Once upon a time, Las Vegas wasn't merely a place you could go to enjoy a few games of chance in a glamorous setting. It was also a place where, quite frequently, you could enjoy the view of a distant mushroom cloud.
The Nevada Test Site (now the Nevada National Security Site), was a mere 65 miles northwest of Vegas, giving the city a clear view of the mushroom clouds spilling up from the atomic bomb tests. A few months ago, we gave you a look at the boozy cocktail parties that sprang up around the testing schedule (complete with a signature Atomic Cocktail). These photos give you an idea of what those partygoers saw, without the double vision.
Retronaut posted the image up top, which the University of Nevada, Las Vegas identifies as the aftermath of an April 18, 1953, with the Fremont Street casinos in view. Retronaut also has some artists' renderings of this particular mushroom cloud, including a brightly colored postcard.
This photo, from the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections, captures a larger mushroom cloud, from June 1957. This was one of the largest mushroom clouds ever seen from Vegas. I wonder if an especially large toast was raised to this particular detonation.
Las Vegas Mushroom Cloud, 1953 [Retronaut]