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Transcript of interview with Ashley Hall by Claytee White, September 2, 2015







Ashley Hall was born April 3, 1943 in Caliente, Nevada. After high school, he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad at the Nevada Test Site as a cashier and as a signalman. He later attended Brigham Young University and the University of Nevada, Reno. After college, Hall served the City of Las Vegas in significant ways. Notably, as City Manager he was instrumental in the initial development of Summerlin, Nevada. Though he has retired from local politics, he remains active as the President of the Old Spanish Trail Association and as the U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador.

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Hall, Ashley Interview, 2015 September 2. OH-02488. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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i AN INTERVIEW WITH ASHLEY HALL An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans, Franklin Howard Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans, Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. 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 and 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 accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE Ashley Hall was born April 3, 1943 in Caliente, Nevada. After high school, he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad at the Nevada Test Site as a cashier and as a signalman. He later attended Brigham Young University and the University of Nevada, Reno. After college, Hall served the City of Las Vegas in significant ways. Notably, as City Manager he was instrumental in the initial development of Summerlin, Nevada. Though he has retired from local politics, he remains active as the President of the Old Spanish Trail Association and as the U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador.v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Ashley Hall September 2, 2015 and September 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Claytee D. White Preface………………………………………………………………..…………………………iv Ashley recalls his childhood; talks about revisiting his childhood home; worked as a cowboy; discusses his family history; explains the Spanish Trail’s history and location; describes the upkeep and maintenance of the Spanish Trail; recalls his parent’s careers; worked at the Nevada Test Site; describes the last atmospheric atomic test; remembers women who worked for the test site; explains the process of atomic testing; discussed how the site used film badges to monitor employee radiation; traveled to Scotland as missionary; worked as a signalman for the Union Pacific Railroad; described the experiences of African Americans at the test site; lived on the test site; describes the largest underground test he ever saw………………………………………1-16 Ashley describes his start in politics; attended college and graduate school; worked for the Clark County Manager; worked for Senator Paul Laxalt; remembers Russ Dorn; describes Las Vegas, Nevada in 1983; recalls the process of improving the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; recalls what Downtown Las Vegas looked like in 1983; remembers Benny Binion; moved Summa Corporation to Las Vegas; helped Steve Wynn purchase the land for the Mirage; recalls the origins of the development of Summerlin; discusses the development of Summerlin and its Senior Community; describes the process of infrastructure development in Summerlin; sold land in Summerlin to developers; remembers John Goolsby; worked with mayors in Las Vegas; discusses the Mormon Mafia; remembers Judge Hayes; tells a story about Senator Laxalt at the Frontier Hotel; remembers Lena Sharp; Tom Warden discusses his career as a newsman…………………………………………………………….………………………..17-47 Ashley explains the history of the Santa Fe Trail; discusses the Mormon Mafia and its members; discusses the evolution of gaming in Las Vegas; remembers Bill Gay; recalls the purchasing of Summerlin and the development of the land; describes the experience of working with Howard Hughes; remembers Bob Stupak and Bob Maheu; describes the experience of working with mayors of Las Vegas; explains the process of hobbling horses………………………….… .47-67 vi 1 This is Claytee White. It is September second, 2015. I am with Mr. Ashley Hall in the Reading Room of Special Collections at UNLV. How are you doing, Mr. Hall? Good. Fantastic. Could you spell your name for me, please? It's the old-fashion Ashley, A-S-H-L-E-Y. Thank you. Also with us today we have Tom. Tom, would you pronounce your name and spell it for me, please? Sure. It's Tom Warden. Tom is common spelling. Warden is W-A-R-D-E-N. We have other people in the room, but they're not going to say anything, so we're not going to introduce them to the tape. Mr. Hall, I want to start with your early life. Can you tell me where you grew up, what that was like, how many brothers and sisters; those kinds of things? I grew up in Eastern Nevada. I was born in a little town called Caliente, Nevada. It was an old railroad town. My father worked in the roundhouse at Caliente. I came from a ranching family. My parents had lived in the area for many, many years. My great-grandparents had helped settle the area back in the 1860s. And so our family's been around that area for quite a while. Growing