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Transcript of interview with Stuart Mason by Claytee White, November 9, 2006


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In this interview, Stuart Mason discusses his family's construction business, Taylor Construction Co., and his involvement with building various Las Vegas Strip hotels including Caesars Palace and the Riviera, and remodeling the Flamingo. He talks about working within a "social contract" with the various unions, and other aspects of construction.

Stuart Mason was born in Columbus, Ohio, and moved with his family to Miami, Florida, when he was two years old. He received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Miami in 1958. Shortly after graduation, he married his wife, Flora, and started working for Taylor International, the family business. He came to Las Vegas in 1964 to start work on Caesars Palace as the assistant project manager and eventually took over the management of the business. Mason has contributed greatly to the city of Las Vegas over the years through his contributions in the development and construction of the Las Vegas Strip and his commitment to the community. He and Flora started the Nevada Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 1970. In addition, they made donations to the UNLV University Libraries to benefit the Undergraduate Peer Research Coaches program, which helps undergraduate students obtain their college degrees. In addition to his work on Caesars Palace, Mason worked on the original and new MGMs, The Rivera, The International, the Stratosphere, and the Desert Inn, along with remodeling work at the Flamingo. Other company projects can be found in Miami, Jamaica, Aruba, the Grand Bahamas, Melbourne and Puerto Rico. His two sons took over the family business in 1997, the same year that Mason started as the Vice President of Development for the Venetian Hotel Casino.

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Stuart Mason oral history interview, 2006 November 09. OH-01211. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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An Interview with Stuart Mason An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Boyer Las Vegas Early History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ?The Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project University Nevada Las Vegas, 2007 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director and Editor: Claytee D. White Assistant Editors: Gloria Homol and Delores Brownlee Transcribers: Kristin Hicks and Laurie Boetcher Interviewers and Project Assistants: Suzanne Becker, Nancy Hardy, Joyce Moore, Andres Moses, Laura Plowman, Emily Powers, Dr. Dave Schwartz 11 The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer and the Library Advisory Committee. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases, photographic sources (housed separately) accompany the collection as slides or black and white photographs. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Boyer Early Las Vegas Oral History Project. Additional transcripts may be found under that series title. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University Nevada, Las Vegas IV Preface Stuart Mason was born in Columbus, Ohio, and moved with his family to Miami, Florida, when he was two years old. He received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Miami in 1958. Shortly after graduation, he married his wife, Flora, and started working for Taylor International, the family business. He came to Las Vegas in 1964 to start work on Caesars Palace as the assistant project manager and eventually took over the management of the business. Mason has contributed greatly to the city of Las Vegas over the years through his contributions in the development and construction of the Las Vegas Strip and his commitment to the community. He and Flora started the Nevada Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in 1970. In addition, they made donations to the UNLV University Libraries to benefit the Undergraduate Peer Research Coaches program, which helps undergraduate students obtain their college degrees. In addition to his work on Caesars Palace, Mason worked on the original and new MGMs, The Rivera, The International, the Stratosphere, and the Desert Inn, along with remodeling work at the Flamingo. Other company projects can be found in Miami, Jamaica, Aruba, the Grand Bahamas, Melbourne and Puerto Rico. His two sons took over the family business in 1997, the same year that Mason started as the Vice President of Development for the Venetian Hotel Casino. v Interview with Stuart Mason Table of Contents November 9, 2006 Conducted by Claytee White Taylor Construction- an overview of the hotels the company has built and a bit of background information 1-2 Early life and growing up in Miami with a look at the schools Mason attended 2-3 The culture of construction- explanation of the business and how Mason got into it 3-4 Marriage and children- how Mason's sons came to take over the family business 4-6 How Mason's father got his foot in the door in Las Vegas and a discussion about unions in Las Vegas 6-8 Moving to Las Vegas in 1964 to build Caesars Palace- process of moving and the friends acquired, reflections on his wife, Flora, and his impressions of Las Vegas 8-11 Flora Mason's experiences at UNLV 11 How the Civil Rights Movement impacted the Las Vegas construction scene, including more discussion on unions 11-12 Living in Vegas- Mason's different places of residence discussed, along with his sons' schooling