Atomic Bomb Tourism in 1950's Las Vegas

Atomic Bomb Tourism in 1950's Las Vegas

Nuclear testing and atomic energy was rampant in the United States starting in 1951, and Nevada was a hotspot for all things explosive. Las Vegas was beginning its boom with hotels, casinos and entertainment. Tourism was on the rise and the atomic age was ready to put on a show.

Photo: bloomberg.com

Photo: bloomberg.com

About 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the US Department of Energy tested over 1000 nuclear devices at the Nevada Test Site. The first bomb was detonated on January 27 1951, and not too long after the Chamber of Commerce was ready to get in on the action. After an April 22, 1952 televised broadcasts of the bomb testing, Vegas really leaned into the atomic craze, calendars were made advertising the detonation times and the best spots to see the show. Binion's Horseshoe showcased their bomb facing rooms complete with Atomic Cocktails and Dawn Bomb Parties. The women donned mushroom cloud garb and competed for the Miss Atomic Energy crown at the Sands. The literal and figurative fallout took its toll and by 1963, the limited test ban was in effect banning above ground nuclear testing at the site.

Photo: Nevada Public Radio

Photo: Nevada Public Radio