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I agree that future generations will wonder how these tests could have been considered acceptable, much less leveraged in tourism efforts. A good piece clear concise and we’ll written. For 10 years, from around 1952-1963, atomic tourism was a big deal. Starting in 1951, the US Department of Energy began testing nuclear ordinances just 65 miles from the city of Las Vegas. During these years, Las Vegas capitalized on “atomic tourism,” and hotel guests witnessed nuclear testing directly from their hotel windows. One Bomb Every Three Weeks for 12 Years Las Vegas is notoriously known for its bright lights and exciting nightlife, however, in the 1950s it became known for a different kind of light. In the 1950s the Nevada Desert was home to the most active nuclear testing in the States, where over a period of 4 decades a … Ah, perfect! Nuclear testing was taking place about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from Las Vegas, and civilian tourists would get as close to the blast as they could to throw all-night parties in sight of the mushroom cloud. From the 1950s to the early 1960s, Las Vegas experienced spectacular growth. However, outside of the neon glow of downtown Las Vegas, lay the reality of racial segregation. Are cancer rates higher in Vegas than the rest of the nation? In the 1950s, Las Vegas Sold Atomic Bomb Tests as Tourism October 04, 2020 1950s , 1960s , event & history , Las Vegas , life & culture , Nevada , travel , WTF Las Vegas is notoriously known for its bright lights and exciting nightlife, however, in the 1950s it became known for a … ' document.documentElement.className += 'js'; Thanks for commenting, Frank. In 1951, the Nevada Testing Site became the location for atomic bomb testing, located just 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Americans were in the midst of the Cold War, building bomb shelters and practicing air raid drills, when President Harry Truman selected 640 square miles in Nevada, once a part of the Nellis Air Force Base, as the Nevada Proving Grounds, the only peacetime, above ground nuclear testing site in the continental United States. In northern Nevada, cancer rates escalated in American Indian tribes, and in Utah, milk was contaminated causing a huge health risk. Then, after what seems like hours, the man-made sunburst fades away.". The 31-kiloton bomb, nicknamed the "Big Shot" by the press and "Charlie" by the Atomic Energy Commission, was enormous when compared to the 13-kiloton and 20-kiloton bombs that the United States had dropped respectively on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II. Another “boom” occurred in Las Vegas when these tests took place. 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js'); (Enter your ZIP code for information on American Experience events and screening in your area.). On the eve of detonations, many Las Vegas businesses held "Dawn Bomb Parties." Atomic Tourism The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce issued a calendar for tourists, listing the scheduled times of the bomb detonations and the best places … Specialty drinks included the “Atomic Cocktail,” a near-toxic concoction of vodka, brandy, cognac, sherry, and champagne over ice, shaken well, then poured into an oversized champagne glass and topped off with an orange wedge on the rim. Back in the 1950s, Las Vegas was not quite the same glitzy tourism magnet that it is today. Dubbed "News Nob," the journalists' post was only ten miles from ground zero, giving Americans, from the safety of their living rooms, a front seat proxy to the explosion. if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version='2.0'; At the end of World War II, the USA suddenly made the nuclear bomb so devastatingly famous… In the 1950s the States made over 900 nuclear tests in the Nevada Desert lasting over 40 days and leaving multiple craters on the sandy body […] Las Vegas establishments like the Flamingo and the Sands hawked the Atomic Cocktail, the Atomic Hairdo and Miss Atomic Bomb beauty contests. Advertising for these early morning events included taglines like, “Up and Atom!”. A lot of of reds in the aspens this year—quite a, Still a lot of color in the high country. How 1950s Las Vegas Sold Atomic Bomb Tests as Tourism Between 1950 and 1960, the population of Las Vegas grew by 161%–partly due to the burgeoning casino industry. I mostly failed and found myself spinning deeper into this weird black hole. This marketing frenzy also ushered in “Miss Atomic Bomb,” the apocalyptic pin-up girl of the 1950s. Days after the first bomb was detonated on January 27, 1951, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce issued a stream of press releases excitedly describing the new testing grounds as one of the many attractions Las Vegas had to offer. fbq('init', '271837786641409'); Photographers and reporters observe atomic explosion in the distance. I hope to write a future post on how “downwinders” were affected. Between 1950 and 1960 the population grew by 161%, partly due to the burgeoning casino industry, but another reason was the chance to see live nuclear tests in person. The city of Las Vegas transformed itself into “Atomic City, USA,” with atomic cocktails, atomic hairdos, and atomic festivities. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce promoted the blasts as a unique Vegas attraction, and printed calendars advertising detonation times and the best locations to watch the explosions. Courtesy: Las Vegas News Bureau, Sign up for the American Experience newsletter! Between 1951 and 1992, the U.S. government conducted a total of 1,021 nuclear tests at the Nevada Proving Ground (now named the Nevada Test Site, or NST) sixty-five miles north of Las Vegas. In April 1956, a young rock n’ roller, billed as “America’s only atomic-powered” singer, played nightly at The New Frontier Hotel. At night, the glow of the bombs lit up the sky, and mushroom clouds could be spotted rising over the horizon during the day. IT’S EASY TO GET LOST in the wasteland of research. Nuclear Tourism In 1950s Las Vegas. Please ge, Still plenty of time to hit some high country road. Chris Winters. A heat wave comes first, then the shock, strong enough to knock an unprepared man down. Nuclear Defense Your email address will not be published. Atomic Tourism: Vegas Visitors Watch Nukes ExplodeLas Vegas is known as the city of lights and, at one time, that light was the glow of a nuclear detonation in the Nevada desert. Beginning at midnight, guests would drink and sing until the flash of the bomb lit up the night sky. Arms spread above her head in a “V,” and a cotton mushroom cloud affixed to her white bikini, the image has become an iconic symbol of carefree Vegas kitsch set against a background of unfathomable power and destruction. But another reason was a chance to glimpse actual nuclear tests in person. . Hoping for blue skies t, Good morning greeting from a trail in Mokelumne Wi, Our new hiking buddy . Scoobs! Thanks for the comment Pat. The mushroom cloud associated with the bomb became an icon for Las Vegas, adorning postcards, candy, toys, showgirls' headdresses and more. Upward Like a Huge Umbrella “The best thing to happen to Vegas was the Atomic Bomb,” proclaimed Horseshoe Club casino owner Benny Binion. Atomic City You wait the prescribed time, then turn your head and look. I wrote a post a year ago titled, “How I Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” It focused on a generation that grew up in the age of nuclear proliferation and the resulting angst and fear of an atomic disaster. For more information a, Thanks for serving our country, Dad (photo with my, Helping out at the polls this afternoon. This one at Grover Hot, Late-season fawn was at high alert—mom and sibli, Good morning, and happy Equinox. I plan to address some of the lingering effects in future posts. Nuclear Innocence s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,'script', Looking at world events during this time, and the increasing anxiety between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it somehow became acceptable. } . The broadcast of the explosion awed Americans and officially touched off the atomic craze that swept the nation, for which Las Vegas, merely 65 miles away and the closest city to the testing site, became ground zero. Las Vegas tangled dread of nuclear war with delight over preparations for that very contingency. When the United States elected to bring World War II to a decisive halt by dropping a nuclear bomb, the fallout was sudden and devastating. The nuclear bomb hit the height of its fame when the USA used it to bring World War 2 to a sudden and devastating conclusion. but I know the fallout areas were/are significantly higher. There’s little known about Miss Atomic Bomb herself besides her stage name, Lee A. Merlin. All content copyright ©2019 Bruce Rettig. Miss Atomic Bomb, apocalyptic Las Vegas pin-up girl of the 50s. However, the city of Las Vegas had a … Atomic Tourism Six decades after the very first test, negative results from the fallout are still being calculated. 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