Honoring the “First Lady of Las Vegas”
March is National Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. This year’s theme is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic.
All month long, we will be honoring local women of the past and present who were and are movers and shakers in our community. This week we pay tribute to Helen Jane Stewart. She is known as a Southern Nevada pioneer, and was considered the “First Lady of Las Vegas.”
In 1902, Stewart sold 1,834 acres of ranch land, including the water rights, to the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, and this land was established as the City of Las Vegas in 1905.
Among her many accomplishments and contributions, Stewart served as the first postmaster of Las Vegas for ten years (1893-1903), and became the first woman elected to the Clark County School District's Board of Trustees in 1916. She also helped fund the city’s first public library.
In 1922, Stewart donated land for the Las Vegas Grammar School, which was built in the following year. It was the first public school attended by Native American students from the Southern Paiute Indian Colony. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The next time you’re walking, biking, or riding the bus down Stewart Avenue in Downtown Las Vegas, remember, that roadway is named in honor of Helen Jane Stewart.