Las Vegas Convention Center first convention: The World Congress of Flight

Las Vegas Convention Center hosting the The World Congress of Flight convention
Las Vegas Convention Center hosting the The World Congress of Flight convention

On April 12th 1959, the Las Vegas Convention Center hosted its very first convention: The World Congress of Flight, which gave the public the opportunity to see space and aviation progress across the globe. It was accompanied by a flight demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base, which included the Air Force Thunderbirds.

“Smiley” Washburn, (image below), a prospector, recalls this same area as a barren desert wasteland, watches the then modern transportation; a civilian helicopter, an Army helicopter and an F-27 turbo prop plane, fly above the Las Vegas Convention Center. Every nation in the world was represented except three.

The convention center opened one block east of the Las Vegas Strip at the site of then closed Las Vegas Park Speedway, where horse and automobile racing used to take place. The rotunda was silver-domed and could accommodate 6,300 people seated. It was adjoined to a 90,000 sq ft exhibit hall.

W. R. "Smiley" Washburn, a prospector, watches aircraft above LVCC
W. R. “Smiley” Washburn, a prospector, watches aircraft above LVCC
Aerial view of Las Vegas Convention Center.
Aerial view of Las Vegas Convention Center.