Leaders from the city of Las Vegas recently gathered with members of long-time Las Vegas family, the Beardens, to officially dedicate the Bearden Family Paseo in the heart of the Las Vegas Medical District. The paseo, measuring a “quaint” 22 feet deep by 330-feet long, is named for the Beardens, who once operated a horse ranch on the property, and whose roots date back to the city’s early pioneer settlers, Robert E. and Mary Ellen Lake, who came to Las Vegas in 1904. The couple purchased some of the first lots from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1905, later building the community’s first school – a tent with a wooden floor north of Stewart Avenue between Second and Main Streets.
The Lake’s children were among the first to graduate from Las Vegas High School. Mary Ellen Lake was a charter member of the First Methodist Church, the first church built in Las Vegas, and she was also a midwife, helping to deliver some of the firstborn Las Vegas natives. Urban folklore says that Robert Lake, a barber, would cut the hair of any young man who wouldn’t sit still. From delivering babies, building schools, organizing churches and cutting hair, the Beardens did it all!
Ada Lake Bearden was the daughter of Robert and Mary Ellen Lake. She, along with her son, Gene Bearden, transformed this area in the 1950s from Bearden Ranch – a working horse ranch – into a housing development with six houses that Gene personally built. Proudly, the Bearden family had five grandsons who served in World War II. And today, Gene’s sons, Mike, Dan and Gary, now carry on the stucco construction company started by Gene in the 1970s.
Located west of MLK and north of Wellness Way (formerly Bearden Drive), the paseo features natural landscape, picnic area, adult exercise equipment, single and group seating areas and a bike rack. It is intended to provide a place of quiet contemplation or socialization for the thousands of workers employed at nearby hospitals and medical facilities in the Las Vegas Medical District, as well as a fun place to visit and play for families who live in neighborhoods surrounding the Medical District.
The ceremony also marked the official naming of Wellness Way, formerly Bearden and Goldring Avenue, which runs east from Shadow Lane (Bearden) and west from Shadow Lane just north of UMC (Goldring). It was renamed in April 2017 as part of a long-term master plan for the area focused on the development and evolution of a cohesive medical district that includes physical infrastructure improvements as well as a more coordinated approach to medical care with the arrival of the UNLV School of Medicine and a growing number of ancillary medical facilities.
Photo: Unveiling the Paseo monument. Left to right: Jamie Bearden Clausen, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian, City Manager Scott Adams.