and views of Las Vegas as a family town 13-14 Mason reflects on the mob presence in the city 14-16 Family recreation- going out to the casinos during a classier era 16-17 Building Caesars Palace- anecdotes of the first themed casino 17-18 Howard Hughes' arrival and role in Vegas are discussed 18 Mason's recollections of how outsiders have perceived Las Vegas 18-19 Past, present, and future- old and new building projects, also Mason reflects on the differences between being his own boss in the past and working for someone else in the present and future 19-20 Future of Las Vegas- growth of the city, issues with water, and the fate of downtown 20-24 1 This is Claytee White. November 9th, 2006. And I'm in the office with Stuart Mason this morning in the Venetian hotel. How are you today? Fine, thank you. Good. First I want to start, just because I've been sitting here looking at these - what is the Palazzo? Palazzo, P-a-l-a-z-z-o. Palazzo is the 3,000-room hotel and casino and retail that is going up just to the north of the Venetian hotel. When? When what? When is this going to happen? Oh, it's going up now. It's going up now? Yeah. All the structural steel you see out there is the Palazzo project. And it'll open late next year. Okay. Thank you. What is Taylor Constructions or Taylor International? That is the construction company that was the family-owned company ~ it's still family-owned ? that I used to work for. Now I work for the Venetian. And my kids now own and operate Taylor International or Taylor Construction. Give me some idea of some of the construction projects that Taylor has handled. My father had built ? who started Dick Taylor Construction ? the Saxony hotel in Miami, the Fountain Blue, the Eden Rock, the Americana, about 40 hotels on Miami Beach, plus hotels in Jamaica and Aruba and all through the West Indies and the Caribbean and the Bahamas. And then in 1964 I moved out ? well, actually in 1955 Taylor built the Riviera hotel here in Las Vegas and, subsequently, the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas and still maintained a base of operations basically in Miami. In 1964 I moved out to Las Vegas and Taylor was the primary joint-venture partner to build Caesars Palace. Of course as most people, I moved to Las Vegas never expecting to stay. And here I am what, 40-some-odd years later. That is a wonderful story. Where did the name Taylor come from? 2 In 1939 I believe it was my dad bought the company from a gentleman named Taylor, who was the father-in-law of the son-in-law that ran and operated Taylor. It had one wheelbarrow. And he bought it for I think it was $500. And the guy loaned him the $500. Oh, that's great. The gentleman was getting a divorce from Taylor's daughter. And Mr. Taylor said, "Well, he's not going to get the company; it was mine anyway." So my dad was working for the company as an estimator. So he bought the company. He just never changed the name. Wow. Tell me a little bit about Florida. Now, is that where you were born? No. I was born in Columbus, Ohio. But I was moved by my parents to Florida in, as I understand it, about 1937, somewhere like that. And you were how old? Two years old. Yeah, two, two and a half. And moved to Miami. My folks had gone there for a vacation. Of course, this was in the middle of the Depression. They had gone there for a vacation. And from what they told me, it was nice weather and my folks were living in Columbus, Ohio, in those days and they just never went back to Columbus. I think that was a smart move. Yeah. So what was it like growing up in Miami? And tell me about your schooling. Miami was a very nice small town, much similar to Las Vegas when I moved here. Kids could ride their bikes everywhere. The public transportation system, if it were raining, they went out of their way and dropped you off in front of your house. It was just a nice small town. I actually grew up in Coral Gables, which is part of Miami. It was a nice community, a very small community. And it wasn't until when I moved out here in '64 that Miami at that point had reached a population of a million people. I went to the schools in Miami. And then for high school I went to Stanton Military Academy in Virginia. I'm not quite sure why. I never have figured out why. A boarding school? A friend of mine went there. A boarding school, military boarding school. After I graduated there I went to the University of Miami and took a major in business administration. 3 I had always worked for the family company, Taylor, during the summers. When I graduated college I got married. It was just what's an easier way to make a living than just go in the family business? And I liked it. I mean I just didn't realize how much I liked it because, you know, as a young man you just never stopped to think about those things. I graduated from University of Miami in 1958 and immediately started work for the family company. I worked in Jamaica; Aruba; Puerto Rico; Grand Bahamas and Melbourne, which is now Cape Canaveral in Florida, just a continuation of the family company. And in '64 I moved out here to build Caesars Palace. Did you ever go back to school to get architectural degrees or any other degrees other than business administration? No, I didn't. I just have a business administration degree, which has served me well I think. And the construction part of the business -- you know, it's funny I've always tried to hire ~ when we've hired people; I've always tried to hire people whose family have been in the construction business. And I found that they have a certain knowledge ? I call it dinner table