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Centennial Grants

495 S. Main St., 89101

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In 1905 a land auction near where the Plaza hotel-casino sits today began the city of Las Vegas. Since then the city has grown from a dusty stop on the Union Pacific railway to a part of a vibrant metropolitan areas that is home to more than 2.1 million people.

Mayor Oscar B. Goodman had big plans to celebrate the city’s Centennial and most of them came to fruition quite spectacularly during a year-long celebration in 2005. Today the Centennial continues to influence the city through the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial. The commission is a group of appointed citizens who oversee the distribution of centennial grants to generate community projects that promote and preserve Las Vegas history. The mission of the Las Vegas Centennial Commission is to preserve and celebrate the history of the people and the city of Las Vegas.

The group receives funding through the Centennial license plate, a special commemorative plate still available through the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The plate features the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign designed by Betty Whitehead Willis in 1959, which still stands in the median island south of Tropicana Avenue on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Since 2005 the commission has awarded more than $21 million in grants to projects like the Las Vegas Days Parade and Rodeo, the restored, vintage neon signage that is in the medians on Las Vegas Boulevard downtown, the Historic Westside School and the Natural History Museum. Funding has also been given to artists developing historical films and documentaries, oral histories and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

For more information contact Diane Siebrandt at dsiebrandt@lasvegasnevada.gov.

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"City of Las Vegas, The Early Years"

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