up in Panaca, Nevada, P-A-N-A-C-A, was interesting for a boy. It was like a Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn place because you had quite a bit of water, a good swimming hole, a lot of snakes, some of them good and some of them not so good, also a lot of jelly beds. What is that? Like quicksand, you step on it and you go through crust and drop out of sight and you don't come 2 back. As a boy, I became familiar with all of these places in the meadows. It's referred to as the meadows, but you can tell where all of the soft earth is because it has bulrushes around them. Livestock will not get close to them. Some cattle do fall in and you can't get them out unless you have a tractor or something big to pull them out before they sink. So I grew up in Panaca, spent lots of time in Caliente and Pioche, Nevada because of family there. We had an old ranch out east of Pioche at a place called Eagle Valley, another great meadow valley. I took my entire family back there over the second, third, and Fourth of July and we spent four days just roaming the town, just talking about what we did here when I was a boy. We went up to the old ‘stone’ ranch house, which is above the reservoir at Eagle Valley. Today it's called the Old Stone Ranch because there was an old ranch house built probably in the early 1900s and over the years people that have lived in it have kept it pretty nice. It was in a nice setting, a meadow across the road, with some nice rocky hills directly behind the Ranch House. This is a very inviting place for kids to go and do things. Brothers and sisters? I have seven brothers and one sister. I'm in the very middle of the family; I'm number five, four above and four below. So what kind of work did you do growing up? A lot of ranching work. I was a cowboy at a very early age. Not too many people would believe that. I could not stand a hat because it kept blowing off, so I got sunburned a lot, that's where I my skin cancer on my face resulted from. So explain to me what a cowboy did at that time. Well, cowboys are cowboys; that is, you take cattle to the various meadows where they can pasture all day and then you take them back in the corral in the evening. Sometimes I rode a 3 horse; sometimes I didn't. It really depended on where we were going. A lot of people say, "Well, if I would have been you, I would have been riding a horse all the time." Well, sometimes horses get monotonous and sometimes walking is as good as riding depending, again, how far you go. I had a great time as a boy. I helped round up of the cattle and calves in the fall, branded them, notched their ears and made sure they were healthy. So was it like "Rawhide?" Yes, but no guns. No guns, okay, good. No stampedes either, our heard was not big enough – maybe 40 or so cattle each year. We would sell the yearling calves each fall. But I'll tell you, there were some mean bulls. I got chased out of a few pastures by some pretty upset bulls, I had to keep my guard up all the time, I did not want one those big guys to tackle me. One large bull took me right through a fence on day, a day to remember and be thankful I was not hurt, only scratches from the barbed wire fence. So now, your brothers also did this kind of work? Yes, but as they grew up, they begin working on jobs that paid money like mining and railroad, so more and more duties fell on us younger boys. And your sister? My sister came along so late in life I was almost gone from home when she arrived. And what about your mother, what was her life like? My dear mother came from a pioneer family. My great-grandparents came west in the mid-1840’s and early 1850s. All three of my Great Grand Parents lived on the Old Spanish Trail. (The commerce trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Los Angeles, California –1829-1848). My family has been involved directly or indirectly in the Old Spanish Trail or in the Old Spanish 4 National Historic Trail Association. I grew up with a mother who loved history and was fascinated with the history of the Old Spanish Trail. (My Great Grandfather Jacob Mica Truman, was a member of Company C of the Mormon Battalion, a battalion of the Army of the West, during the Mexican/American War of 1846-1847. I am presently the President of the Old Spanish Trail Association. One of the things I tell audiences when I talk to them is that with my grandchildren represent the sixth generations of our family who have been involved in the Old Spanish Trail, directly or indirectly. My great-grandfather Truman’s military company was assigned to guard the Cajon Pass in early 1847 on the Old Spanish Trail because it was one of the only entrances into Southern California was part of the Army of the West when the battle with Mexico and U.S. took place over in California and the western part of the United States. Tell me where the Spanish Trail starts and ends. It begins in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Plaza, travels northwest to Abiquiú, then on to Durango and Cortez, Colorado, entering Utah at Moab, then travels west/southwest through Richfield, Circleville, through the Wasatch Mountain entering on the west side at a town called Paragonah, Parowan, Enoch and then directly west to the Escalante Valley, south along the foothills to Holts Canyon, up to the Mountain Meadows, continuing Southwest through Veyo, Gunlock and then over Utah Hill at the extreme southwest corner of Utah. From there it continues south to the Beaver Dams, Littlefields and crosses the Virgin River to the South side and runs along the area of Bunkerville and Riverside before crossing the river again and entering Half-Way Wash on the east side of the Mormon Mesa, goes up the east bench of the Mesa to the table and goes directly west across the Mesa to today’s I-15 at Communication Hill just above Glendale, dropping off the Mesa it arrives at the Muddy River, crosses it and proceeds southwest to Las Vegas. From Las Vegas it goes southwest out through a ravine near Sena on the extreme southwestern edge of 5 the Las Vegas Valley, proceed up the ravine to the Blue Diamond Mine, on to the Blue Diamond Spring and over a pass on the east side of Blue Diamond to Cottonwood Wash, up Cottonwood Wash (Hwy 160 to Pahrump) to the turn off at Potosi, on to the top of Mountain Springs Pass, down into the Pahrump Valley to Sandy Valley Road and continues southwest through Stump Springs, Emigrant Pass, Resting Springs, Tecopa, Fort Irwin, Barstow, Victorville, San Bernardino, on to the San Gabriel Mission and finely on the LA Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles where they sold their goods. One of the important elements that were essential for the success of the Trail was water and grass sufficient to feed at least 100 mules at a time each day. Springs became the life blood of the Trail because of the abundance of grass around them. Las Vegas Meadow and Springs, Resting Springs and other spring locations made the Old Spanish Trail possible. Of course the Las Vegas Fort area was not built at that time, but the meadow area where the Old Las Vegas Fort now stands provided abundance of water and feed for their livestock. My great-grandfather Job Pitcher Hall settled Parowan, Utah in 1851 and Paragonah, Utah (4 miles north of Parowan) in 1853, my Grandfather Hall, William Wesley Hall, was born in Paragonah in 1853. So was there a portion at one time—do you know where Blue Diamond is? Yes. So did a portion go through there at one time? Yes. From Las Vegas the Trail goes out through Howard Hughes’ property to Blue Diamond. Okay, good. I've already talked to Tom about that. That's how this started. 6 It goes out the Howard Hughes property at Sena, through a big detention basin there, up a ravine to the Blue Diamond mine, comes down on the highway through Blue Diamond, and then it turns left and goes up over a little saddle down to the old wash, which was called Cottonwood Wash, adjacent to Highway 160 that goes to Pahrump, Nevada. Then goes up the wash over the...In fact, the next time to go to Pahrump, stop at the World Famous Bar and Grill. On top there's a monument that sets up there, this Old Spanish Trail monument. We have thirty of those between Bunkerville and the California state line. Who keeps those in order, clean and all of that? The Old Spanish Trail Markers (Obelisks) are 7 feet high, approx 12 inches square at the base tapering to 6 inches at the top, with Old Spanish Trail, 1829-1848 stamped in them on two sides, with an arrow head pointing up at the top showing the direction of the Trail. They go in the ground about eighteen inches, so only five and a half feet stick out. We've had a total of 22 Eagle Scout projects since 2014 to remarking the trail. The original Old Spanish Trail Markers were installed in 1964 as part of the Nevada Centennial celebration. "Scoop" Garside, who used to be one of the principles at the Las Vegas Review-Journal; Zel Lowman, an old Boy Scouter and state legislator; Judge Lytle and host of other people (Virgil Slade and Ted Warthen). Ted was the owner of Warthen Buick on East Sahara Avenue, he was a one-legged man who always helped people because he his commitment to the Las Vegas community and he had the financial ability to do so. Virgil Slade helped provide the construction of the Markers – there were 31 initial Markers erected in 1964 through Southern Nevada. Additionally, many Boy Scouts and other people assisted in the erection of the Markers. We are replacing 26 of the original Markers as part of Nevada’s Sesquicentennial celebration beginning in 2014. Our planning began in 2010! 7 Fantastic. Thank you for that. Governor Sandoval, the Lieutenant Governor and approximately 300 well-wishers gathered on October 30, 2013 to unveil the Replacement Markers, with the first replacement Marker being placed at the Old Las Vegas Mormon State Historic Park in downtown Las Vegas. Excellent. Thank you so much. We hear about that trail all the time, but it's not often that someone knows it that well. Tell me about your schooling. Did you leave the Pioche area at some point to go away to school? My mother and father were born on the Utah side of what was then the old Utah Territory. They were both from an old ghost town named Hebron which sat in the hills west of present day Enterprise, Utah, this was a little pioneer town that stood between 1870 and 1915. My father had moved to Nevada to become a cowboy in his teenage years. My parents’ names were: Mae Truman Hall and Clifford Hall, my father was 9 years older than my mother. In fact, my name comes from an old cowboy friend of my father from Tonopah; his name was Ashley Rice. So when I came along, my dad said, "You got his name." Anyway, my father worked in Nevada. Nevada was a much more lucrative place to work than southwestern Utah—mines, ranching, farming, railroad; those kinds of things. My father was a great carpenter, but was a jack of all trades. He could build or fix anything around the house, the ranch or the farm. We had two small ranches, one in Eagle Valley, east of Pioche and then one south of Panaca. My father had leased two other old ranches, one at Wilson Cree, Northeast of Pioche and one at Round Mountain, both were used for summer grazing. Over the years my mother would get homesick and wanted to go home to visit her parents and family. So my poor dad would move mom and the kids back to the Utah for a couple of years, my mom 8 would miss him and then move back to Nevada where my father worked. During my growing up years we moved five different times between Panaca, Nevada and Enterprise, Utah, the towns were 45 miles apart. Was it unusual for a woman to do that? No. My mother was a pretty opinionated lady, very strong willed, yet got along with most people. That's great. She was a reporter for a county newspaper. She liked to get out and do things. She was involved in the Old Spanish Trail when I was a boy. I went with her to the dedication of an Old Spanish Trail Monument near New Castle, Utah on the Old Spanish Trail on the 29th of September of 1950. The Old Spanish Trail Association from Cedar City, Utah arranged to have hundred Old Spanish Trail Monuments erected on that date between Santa Fe and L.A. The one at New Castle still stands today, as do many others. The three that once stood in the Las Vegas Valley are no longer to be found. One stood at the Old Fort, one at the Railroad Depot and one in front of a business downtown, but they stand no more. So when was your mother born? My mother was born in 1911 in little pioneer town called Hebron, Utah, this is approx 13 miles from the Utah/Nevada state line between Enterprise, Utah and Panaca, Nevada. Which year? My father was born there in 1902 at Enterprise, Utah (His father was one of the early settlers of the town). Wow. Perfect. So tell me more about when you left home. How did that happen? Did you go away to school? 9 When I finished high school, I had no money to go to college. My family was poor and so I needed to work to earn enough money to go to college and start life on my own. In the fall of 1961, after graduating from High School in Enterprise my father and came to Las Vegas looking for work. My father would not pass the physical to work at the Nevada Test Site, but I did, so I stayed and worked at the Nevada Test Site, forward testing area – Area 12. So which year was that? October 1961! Area 12 was the Underground Testing area for all of the Atomic Bombs being tested at the Nevada Test Site. I worked Area 12 as a Cashier in the Cafeteria for almost two years. I left in 1963 to serve an LDS [Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon] Mission to Scotland. So can you talk about Area 12 or is that like Area 51? Only that Testing was conducted there. So what was that like for a young man? This was probably one of the most exciting times of my life. Why? I watched the last atmospheric Atomic test about 20 miles away. I watched the largest underground test from about 8 miles away. I was up in the testing area where all the testing was going on. In those days only men were allowed out there, no women. Weren't women in the office? No women in the offices out at Area 12. At Mercury there were women in the office, but not Area 12. It was a mining, drilling, drill rig group, probably a thousand men. Explain to me when they got ready to do a test. Walk me through that process. Who would dig the mine to plant the bomb? 10 There were two kinds of tests. Actually, there were three kinds of tests—atmospheric—and it's interesting if you fly over the Nevada Test Site today, you will find concentric circles in the springtime particularly where the bomb went off. It cleared all the ground off and today it's green grass. When I tell people this, they look at me and say, "Yeah." But you can see all the circles where all the above ground bombs went off. So atmospheric was interesting. Again, I stood about probably twenty miles from the last atmospheric [test]. I have a photograph of it. So did you have to wear one of those badges? Yes. It's called a film badge. All of the people that worked at the Nevada Test Site in those days had to wear a film badge. There were above ground tests, tunnel tests that were conducted in deep tunnels in the Mesa above Area 12 Camp and then there were deep dilled shafts down as far as 1,500 feet. Both the Tunnel and Shafts were underground, only the above ground exposed significant amounts of radiation. They would drill down to the depth they wanted, plant a device and then fill it up with cement and then they would explode it underground. They would test all the scientific instruments to make sure they obtained the results they needed. I would only say to you that those were pretty powerful. I watched an entire mesa one day split wide open and flames shot out probably a thousand feet in the air and the sirens went off because of a condition called blowback. Was that Mighty Oak? It was J Tunnel. I can't remember the name of it, but I remember I had to get in my automobile and get out of the Area 12 Camp quickly because I was just over the hill from J Tunnel. Could you outrun the radiation? Yes! Well if you got ahead of it. If it went off and it exploded, you