Key, Hugh E. Interview, 1980 February 21. OH-01016. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key i An Interview with Hugh Key An Oral History Conducted by Bob Bush Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas Special Collections and Archives Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada, Las Vegas UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2019 UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key iii The Oral History Research Center (OHRC) was formally established by the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada System in September 2003 as an entity of the UNLV University Libraries’ Special Collections Division. The OHRC conducts oral interviews with individuals who are selected for their ability to provide first-hand observations on a variety of historical topics in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. The OHRC is also home to legacy oral history interviews conducted prior to its establishment including many conducted by UNLV History Professor Ralph Roske and his students. This legacy interview transcript received minimal editing, such as 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. The interviewee/narrator was not involved in the editing process. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key iv Abstract On February 21, 1980, collector Bob Bush interviewed porter and retired military man, Hugh E. Key (born on November 17th, 1919 in Fordyce, Arkansas) in Las Vegas, Nevada. This interview covers the life of a Las Vegas old-timer. Hugh Keys’ wife, Mrs. Key, is also present during the interview and offers a few remarks. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 1 Okay. This is Bob Bush, today’s date is February 21st, and I’m at 906 Morgan. And I’m getting ready to talk to Mr. Hugh Key, is that correct, sir? (Unintelligible) Mr. Key, how long have you lived in Las Vegas? This (unintelligible) it has to be about thirty-one then—about thirty-one years. About thirty-one years? Yes. Where did you live before you came to Las Vegas? Fordyce, Arkansas. Fordyce? What made you want to come and to live in Las Vegas? What was the reason for coming here? Well, on a—one reason I came is for—the climate was better for my wife’s health. She had asthma and this doctor in Fordyce had got all the money out of me that he possibly could then he told me to move west. And then, jobs was better here than it was there in Fordyce. I see. How did you travel to Las Vegas? By car. By car? How long did it take you, then? (Unintelligible) thirty-six hours. Thirty-six hours. Yes. What was your impression of Las Vegas when you first got here? I—I know when I first came here, I remember driving through the desert and saying, you know, remembering the scenery and so forth and some people felt good and some felt bad about it. You know, it’s UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 2 so desolate and then you come up on the city and it really looks okay. How did you feel about it? Well, my impression was it was a God forsaken—(Laughs) (Laughs) It was a God forsaken place. (Laughs) (Laughs) If you ask my impression. (Laughs) And it, well, the population was about ten to sixteen thousand. And nothing here was here but shacks and trailers and—(unintelligible) Okay. (Unintelligible) What kind of shacks were—can you describe the shacks? Two room (unintelligible) shacks, some of them. Plywood, made out of plywood, and some of them made out of (unintelligible) and—and lots of just adobes. Lot of adobes. Alright. And it really wasn’t—really, there really wasn’t no nice homes here at that time, when in 1948, there really wasn’t no nice homes, on the Westside or nothing, but mostly but shacks, and a few churches. No—well, we did have the Cotton Club to go to, and the Ebony, and the Brown Derby. We did have those three clubs to go to, that was as far as our clubs was concerned. Mm. I understand that some of those clubs were pretty exclusive that, you know, even some of the Whites that used to come to those clubs quite a bit, was that true, or? Well, that came in later years. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 3 Uh-huh. When they built the Moulin Rouge. When they built the Moulin Rouge and remodeled the El Morocco. It was very nice now when the Moulin Rouge was first built, well, the Moulin Rouge got all the business from the Strip, after twelve o’clock at night, all the business came to the Westside. I see. And so that was back in the fifties. And the wages we was getting at that time was seven dollars and fifty cents a day. Oh. Where were you working at? I was working at the El Rancho. I’ve heard quite a bit about the club. I guess that club is no longer here right? Or has it changed its name? It burnt down. It burnt down. It had burnt down. Yes. Mm-hmm. Was there—was there another nightclub in the town at the time and—? Well, there was—four in all on the Strip. That was the El Rancho, The Thunderbird, The Last Frontier and the Flamingo. And the Desert Inn was a third rate motel. Mm-hmm. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 4 And the Sahara was the Bingo Club. And we had a variety of Baptist Churches, wholeness— churches, and one Methodist Church. And we had a Zion Methodist until later years then we organized the African Methodist in this town. Who was the pastor of that? Do you remember? The Reverend—Reverend White was the pastor and— Mrs. Key: No. He wasn’t the first pastor. Yes. Reverend White was the pastor and me and Reverend White organized the church. Me and Reverend White and Sister Simmons, Maylene Mead, just, just a few of us, we got together and organized the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is the oldest, only Negro church in this town to have the charter in Congress. Mm-hmm. The oldest Negro church in this town. Mm. And we are still building—since, we’ve been building now, since ’67, we have been building and—one day we will have a temple at this spot, at this particular spot where we’re at now. I see. One day, we will have in later years. I hope I’ll be around to see it, when it do happen. Yes. That’s great. So you’re sort of like one of the founders of that—? I am. That church. Yes. Oh yes. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 5 I was wondering, too, on the, what kind of businesses did they have Downtown and you know, when you—you know, there was a few hotels, and you—I guess some of the part of towns that—you know, the houses that we have here now aren’t—weren’t here. What businesses did you have, though? Were there Sears or anything there yet? Yes. You had Sears and Roebucks, the department store. You had J. C. Penney’s, and you had Johnson, you had Ronzoni’s, which now is Diamond. And you had Chris—Chris Chelsen, Ben Stowe, and you had the El Cortez Hotel, the Apache, and the El Dorado Club, which now is the Horseshoe Club. And the—we had the Pioneer Club, and the— The Golden Nugget. The Golden Nugget. Uh-huh. And that was— (Unintelligible) You had mentioned the Flamingo Club as one of the early clubs and I was trying to recall—is that the club that Bugsy Siegel ran? That was it. That was the club Bugsy Siegel ran. Oh, was he the—was he the first one that start putting in gambling? No. No. That started at—at El Rancho. El Rancho was the first club put up on the Strip. Mm-hmm. With the gambling. But the Golden Nugget and the—the Golden Nugget was the first club Downtown—one of the first clubs Downtown to put it up. It started—it started gambling, had legalized gambling. Then that was the Horseshoe Club, Sal Sagev, Overton, and well, this, the Overton Hotel is the Las Vegas Club now. But we had—yes. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 6 There was a Sal Sagev. (Unintelligible) (Unintelligible) Well, (unintelligible) You tell him (unintelligible), right? No. Well, you— The Sal Sagev is the California Club now. Mm-hmm. And it had been a lot— Go to your grocery store. It has been a lot of changes up to this date, which is 1980. It has—it had been a complete change in this town from about sixteen thousand, to about right at three hundred thousand. Better than three hundred people here live inside the city limits. And we had—the Blacks only could go to those clubs provided that they worked there. That’s the only way we went to those clubs Downtown. Right. If you worked there you could come in. It says employees, but you couldn’t go in when you were off. No. (Unintelligible) You couldn’t gamble there. Hm. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 7 You couldn’t go to no entertainments. And none of these clubs in Las Vegas. Yes. I understand, too that there was quite a population of Japanese here, too, wasn’t there? At one time? At one time they had a Japanese Village. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. It was one time down in what is it called—? North Las Vegas now. They had a Japanese forum down there. And then, they had—they had the Indian Reservation, was over there. What was the—how many Japanese do you figure was on the—in that area at one time? Well, actually to tell you the truth, I— Or Chinese—was it Chinese, too? (Unintelligible) We’ll get to that. They was Orientals. Mm-hmm. It was—I’d say it was readily, a couple thousand. Mm. (Unintelligible) Yes, I believe I said Japanese, I believe it was more predominately Chinese, though, wasn’t it? Yes. It was. Predominately Chinese. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 8 I knew there was a few Japanese here. Another question on that I wanted to ask you—you had mentioned the other settlement. Oh, the Indians—yes, were they, just in this area did they have a little bit—? Yes. Now that’s right. Just about the same area right in there? Right in that center. Uh-huh. What kind of jobs were available? Mm-hmm. You know, you’ve—what? The only jobs was available at that time in a hotel for the Black man was dish washing, the porter, maid, and yes, that was it. The dishwasher, porters, and maids. (Unintelligible) And no white collar jobs open at that time for the Black man. Uh-huh. No jobs. And we—there was no white porters—nothing but Black porters all up, all over town, until the—the pay got good. When the pay got good then now it’s just as many White porters as it is Black porters. Mm-hmm. And where we’re sitting now was the desert. It was a dumping ground. Mm-hmm. Right where we’re sitting right now was the dump—the dumping ground. And we—I forget the year that this happened but during that civil rights march of Dr. King, when the Black man got where he could go when—could go on the Strip, anywhere, anytime he wanted—during Dr. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 9 King’s administration. Then he opened the way for Blacks to get equal jobs, even out here, we could get equal jobs. They’d hire you according to your education. And if you could get a desk clerk job, they will hire you; a dealer’s job, they will hire you. But in 1948, when I came here, there wasn’t a Black dealer working in the hotel. Mm-hmm. And what were the—(unintelligible) I had read something that the Chinese and so forth were brought in to—came in actually with the railroad. Was the railroad still here, then? Yes. Mm-hmm. Yes. The railroad was here. Mm-hmm. The rail—let’s see, we had four trains a day. Yes. It was—the railroad was, the Union Pacific was here. We had a railroad station. And we had a small bus station, right back of the Union Pacific Railroad Station. We had one ice house. And they were delivering ice by truck. And we had one laundry mat in the whole Las Vegas, we had one laundry mat. Mm-hmm. And we had—there were discriminated in the picture shows. The Blacks sat on one side and the White on the other one. There was a middle thing that—and when the boom started in 1951, you—everybody in Las Vegas actually was desperately, when things broke lose. The first—the first Black cook on the Strip was—his name was Jones. He was out—he was a chef out of Los Angeles. The first Black cook. Mm-hmm. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 10 And then another one—Black cook was George, which now he’s a union representative. And he’s a big wheel in the union. And so, when I came here—when I came here I was only gonna stay until I made (unintelligible) at home, that was my plan. Mm-hmm. To stay here until when I got (unintelligible) back home, I was going back home. (Laughs) (Laughs) (Unintelligible)? I was because I never was used to living in these kind of houses. Yes. Oh. I never was—I never was used to living like this here. I—what kind—? Like it was back in the forties and the early fifties. Yes. I thought crossed my mind on that. You said you did—you know, describe, the inside of them. Did they have—how was the plumbing and the water, and so forth, you know? The—most of the plumbing was outside. Uh-huh. I see. Most of your plumbing was outside. No running hot water, just a very few homes at that time had running hot water, and inside bathrooms. Mm-hmm. It was a very few. And on the Westside. I’m strictly speaking about the abyss on the Westside but now, across town—they had begun to build—or build up, all across town, in other sections of Las Vegas, the started building up. Now remember the time you could buy that property from Flamingo to McCarran for five dollars an acre. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 11 And then now today, in 1980, it’ll cost you—five, five hundred dollars a square foot. (Unintelligible) Yes. Or more. And back in the fifties, the early—the late forties and the early fifties, you could buy five acres for five dollars. You could—but you had to improve on that. The government would sell it to you, and if you put up an improvement on it then it was yours. Mm-hmm. And so, you had to buy as much as twenty-five acres of it, before you could get it, you understand—could get the property. That was—that was available—was that available to everybody that was here? Everybody. It was available to everybody? That was available to everybody. Yes. And so, they thought that Las Vegas was gonna—was gonna move north. And the government put a lot of that property on sale up on Tonopah highway. And C. D. Baker heard about it. Hmm. He was the mayor at that time. And he went up there and bought all of it—to sell to the, you know, to the peoples. Mm-hmm. But the town didn’t go that way, so now he is stuck with all that property up the highway. As much as he was mayor at that time. Yes. He was the mayor at that time. When was he in office? Do you remember that approximate time? UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 12 About fifty-one or fifty-two. Uh-huh. About fifty-one or fifty-two. C. D. Baker was the mayor from about fifty-one till about fifty-five. Mm-hmm. Somewhere in there. What kind of mayor was he? He was just like the rest of the politicians. (Laughs) Yes. Just like the rest of them (unintelligible) (Unintelligible) He seen where he could make a fast buck and he went and brought all the money—all the—invested all his money into that property up there. And which, maybe one day, it will be worth something but instead of Las Vegas going north, its going east. Uh-huh. It’s going east now, instead of it going north, it went east. And so, there was two little towns that have combined. And now one was named Whitney, and the other one was named—I forget the name of that little town. But it was a little old, (unintelligible) little town. But now, I think it’s called East Las Vegas. I see. Mm-hmm. All of that is East Las Vegas now. And so North Las Vegas had—let’s see, North Las Vegas, it had—I don’t remember it having no grocery stores over there at all. And no grocery stores, all the—most of the thing over there was gambling and motels, and things like that. Uh-huh. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 13 There wasn’t too much residential, or you know, houses over there (unintelligible)? Yes. But there was all white. I see. Yes. Definitely, there was a lot of homes over there. But all White homes. No. Uh-huh. When I came here—the Black people had to stay strictly on the Westside. What they call the Westside from the underpass, the Bonanza Underpass, all on this side of the railroad. But there were Whites living over here at the time. Mm-hmm. We have a (unintelligible) that was living over here, Mendoza. He went to school and graduated from high school Downtown and on and on, and He was born right up here on Wilson Street. And so, then, after the El Rancho burned—after El Rancho burned down, well, you should’ve been here then. That’s when Howard Hughes bought it. I hadn’t got to here quite yet. I think I came here a little shortly after you (unintelligible) Howard Hughes bought up several of the big hotels. The Desert Inn, the Last—the New Frontier, and he bought all the property that—the El Rancho—he owned all of that property. What kind of a—what schools were here when you first got here and so forth, where was that? Well, it was—now that was, Las Vegas—Las Vegas High and we had one school on the Westside. I forget what (unintelligible) but we had one school on the Westside, went to the Eighth grade, and after you passed—finished the Eighth grade then you went to Downtown Las Vegas. Mm-hmm. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 14 And they—that was all the, Black schools there were, at that time. It was down here on Washington. Was another Black school, and we had quite a few churches, but we didn’t have no credit unions, like we have today, we have a credit union here today. We ain’t have no credit unions—nothing like that. We had two or three community stores, over on the Westside, and out there where the Golden West Shopping Center was they played baseball out there. Uh-huh. That was back in the early fifties. That’s where they went, they played baseball. And we—I lived on Monroe for about six to eight years, I guess, and I lived on Monroe about—I moved in this house in 1954. I’ve been here in this house since 1954. And I’ve seen the whole Las Vegas grow. Yes. I didn’t realize this had been here since that—1954, you know, I—it doesn’t—to me I thought it was a little bit later than that, you know. Mm-hmm. That’s interesting, yes. It was. Yes. This project started in 1950. Mm-hmm. That’s when the boom started. This project right here started in 1950. Mm-hmm. You keep mentioning the boom. Could you explain that to me, what—? Well, well—the test site opened up—test site opened up. Construction was good because our hotels was going up. There was a big business in hotels going up. Like the Tropicana, the Desert Inn, the Sahara, and oh, it was just a bunch of ‘em, hotels springing up everywhere. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 15 And housing projects. Housing—tract homes, well, I’ll put it that way, tract homes was beginning to spring up, all out across the desert. And so, that’s just the way it had grown in the last, I guess, thirty-five—thirty-five years, it had grown from a God forsaken town to the entertainment capital of the world. As people from all over the world would like to come here to—which you know best, to open a business. Mm-hmm. They mostly start a business from—there’s a branch here now from India, who wants to open up a business. They suppose—they (unintelligible) get license to open a business. Every—just about everybody in the world now wants to come to Las Vegas to work and live, opening a business. And I—or course, probably I won’t be here at that time but I say about 19—about 1995 or the year 2000, this entire valley will be filled up. That’s just a prediction. Yes. A lot of people agree with that, they— That’s just a prediction. Yes. That it’s really, growing fast and wide. Well, I think it was one of the little—I had read it was one of the fastest growing cities. That was back in 1970 between us, Phoenix and Albuquerque. This city was really one of three, top three. Well, I just—I just don’t—I just don’t understand—I just don’t understand how people survived this heat. And living in these shacks like they was. I don’t know how—that’s something that was funny to me, how they could leave—you see, why the most of the people was probably—they was from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and I say a third of them is from Fordyce, and actually, I don’t see how the peoples could really leave their homes like they did—used to living and come out here and live like they was living, at the time. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 16 Yes. I understand why, you know, you said, why you came here and you was only gonna stay here just long enough to give us (unintelligible) (Laughs) (Unintelligible) Get back home. But I—I often wondered—we, you know, we have a lot of people from Fordyce and so forth, and we, you know, what made ‘em all leave there to come here. When they—you know, as you said, the conditions were, the heat, and also the jobs, the way being the way they were, you know. Well, the reason—the reason they left Fordyce to come west, was that it started out in 1941, in World War One. Mm-hmm. It was a big business—it was big business on the west coast. Then we had this titanium plant out here, and people at that time, was living in tents. And people was renting the houses to four or five different people, at one time. Okay, I—you go on shift, you work ten, twelve, six to eight hours a day, and you’d go back to this house, while that other shift is going on (unintelligible) Mm-hmm. And they live like that. (Unintelligible) Even after I got here in 1948, they was living like that. And so—and some of the people I know that was used to living in nice, warm, decent homes back in Fordyce could come out here to live like this, but the money was plentiful. Money was really plentiful at the time. You could—you could make even around these hotels. You could make two or three hundred dollars a week just in tips, a porter could. And cocktail waitress, they’d make two, or three, and four, five hundred dollars. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 17 Mm-hmm. It wasn’t nothing to come back home at that—during the fifties, a porter, that’s the reason I never did go to work up to Mercury on account of I was doing so good in the hotels. I made a good hill of money with a broom and a dustpan. Yes. Now that’s the extent of our work here. You had these construction workers—there was plenty construction work going on and that’s why our—reason I use the word, the Second Boom. And well, we had a recession back during the Eisenhower administration and work (unintelligible) but after that—after that was over, well, it started back to building, and it’s been building ever since. And— During that—was it pretty rough, well, I don’t want to say, pretty rough during the recession can you remember the things that people were short of and you know, was there any undue hardships on anybody or anything like that? No. Just—? It was. Just was regular? It was just—only way you noticed the recession here in Las Vegas, you heard—you read about it. Yes. I—yes, that’s what I thought, I— You read about it. ‘Cause this town was growing. That’s the only time. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 18 And everybody else might’ve been a little bit of trouble, yes. And that’s—the only states. Mm-hmm. Course we have been in bad trouble but—the only thing, time we noticed the recession is when you hear it on TV. (Tape one ends) (Tape begins midsentence)—Because you could take—you could take twenty-five dollars, and go to town, a grocery store, wasn’t a supermarket here, just a grocery store—and you could—you could take twenty-five dollars and buy enough food to last you two to three weeks. That was doing it for (unintelligible), you could take—and everybody was making money and we could go down to Safeway and buy you twenty-five dollars-worth of food, and it would last you, and you would have some of that same food. Some of that food left from one payday—we’d get paid off on the 5th and the 20th. Mm-hmm. And you could—you could have money from one end of the month to the other month. Mm-hmm. And money wasn’t—money was just about as plentiful out here at that time as grass. I’ll almost say grass. Because just about everybody was working. Most of—a lot of the people had two jobs. There wasn’t no stealing, no robbing, no rapes; just every now and then you’d hear about a killing. You could sleep outdoors if you wanted to. And you had no problems. They must have had a small police force at the time. Yes. Very small. Because they probably didn’t even need one. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 19 Very small police force. Right. Mm-hmm. We had one man—or, two, we had three Black policemen, was: Moody, Banks, and Hogarth. Now that was the three Black policemen. Mm-hmm. At that—when I came here. And of course, now the police (unintelligible) I’d say the police—well, the police and the sheriff department was two different things, at that time. There were separate departments? Yes. I guess, and all the law enforcement they had was less than six hundred. It was less than six hundred. And then, it just—really it wasn’t no—it wasn’t really no necessity for policemen back in those days. Mm-hmm. As it is today, you see. The man today—but back in those days you didn’t—you’d go out with two or three thousand dollars. (Unintelligible) much as twelve and fifteen hundred dollars in my pocket and never was scared I was gonna get robbed. Mm-hmm. But today, if I’m going to the store, I’m just gonna take enough money to buy what I need. (Laughs) And that’s about all. (Laughs) They won’t have a chance to— (Laughs) Probably. To take nothing of mine. But— (Laughs) UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 20 Back in those—that’s what we call the good old days. Yes. Back in the fifties. And—and the sixties. Seventy—well, seventy was a pretty good year. But to me—I guess after I had to retire from work in ’75, you know, I—I lost interest in everything but church. Mm-hmm. I have. I’ve lost interest in everything but church. Why I told you ‘while a go, that one day, the Black people—we’re gonna have a temple in this town. One of the biggest temples—we’re gonna build one of the biggest temples in the United States, in this town here. My church is the First African Methodist, and we’re located down on Revere. And we’ve got enough property right now to build a real nice church. That’s only—that’s the only thing I’m really interested in now. Mm-hmm. Is church before it’s—I’m, I was sixty years old in November of last year. I was sixty years old and so—I, I’m not too much interested in—in very much, what goes on ‘cause it’s a—it’s a lot of hotels in this town. (Laughs) Only way I’ll go to ‘em, is some of my friends from out of town come, and I have to go. But once you’re working in those places for twenty-seven years like I did, you’re sick of ‘em. Yes. I can understand. You’re tired. Now—eh, there was something that you said, and it reminded me of something. I’m trying to think back to what it was. Oh, I don’t know, something you said, that I put my