208 S Main St

208 South Main Street in Helper, Utah

The Las Vegas Mormon Fort

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The Las Vegas Mormon Fort
A Midpoint Way Station on the Mormon Road

In April 1855, Brigham Young, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, called thirty men to leave their families and possessions in the recently settled towns of Utah to serve a mission at the Las Vegas Springs. The verdant meadows watered by the springs had been seasonally inhabited by the Paiute Indians for centuries. The water and the meadows made Las Vegas an important stop on the Spanish Trail (called the Mormon Road after 1848).

President Young directed this group of newly called missionaries to become self-sufficient, to provide a place of rest and security for travelers between California and Salt Lake City, and to teach the Indians the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the heat of the summer, in June 1855, the missionaries arrived at this site. The mission, intended to be permanent, was the first Anglo-American settlement in Las Vegas Valley.

By summer’s end their irrigated gardens were fort was under construction, and a spirit of producing fresh vegetables and grains. A new cooperation and mutual learning was being established with the native inhabitants. They also discovered a deposit of lead ore in the nearby mountains. More missionaries were sent to smelt the complex ore in large quantities, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

On 23 February 1857 Church leaders sent word to the settlement that the mission was to be disbanded. These early pioneers returned to Utah but left a legacy of faith, devotion, and service shown by their willingness to settle in this hostile environment.

The text above is from a historic marker placed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1997 at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park at 500 E Washington Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada