Nevada is officially known as the "Silver State" because of the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is also known as the "Battle Born State", because it achieved statehood during the Civil War (the words "Battle Born" also appear on the state flag); as the "Sagebrush State", for the native plant of the same name; and as the "Sage-hen State".
The Nevada Test Site (NTS) is a United States Department of Energy reservation located in southeastern Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the City of Las Vegas. Formerly known as the Nevada Proving Ground, the site, established on January 11, 1951, for the testing of nuclear devices, is composed of approximately 1,350 square miles (3,500 km²) of desert and mountainous terrain. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a one-kiloton (4 terajoule) bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat on January 27, 1951. Many of the iconic images of the nuclear era come from NTS. Between 1951 and 1992, there were a total of 928 announced nuclear tests at Nevada Test Site. Of those, 828 were underground. The Nevada Test Site was the primary testing location of American nuclear devices; 126 tests were conducted elsewhere (many at the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands). During the 1950s, the mushroom cloud from these tests could be seen for almost 100 miles (160 km) in either direction, including the city of Las Vegas, where the tests became tourist attractions.
Each city is an archetype rather than a prototype, an exaggerated example from which to derive lessons for the typical. Each city vividly superimposes elements of a supranational scale on the local fabric: churches in the religious capital, casinos in the entertainment capital. These cause violent juxtapositions of use and scale in both cities. Rome’s churches, off streets and piazzas, are open to the public; the pilgrim, religious or architectural, can walk from church to church. The gambler or architect in Las Vegas can similarly take in a variety of casinos along the Strip. The casinos and lobbies of Las Vegas are ornamental and monumental and open to the promenading public.