had to get out of there and 11 stay out for twenty-four hours. Who were the miners? My father later in my second year came back to work at the Nevada Test Site as a Miner. There were a number of Nevada miners and miners from all over the country – hard rock miners! My father had been a hard-rock miner in Pioche for years in his younger life. He had grown up in the mining business and knew mining well, knew drifting, shafts, rocks. If you knew then what you know now, would you have been in those areas as close as you were? Yes. Oh. And the reason being, that's why you have a film badge. It was checked every week and double checked every month. However, there were some people who worked in the Mines that would take off their film badge before going in so they could work longer. I always thought this was foolish! Tell me how a film badge operates, how it works. It is incased in a plastic cover, the actual film badge is a small square piece of medal that would soaks up radiation. So every week/month you would have to change out your radiation badge and they would check it to see how much radiation was in it, where you'd been, if you'd had intense doses, not intense doses; those kinds of things. What were the other jobs that you had before getting into politics? When I finished working at the Nevada Test Site in 1963, I served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Scotland. When I came home I had a hundred and fifty dollars left from my account that I had left over from working at the Test Site, so I needed to find work. 12 So you pay for your own mission? The day after returning to Las Vegas from Scotland, I applied with Union Pacific Railroad and was told that there was only one job open at that time. The job was a Signalman that placed electrical wires, polls and drop-arms across the Railroad Tracks to prevent cars from passing in front of an oncoming train. Of course, I didn't know what a signalman was. We worked between Las Vegas and East L.A. I learned to climb fifty-five-foot telephone poles, put on cross arms, bring string the electrical wire over, and then assemble the drop arms to drop over the railroad tracks to keep people from getting killed by trains. So we put all the drop arms in between Las Vegas and East L.A. I dug a lot of trenches to put the underground power lines in or above power lines in; those kinds of things. What do you mean East L.A.? Yes, to East Los Angeles. Right. But where was the station? We went down as far as the city limits of Los Angeles. But most of our area was between the Pomona, Riverside, all along the railroad to Las Vegas. Let me just say that—we talk about fast trains—there was a train in those days called Number Six. If you ever rode Number Six from L.A. to Las Vegas, it would travel about a hundred and ten miles an hour, pretty fast for a train today. Wow. We could use that today. It really rocked and rolled along. So I rode that several times. I had a great time, though, working for the railroad, learned a lot. I always say that I have never had a job I didn't like. I learned to like most of the things I did. For example, at the Test Site I was the cashier in the cafeteria for Area 12. So I got to know every scientist, every miner. Every person that came to that place, I 13 got to know them. It's interesting that over the years many of those people have remained very good friends. For example, a black gentleman by the name of Leon Donahue. I don't know if Leon is still alive or not. He retired as custodian from Theron Goynes Elementary School in the middle 90’s and I have not seen him since. He was about six-foot-ten, had a gold star on one tooth, a big wonderful gentleman. He saved my life one night. How? Tell me how that happened. Well, we had a big shift come on to do more drilling and more mining, and so I had to go in and work a double shift in the cafeteria. The men were in a hurry. I was fast at calculating what they owed and I would tell them the amount. One of the big miners gave me the amount I had stated, he sat down and pretty quick he was back in my face saying I charged him a dime too much. Now, Leon Donahue was the fry cook over at the counter for the people. The guy was a great big guy. He was a big burly guy from Texas. And he said, "I am going to whip you so bad that you're probably going to be lucky if you're alive when I get through." Because of a dime? Yes, because of the dime. I didn't want to argue with the guy. So I looked up at Leon. Leon was standing there listening to this. I winked at Leon. This was a signal Leon that I needed his help. Well, Leon came over the counter with a big French knife in his hand and grabbed the guy by the back of his shirt, and pulled the French knife high over his head and said, "You touch my friend in will cut your head off! And you think I'm kidding?" The guy replied, "Oh, no, no, no. I was only kidding. I was only kidding." I gave Leon Donahue a set of gold race disks from my automobile, (blues) pin striping. He wanted those so bad. So he got them the next day. As I would see Leon in town over the years, he would always ask: “Need any help, just let me know!” Then we would laugh. 