knowledge ~ that they've acquired over the years. So they also have a feeling for the culture of construction. The technical parts you can generally learn along the way or hire someone else that knows the technical parts. But I think the culture and the understanding of what makes construction people do what they do is probably more important than the technical parts in many respects. Could you elaborate a little more on the culture of construction? I think it's a unique culture in that while everybody has their own agenda ? by everybody I mean each subcontractor, also people on the job themselves, but particularly each subcontractor who you have working with you to build the building ? there's a common goal of building the building and seeing it finished. And there's a rhythm to the work. As the general contractor you're like the leader in many respects. And you have to exploit that common goal and that teamwork and get everybody to work together to accomplish the goal of building the building in a timely manner and on budget and at the same time realizing that the subcontractors also want to make money in what they're doing. And, you know, we have our hand in their pocket most of the time. But they wouldn't be in this business if they didn't want to build buildings and particularly large buildings like we build. So the buildings in Jamaica and Aruba, were those large buildings, as well? Oh, yeah. Well, in those days they were considered large buildings. Now they're not. But they were 4 250-, 500 -room hotels. Actually, a hotel with 250 to 350 rooms was considered a large building. Caesars Palace when we built that was I think 620 rooms and that was really a large building. So how many rooms do they have now? Caesars? I don't even know. A lot. Yes. So how did you begin to concentrate - maybe your father ~ in the hotel building? That started in Miami Beach with the Saxony Hotel. It was one of the first large hotels built. My dad with Taylor had built numerous what are now the art deco hotels on South Beach. But those were all small because I remember my dad saying that they were like $500 a room they could build in those days. But the Saxony Hotel was the first large hotel built in Miami Beach and my dad did it. He just became known for building hotels and just kept going from there. So now, your father of your business was considered the general contractor? Yes. So explain to me for someone who doesn't understand the construction business at all the difference in how you go about getting the other contractors and all of that. Well, now days the construction business is a little different. In those days the general contractor had a contract with the owner and all the subcontractors had contracts with the general contractor. That's a little different now days. On these large projects like we have here and in Las Vegas, most of the projects are done by construction management. And that is the construction manager in this case on the Palazzo, as an example, Taylor, has a contract with the owner. And then Taylor manages ? solicits bids ? actually, let me start from the beginning. Taylor has a contract with the owner. Some of Taylor's responsibility is the administration of the architect, particularly supervision in the sense of making sure the work is done timely and in a manner that the building is constructible, can be built. Then Taylor solicits ~ and a managing contractor does this ~ bids or proposals from contractors for different areas of the work such as plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning, block work, hanging of the doors and all this type of stuff, and then coordinates those trades and makes it work as a unit to build the building as a team that meshes together to build the building. Now I'm going to go back to your private life. You told me that at one point you had gotten married. 5 Yes. This was in Florida? Yes. How did you meet your wife? I was going to University of Miami and I met my wife at a fraternity party. One of the fraternity brothers of mine was my wife's brother and he brought his sister to a fraternity because he felt that she should meet some college boys. She was a junior in high school and he felt she should meet some college boys. And, fortunately, I met her. And we got married when she was 18 and I was 22. Oh, that's wonderful. I had just graduated college and I was 22 years old. And she was 18 and had graduated high school. They made us wait until she graduated high school. I just can't image how they even allowed us to get married. It's beyond me. But it's lasted all these years. Yes, it has. And how many children do you have? We have three children, a girl [deceased - Deborah Ann] and two boys [Bill and Jim], And those are the two boys who run the Taylor Construction [Company] now? Yes. How did you continue to keep that in the family? How did you encourage them to go into the business? By not encouraging them. It was their choice. But, actually, they went away to school, to college. And after college they went to work for other people. And, eventually, both of them said they wanted to move back to Las Vegas. They wanted to try their hand at the construction business. I was a little fearful of it in the beginning, quite frankly, because I felt, whoa, it puts an obligation on me to continue the company and so on. And we talked about it openly. And the decision was made that they would give it a try. And they did. And then about ? well, in 1997 Sheldon Adelson was assembling the team to build the Venetian hotel. And he came to me and wanted to hire me. I said, "No, I'm not going to