Nuclear Tourism in the 1950s

The tiny town of Las Vegas grew exponentially due to the building of the Hoover Dam and then legalized gambling. The Mafia took advantage of this and made Las Vegas a party city. In the 1950s, another attraction drew tourists to Vegas: nuclear explosions.

The US military conducted above-ground nuclear tests at Yucca Flats, only 65 miles from Vegas. They brought in 100,000 military and staff to conduct and witness these tests. Between 1951 and 1963, nuclear detonations occurred fairly regularly in Nevada, and people came from all over the country to watch them. Las Vegas businesses threw parties the night before detonations, arranged bus tours closer to the action, and in between detonation days shuttled tourists to bomb craters. No one seemed to be afraid; the effects of nuclear fallout weren't quite understood at the time, and besides, enlisted men were much closer to the explosions. Read about nuclear tourism and see lots of pictures at Rare Historical Photos. -via Damn Interesting

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