14 Wow. Did a lot of black men work at Area 12? Quite a few. Quite a few. What kinds of jobs did they have? Depends. A lot of them were laborers. Some of them were miners. A few of them were electricians. A few of them were plumbers. A lot of them in the cafeteria area. Did you have a lot of people who stayed overnight in Area 12? Yes. Most of us that worked out at Area 12 stayed there all week because it was a hundred and twenty miles into Las Vegas. So we'd go out on a Sunday night and then come back in on Friday night or Saturday morning depending on what our shifts were. They would hold about one thousand people in the camp. We lived in small 4-person trailers that had four beds per trailer, a restroom in the middle, a shower in the middle and then two single beds on each end, not bad! Quite a few rattlesnakes out there, though. So you had to watch your step when you got up early in the morning to go to work like I did at five o'clock. You always took your flashlight with you to make sure you weren't stepping on a rattlesnake going down to the cafeteria. Tell me about the largest underground shot you witnessed. It was called Sedan. When you go to the Test Site Museum at UNLV [the University of Nevada, Las Vegas], and there is a movie on the shot about Sedan...I stood out on the parking lot next to the cafeteria and it was to go off at seven o'clock in the morning. So they closed the cafeteria so that all of us could go out and watch it. So we went out at ten minutes to seven, stood there through about ten past seven. Nothing happened. Then at about ten past seven you had this mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble, and everyone said, "Gee, that was a dud." Then they all turned to walk back in the cafeteria to have breakfast. I kept my eyes on the bottom. Then I saw the bottom of the whole valley just rise up. It went up about probably a thousand, fifteen hundred 15 feet, and then it split wide open. Then flames shot out a thousand, two thousand feet. Now, this was seven miles, eight miles away. And then it went up and it went up and then pretty quick it just engulfed itself. By the time it topped out, it topped out at about fourteen, eighteen thousand feet, and then you could see these big tiers of earth coming off from it, coming off this mushroom, and they were bigger than this building. But it moved two hundred million tons of dirt. It moved it from one spot and put it over on another spot, and that's what it was for. It was designed for a project called the Plowshare project, which was going to build a new Panama Canal in Nicaragua, but it never came up. Anyway, interesting. You can go out today if you take a tour of the Test Site and they'll take you out to Sedan. It's about a half mile long, a quarter-mile across, about seven hundred feet deep after settling. But I didn't know the impact until that moment. When I went out to do the tour, I didn't understand how powerful that was. Yes, pretty powerful. I have a quarter that I found on its side at the 100MR [100 mili-rad] line near the Sedan Creater that is melted on the top, but the bottom is whole. I was asked by the boss at Area 12 if I would take sandwiches down to the security people who were at the hundred MR line, the hundred milli-rad line, where it was safe to be. There were about fifteen, eighteen people that were strung around the perimeter to keep any people out. Therefore, depending on which way the wind blew, that is where the radiation would concentrate. I volunteered to take a pickup down with the lunches and drinks to the security guards. As I walked from the pickup to take a box of sandwiches to half a dozen guy who were at one station, I was looking down at the ground and was this quarter setting on its edge. Now, believe it or not, I just had that quarter checked at the Sandia Laboratory in New Mexico in 2013 for a radiation count, they gave me thumbs up – it was so low it was harmless. I took it to an Indian Jewelry 16 shop in Albuquerque and had it made into a very nice necklace for my wife. So how did you get involved in politics? Well, growing up in a small populated county like Lincoln County, Nevada, one of my uncles was a county commissioner and I loved to talk to him about what was happening around the County. So I got hooked on wanting to know and understand the political world. Wasn't Las Vegas part of Lincoln County at one time? Back in the old days, it was, but Clark County was formed from Lincoln County back in 1912 or so. With my uncle being a county commissioner, I grew up becoming involved in a lot of different high school elections. Various people in our little town would run for offices, I would help them. My parents were both Democrats and all of my grandparents were Democrats. So when I came home from my mission, I told my parents, "I need to go down and register to vote." And they said— great! And which year did you come back from your mission? I came back in 1965. So my parents with a big smile said, "You're going to register Democrat, right?" I said, "I've got good news and bad news." Of course, they said, "What's that?" I said, "Well, I'm going to register Republican." "Why?" I said, "While growing up in Panaca and Enterprise, all of the poor people I knew were Democrats. All the people that had any money at all were all Republicans. I don't want to be poor. I want to go find something else to do with my life." And then I told them, I said, "I know that you don't think college is really worth it, but I'm going to college." No one in my family had ever graduated from college. So when I graduated from BYU [Brigham Young University] in 1969 in the honors progra