do that." He hired me as a consultant and I was a consultant for a while. Then the gentleman who had my job 6 left and Mr. Adelson asked me to take his position. By then I was comfortable enough and the boys were comfortable enough in Taylor that they said they would buy Taylor. So they did. And I went to work for the Venetian, full-time employee. First time I ever worked for anybody else in my entire life. How do you like it? How did you like that transition? Actually, it was pretty good. There's a lot of freedom in working for somebody else and particularly in a large company. If somebody has a personal problem or a problem with insurance, it's nice to say, well, I'm sure human resources can help you with that or the benefits department. It has its downside, but it also has its upside. It's nice to work for somebody else when you don't have to work. That's right. Tell me about the Riviera. That was the first building here. And I think it was Las Vegas's first real high-rise. That's true, yeah. So tell me about that and the whole process of moving here to do something like that. Well, my dad did that job. And that building was designed by a gentleman by the name of Roy France out of Miami. And he took the plans from a building that my father had built in Miami and just changed the name and made some structural changes. I've been trying to think of the name of the building. I may think of it before the interview is over. And they changed the name and came out here and built the building. So your father was a natural for that building? Yes. And so that got his foot in the door in Las Vegas? Yes. And the Tropicana again was ~ The Tropicana was owned by the Jaffe family. And my dad had built a building in Miami for the Jaffe family. And when they came out here, of course they asked him to build the Tropicana. So when we say it's a small world, this really - Oh, yeah, really a small world. Yes. In Las Vegas we are known as a union town. 7 Yes. Tell me about working with unions. How do you find that? As far as the construction trades are concerned -- and that's the only union I can speak of is the construction trades --1 found that around 1966 or '67 from my viewpoint peace was made between the unions and the contractors. And the unions have always been straight up, as have the contractors. I've never been asked for anything by a union official. I think that our common goal is sort of a social contract in that the union has the labor and I have the need to employ that labor. And without me the union's people are not employed, and without the union I don't have anybody to employ. And I think that's a social contract that exists between us. I think Las Vegas is an example of how it can function in a positive manner. So you find that it's easier to find your workers because they're already organized through a union? Oh, yeah. And in addition to that, when Taylor went to Reno to build the MGM in Reno, I wanted to make sure there was a continuation of labor available to us. And we negotiated. It was the first time this had been done in the state of Nevada. I negotiated a project labor agreement with the unions. I negotiated on the following basis: That everybody on the job would be union. Every construction employee on the job would be union. There would be no jurisdictional disputes, which are the big problems in the construction industry. A sheet metal worker claiming that the drywall shaft has replaced a sheet metal shaft; therefore, the sheet metal worker should do it rather than the dry waller. And I said there will be no jurisdictional disputes and that there will be no strikes. There will be no walkouts. If a union contract expires during the term of the construction project, the men will continue working until the contract is negotiated; however, there will be no work stoppage. And in return for basically those two things and some other minor adjustments ? now it's drug testing and some other things; you know, as the years have gone on, it's changed a little bit ? but in return for basically those two philosophical elements, I guaranteed to the union that everybody on the job site would be union. It's worked quite well. And now it's not uncommon at all for projects to have project labor agreements. The Palazzo has a project labor agreement. Most of the --1 can't say most of them -- a good part of the large public works jobs are project labor agreements. 8 That's interesting. Now, what happens if your men are on the job and some longshoremen or somebody that has a part in this go on strike? At one time unions would not cross other picket lines. Is that a problem ever? At one time they wouldn't. In your example, we don't use longshoremen obviously. But whatever union it is that goes on strike, the men that are working on this particular project continue to work and there's no picket lines put up around the job and everything continues. At the point in time that the union settles the industry-wide strike with the carpenters or longshoremen or whoever it might be at that point in time the employers of that trade craft, union, pay retroactive to the employees the pay raise that was granted. That's interesting. So you came out here in '64, you went to work on Caesars Palace. How did that negotiation go? How did that job come about for your company? Interestingly enough, when my father had completed the Riviera and the Tropicana, the project manager on that job was a man by the name of R.C. Johnson. R.C. Johnson, Rob Johnson, had decided to stay here in town and he started a company called R.C. Johnson & Associates as a general contractor. When