Friday, April 27, 2007

Fort It

OK, so Blogger has come down with this hideous bug that prevents me from editing my past posts. Which is a shame, because my MO usually involves chucking the stuff up, and then editing it as soon as I realise how non-sequitur- and typo-ridden the whole is. Posting, though, is unaffected, so follows a short slide show of Las Vegas happy snaps.

The pictures of the Strip are pretty standard - cliched shots badly taken at night. More fun, though, are the pictures I took of the Old Mormon Fort a few blocks north of downtown Las Vegas. In this area are most of the city's cultural institutions (libraries, museums, sports centres), as well as most of its homeless population. I like to think that this is a coincidence.

The Fort is in fact the oldest structure in the city, erected by the Mormons in 1855, partially dismantled, and then rebuilt in the 1970s by the city's newly confident worthies. Which is to say, like much else in Vegas it's a little bit artificial, although there is apparently a shed on the site that has been up continuously.

What was most interesting about the attached museum was the evidence that the Mormons, normally so good at making a life in the most inhospitable climates, failed to create a permanent settlement in Vegas. There are a few reasons for this, including the poor soil, for which the trickle of a stream through the area cannot compensate, as well as the location. Vegas did not assume the importance it gained as a stopover to LA until much later.

But they certainly gave it the college try, building walls, a shed, and a garden, before giving up two years later, and letting the property pass in to the hands of the founding fathers of Vegas. Probably kicking themselves about the lost real estate opportunities, but then we can't all be as astute as the Jehovah's Witnesses, can we?

Anyway, a pretty nicely laid-out reminder that it wasn't all cowboys and indians rolling around in the wilderness, and that Mormons have serious cojones, their somewhat strange eschatology notwithstanding.


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