possible dam site in Pyramid Canyon.
  • 1930-Davis Dam Project authorized.
  • 1931-Gambling legalized in Nevada.
  • 1935-Hoover Dam dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt.
  • 1942-Construction starts and stops on Davis Dam; last steamboat runs the Colorado River; last precious metal taken from Katherine Mine. Bullhead City forms.
  • 1946-Construction resumes on Davis Dam.
  • 1953-Davis Dam finished; Bull's Head Rock submerged by Lake Mohave.
  • 1966-Federal government turns the first 4,000 of 15,000 acres over to the state of Nevada to be administered by the Colorado River Commission. It is known as the Fort Mojave Valley Development Law. The law was signed in 1959.
  • 1966-Southern California Edison acquires 2,500 acres of land for construction of a coal-fed power plant.
  • 1966-Don Laughlin buys and opens Riverside Resort.
  • 1967-Second casino, Bobcat Club, opens in Laughlin. Later becomes the Nevada Club and evolves into Golden Nugget Laughlin. Southern California Edison Co. begins construction on generating plant.
  • 1968-Third casino, Monte Carlo (Crystal Palace), opens. U.S. postal inspector officially names Laughlin.
  • 1979-Colorado Club (Pioneer Hotel) opens.
  • 1980-Regency opens. Bullhead City population 10,000. Laughlin population 80.
  • 1980-Original Colorado Belle opens November 10.
  • 1981-Edgewater opens.
  • 1983-Edgewater acquired by Circus Circus.
  • 1984-Gold River opens.
  • 1986-William G. Bennett Elementary school opens.
  • 1987-Laughlin Branch of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District opens.
  • 1987-Don Laughlin funds and builds a $3.5 million bridge linking Laughlin with Bullhead City, AZ and then gives the structure to the states of Arizona and Nevada to maintain.
  • 1987-The new Colorado Belle opens July 1st.
  • 1988-Ramada Express opens.
  • 1988-Harrah's Laughlin opens.
  • 1990-Laughlin Visitors Information Center opened by the LVCVA.
  • 1990-Flamingo Hilton Laughlin opens. Bullhead City population 25,000. Laughlin population 4,791.
  • 1991-New airport facility opens to accommodate commercial flights.
  • 1991-Laughlin High School opens.
  • 1992-Laughlin town hall opens.
  • 1993-First jet lands at airport. Don Laughlin, Bob Cashell sign agreements with Fort Mojave Tribe to run a casino on reservation land. Laughlin population 7,500; Bullhead City population 27,000.
  • 1994-Clark County Clerk's office begins selling marriage licenses in Laughlin; 35 hot air balloons participate in the first Laughlin River Flight; work started by Fort Mojave Tribe on Aha Macav residential/casino complex on reservation land.
  • 1995-Fort Mojave Tribe dedicates new bridge across the Colorado River on reservation land.
  • 1995-Fort Mojave Tribe opens Avi Hotel & Casino on reservation land.
  • 1995-First SCORE off-road race held in Laughlin.
  • 1995-Factory discount shopping center construction begins.
  • 1995-Mountain View Community Park on Needles Highway opens.
  • 1995-"Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area" opens.
  • 1996-Fifty store factory outlet mall, Horizon Outlet Center, opens on Casino Drive.
  • 1996-Two major flood-control projects completed in Laughlin opening up 250 acres in the city to new development.
  • 1996-A new 200-unit master planned development opens in Laughlin. Two residential developments with 600 homes open in Bullhead City.
  • 1996-The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles opens a branch office in Laughlin.
  • 1997-Multimillionaire Allen Paulson buys the Gold River Resort Hotel Casino after approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
  • 1998-The Gold River changes its name to River Palms Resort Casino.
  • 1998-Don Laughlin breaks ground at his Riverside Resort Hotel Casino on a $15 million, 34-lane bowling center.
  • 1999-Riverside opens 34-lane bowling center and 4,500-square-foot supervised children's day care center.
  • 2000-Ramada Express encloses second floor outdoor pavilion for conversion to 1,500 square foot meeting facility.
  • 2000-Flamingo Laughlin opens 20,000 square foot ballroom, executive board room and a business center.
  • 2001-Air Laughlin Tours begins scheduled air service from Ontario, Burbank, San Jose and Phoenix.
  • 2001-Don Laughlin breaks ground on Secret Pass Country Club and Gold Course in Bullhead City, AZ.
  • 2001-Local contractor builds 5,000 square foot lounge with 1800's mining theme as anchor to planned strip mall on Casino Drive.
  • 2001-Regency Casino closes.
  • 2001-River Palms leases north vacant lot, lays asphalt to erect 13,000 square foot event center and connects river walk. Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev. cuts ribbon on new beach area.
  • 2001-Official "Moving Vietnam Wall" staged at Ramada Express. Nevada Governor and Clark County Commissioner issue proclamations for POW/MIA Awareness Week in Laughlin, November 8-14, 2001.
  • 2001-Harrah's opens additional 10,000 square feet of meeting space and incorporates juggling bartenders into remodeled Margaritaville Bar.


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