the Caesars Palace opportunity came up ? I'm not sure how my dad met Jay Sarno, but Jay Sarno wanted to build Caesars Palace. My dad said okay and he contacted R.C. Johnson, Rob Johnson, out here and a joint venture was formed between Rob Johnson and Taylor to build Caesars Palace. And why did you decide to move to Las Vegas? Well, since I had married I had been traveling for seven years. I left home almost every Monday morning and came home Friday afternoon. And I decided to live at home. Anyhow, moving out here was a good experience and it was fun. And how long was Caesars Palace supposed to require? As I recall two years. I'm really not sure. But quite awhile. Quite awhile. Las Vegas, when I moved here in '64, was in the depths of a housing glut, almost a depression. I mean there were vacant houses all over the place. And I rented a home behind the Boulevard Mall. The Boulevard Mall was not even built. In fact, I remember when we came out 9 here there was a store by the name of Ronzoni's downtown, a department store. I know for the kids-stuff my wife, as did a lot of the other wives, did shopping at the Sears catalog store. There wasn't even a Sears and Roebuck. You went down to the catalog store and ordered clothing. We lived on a cul-de-sac down there, rented that home, and we were the only one on the cul-de-sac. There was tumbleweed coming down the street and everything. I remember I picked up my wife at the airport. Actually, I went back to Miami, got her and then came back here. And she couldn't come out - so I was here about four to five months ~ because she was pregnant. The doctor wouldn't let her travel. And then when we came out here, I had already rented the home. I had already rented some furniture. It was nighttime. And, of course, McCarran was - you could pull the car right out to the airplane, national airlines. It was dark when we got home. She woke up the next morning and looked out the window. And there's barren desert, no grass, no trees, no nothing and tumbleweed down the street. And she started crying. And the kids are crying. She's crying. The phone rings. It's her mother calling. And I'm getting dressed to go to work. I'm thinking, oh, my God; all I want to do is get out of here and go to work. So I left her crying. So how long did it take her to get adjusted to Las Vegas? Oh, not long. In those days this was a very close community. There weren't that many people. There were 350,000 people in the entire state I think in those years as I remember and about 150,000 of them here in Las Vegas. There weren't that many traffic signals. It didn't take that long. Who were some of your first friends? Well, the Jay Sarno family eventually moved onto our street. Jay moved there and other people moved into our street. And then all the kids played together. That little cul-de-sac of ours - I think at one time we had 28 kids living on that street. Of course, the kids just went out and played on the street. Then we joined the Beth Shalom, the Jewish temple, and made friends through the temple. I made friends through the construction business. You know, you just integrate yourself within the community and find people that are similar to you and that you like being with. So getting back to marrying Flora when she was 18, when did she go to school? Well, she graduated high school just that year, in June of that year, and we got married in December. And she went to Beach High, Miami Beach High. 10 But didn't she go to college, though? No, she didn't. In those days she didn't go to college. In fact, Flora didn't go to college until - oh; she went a couple of semesters in Miami, but nothing serious. She really started school out here when the boys went away to college. She went to UNLV. In fact, I talked to her father, my father-in-law. And he and I were good friends and I really enjoyed him very much, loved him. And I remember telling him what kind of a deal was this; he gives me a woman that's uneducated; and that he ought to pay her tuition, which he did. Oh, that's great. He paid I think one or two years of her tuition. Oh, that's wonderful. What other organizations did you join early on? I don't think there were any organizations. There really weren't. There may be. I just can't recall. This was a small town. There was obviously the Better Business Bureau and that kind of stuff. But 1 never joined any organizations. I was, quite frankly, busy building buildings. Did you ever join the Chamber? The company did, yeah. I think they did, yeah. Okay good. Tell me more about that 1964 depression, almost, of the city. What other ways was it evident? Well, there was no ? I mean people were looking for work obviously. But wherever you went there were vacant homes. It was not uncommon to ? well I can tell you that Paradise was not paved. All of Paradise was not paved. Eastern was not paved all the way. There were just vacant homes everywhere. I'll give you an example of how desolate it was. Now there's concrete and asphalt everywhere. In those days when the wind would blow, we issued goggles to the men on the job because there was so much sand. There were sandstorms all the time. So when the wind would blow like it is today sort of, we would issue goggles to the men on the job because sand would get in their eyes. Wherever you looked ~ I mean from the railroad tracks west it was nothing, absolutely nothing. I remember standing on the top of Caesars. We were pouring concrete. And our concrete superintendent ~ I'm standing there with him. I'm looking out to the west. I see all these little shacks here and there. I said, "What in the