Delphine Squires - The First Mom of Las Vegas
Delphine Squires, known fondly around town as “mom,” was the loving and respected matriarch of one of the very first families to settle in Las Vegas. Before she and her children joined her husband in the then tiny desert town in 1905, they first lived in Los Angeles. While living in Southern California, she often looked on in admiration at the cultural and educational advantages that Las Vegas offered its residents. She brought that inspiration with her when she came to Las Vegas and began to write for one of the first newspapers, The Las Vegas Age, which was founded by her husband, Charles “Pop” Squires.
She often wrote stories that highlighted her personal difficulties with living in the desert, but she also used her platform as a writer to help forge a path of liberation for women during a time where they could not yet vote. She took it upon herself to create new opportunities for women by sharing her vision and by also becoming both a founder and an active member of multiple women’s rights organizations. One of them being the Mesquite Club, which was the first women’s service club of its kind.
She went on to become the president of the Mesquite Club and proudly led the women to serve their community in a broad range of social, civic, and philanthropic efforts. One of her greatest achievements as president was giving speakers of women's suffrage a place to speak in 1911, when Las Vegas had nowhere else to host or support them. The Mesquite Club is still active in Las Vegas today and has continued to nurture the humanitarian spirit that Delphine Squires inspired over 100 years ago.
Along with helping women gain the right to vote in Nevada, Squires was a champion for the proper education and safety of children in Las Vegas. She went on to create a branch of the Congress of Mothers that would provide community support for the local school district.
Although she made a name for herself with her philanthropic lifestyle, she was also a trailblazer for the concept of “hospitality” that our city is now celebrated. She was well-known for her neighborliness and her home quickly became the heart of hospitality. She is now remembered as the “premier hostess” of Las Vegas for the way she welcomed the new and current residents.
When she arrived in this once desolate desert town, she believed in its potential and became the visionary it needed. Las Vegas is now a world-renowned tourist destination, but thanks in part to women like Delphine Squires, it is also a place where millions of people raise their families and where women are given equal opportunity to thrive.
Photos courtesy of UNLV Special Collections and Archives.