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Artifact: Las Vegas

By Andrew Belonsky

The neon lights and nightly concerts play an essential role in Las Vegas' history, but so too does organized crime.

As powerful a force in Vegas' founding as Hollywood and Washington, and rivaled perhaps only by the Mormon Church in reach, the glitzy, glamorous mob has always blazed bright in Sin City's desert nights, but never was it as iridescent as it was in the city's early days.

But the rewards that violent world reaped were ephemeral, even for the biggest mob stars. For this week's Out Traveler Artifact, an object found during our explorations of our featured city, we present a Bulova wristwatch owned by Bugsy Siegel, the mobster murdered for skimming millions from The Flamingo, the casino he started that in turn helped start Las Vegas.

The Flamingo shines on today, and Bugsy's legacy lives on only in pop culture and in the scattered belongings he no longer carries.

The image watch comes to us courtesy of Las Vegas' The Mob Museum.

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