world are those things?" The guy's name was Zimmerman. I forget his first name. He said, "Oh, those are homestead shacks. You ought to do 11 that." I said, "Why? It's just desert." He says, "No, no." (End tape 1, side A.) Through the post office and you could homestead out there. You had to make I think it was $650, some such number, in improvements at your homestead each year and after five years it was yours. And it was probably 40 acres. I think. Whatever it was. I don't even remember what it was. I didn't do it. But a lot of people were doing it. He says, you know us guys all get together and once a month or so we go out there and we improve each other's shacks so that we put in our $600. He said, "Then it'll be yours." I said, "Who in the hell wants that land? It's in the middle of the desert." Of course, now, you know, anywhere west of the railroad tracks, it's all developed. But there were all these parcels. From the railroad tracks west to where Hughes -- which is where Summerlin starts -- not all of it was available for homesteading, but a lot of it was available for homesteading. I've never heard that information. That is great. What are some of the stories that Flora told you about the university? Do you remember any of those? How small it was? Well, the university was small. When Flora went there it was very small. Of course, she was in the English Department and loved it. She liked her teachers and eventually became what they called a P-99. I've come to understand that that's the line on the budget, the P-99 line. A lectureship is what she ended up getting in the English Department. She loved teaching. She said that being around the young people at the university kept her young. In fact, I think that's probably true. And she got her master's degree out there in English. And she enjoyed it very much. I think as the university started to grow, though, she became a little disillusioned with the politics of the university and eventually retired. But she enjoyed every year of her teaching. That's great. That is great. I want to know more about that period of the 60s. Across the country we have the Civil Rights Movement and it was no different here. Some of the first blacks hired in an integrated setting on the Strip worked at Caesars Palace, first cocktail waitress on the strip, that kind of thing. How did you see that in the construction part of the building? In the 60s integration had not taken place amongst the unions other than the labor union and it was 12 very unusual to find a man of eolor in the electricians, the plumbers or any of the other trades. And by the way, some of that was not because of prejudice. Some of it was because over the years in certain trade unions - the electricians and certain other trade unions - to enter that union you almost had to have a relative working in that union. And it's the same today. It's tough to get into the electricians union. You have to pass exams. They only accept so many apprentices a year. It's just one of those things. Getting back to your question, the Laborers' Union was never quite that way. So when you say "laborer union" ~ In the construction trades you have electricians union, plumbers union and sheet metal union. So the skilled? They're skilled crafts. And then you have a union called the Laborers' Union. See, Laborers' Union basically services these other unions. They're the guys that clean up. They're the guys that pick up the lumber on the job. They're the guys that build scaffolding or something like that or push the buggies. They do the manual labor, if you will, on the job site. Which reminds me. You asked me about in '64, '65 about how desolate Las Vegas was. When we built Caesars Palace, there was the Caesars Wash. There was a wash going through there. Remember the old ~ I forget what it was called. When it rained it flooded and water ran down there. And in those days things were cheap and we used lumber to frame the job. It would be the formwork where you pour concrete into the forms. And we used that lumber. And when we were done with it, we would pile it in the back and we would burn it. It was cheaper to do that than it was to haul it to the dump. Now days you'd never be able to do that. And we would have these fires going all the time, burning the lumber. Now days you could never do that. And we did that in the wash behind Caesars Palace. Now, didn't that wash at one time flood this side of the street? It was the parking lot. It was the parking lot for Caesars Palace - or part of it, one of the parking lots for Caesars Palace. What we did was we just compacted the soil and put asphalt down and people would park in the wash. And periodically it would flood. It would flood over Las Vegas Boulevard. I mean I remember water in the Flamingo Hotel and so on. It would flood over Las Vegas Boulevard. Of course, the cars that were parked there would be washed away. But, quite frankly, 13 everyone sort of thought, well, that's sort of the way it is. If you're dumb enough to park there... That's what happens. How long did you and your family live in that area that's now behind the Boulevard Mall? We lived there almost 30 years. I can tell you that because we paid the mortgage off on the home. I remember it's the first mortgage I ever paid off. And where did you go after that? After that we moved to - the kids had moved out already and been married -- Corte Bella, which is on the TPC Golf Course on the west side of town. TPC? It's part of Summerlin out by Rampart. And we lived there about nine or ten years and then moved into our present home where you've been on th