mind UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 21 on—oh, I think you were talking about the Test Site. And it brought to my attention to—to my mind about the Nellis—Nellis Air Force Base, came in about (unintelligible)? Yes. It came in—Nellis came in about ’51, ’52, something like that. Mm-hmm. Right during the time that—yes, about ’51 or ’52, another type of base reopened out there. Yes. Yes. It did. That’s—yes. I was reading somewhere about the—that it happened when it had opened and even at that time I was staying at this—and you had mentioned it somewhere in there, about the community feeling that people had. You know, like you felt safe when you were walking around. And it brought to my understanding that they used to have Christmas parties, everybody Downtown, and— Yes. So forth like that? Well, all the hotels. All the hotels, would give their employees a Christmas party, every year. Mm-hmm. They’d—and give away door prizes. Well, they’d give away prizes. And a friend of mine, she won five hundred dollars. Now far as coming down to the working problem inside the hotels—we had no problems. We didn’t have no problems. Mm-hmm. If you—if you just attend to your business, they would tend to their business. They’d never walk around and watch you, just to get to fire you, or nothing like that. You’d go to—you live home—it was just like going to another home. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 22 Mm-hmm. That’s how good the work was. And that’s how good the people’s, you know the bosses out there would treat you. That they, you didn’t have to go no place to hide and sit down. You’d sit down right out in the open if you got tired and didn’t have nothing to do. You just found—yourself some to sit down. That’s all. It wasn’t no—it wasn’t nothing—it wasn’t nothing. I remember an incident did happen to me at the El Rancho. I was going in the cashier cage to clean it up. And so, the cashier told us—told us, asked the security guard to come in there. And so, by that time, my boss, he was standing up there listening. He said, “What do you want the security guard in here for?” He says, “He won’t steal nothing.” Mm-hmm. Says, “If it was left up to me, I had every—” He said, “There wouldn’t be a White man working in this place.” (Laughs) “It would be all Black people who worked in here. Now Negro people working in my hotel. Taking care of my business.” That’s good that you’re getting that—to gain that kind of respect. That’s really a good thing. He says, “And another thing, when you went to work—when a porter went to work, he had to be dressed up. He had to wear black pants, black shoes, they had to be shined and (unintelligible), black neck tie. (Unintelligible)” If you tell ‘em get in there with no black pants, (unintelligible) and he’d send you to the store. And get you a black set of uniforms. Mm-hmm. UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 23 Two, three pairs of black pants, (unintelligible) four, five shirts. And—as far as working conditions, it was about the best place in the world. Right now, right at this day, this is one of the best towns in the world to work for, which I guess you have found that out yourself. Yes. I’m kind of skeptical about, what will we do about—if we didn’t have the gambling. But I guess— I know what— They’re trying to take care of that now, you know. I know what would happen if gambling go out, I know what would happen—me, you, and everybody else would go find us some other place to go to. Mm-hmm. Because wouldn’t be nothing here. Yes. It wouldn’t be nothing. When you raise food, on this type of soil that we have here—and it’s known at the titanium plant, as the oldest plant we have here. You’re—that titanium plant, that’s—well, I want to ask you a question about that when we get to it—that’s out in Henderson. Was it named Henderson when you there? Yes. It was Henderson. It was Henderson? Yes. It was Henderson. Oh. Mm-hmm. ‘Cause I had read somewhere that they used to call it Basic and I was wondering if they had changed the name, while you were here or so forth, like that? UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key 24 No. When I came here it was Henderson. It was Henderson? Yes. Was it—? They—I’ve heard the name Basic a lot of times but I never did ask nobody why. Because ever since I’ve been here—even before I came here, when my sister was living in Henderson, her address was in, from Henderson. Uh-huh. And so now by Basic, I don’t know—I don’t know whether it was called Basic or not, but—I do know one thing—there never has been gambling in Boulder City, and there never will, I bet. I ain’t gonna say it never will be, but— Yes. There never has been gambling in Boulder City. Yes. How long has—well, Boulder City, I guess, was that one of the first towns here? Yes. Yes. One of the first off springs out of Las Vegas. It started up somewhere along about ’28. During the time when the dam was going up. Mm-hmm. See that city was a—incorporated during the time the dam went up. I see. Were you—was the dam completed when you got there? It was completed when I got—when I came here. The dam was completed. And they had taken the security guards. They had taken the guards. Well, during war time, they had guards and soldiers to bring you across that dam. You couldn’t even take a picture of the dam. You couldn’t role your windows down. You couldn’t throw a cigarette out of your car or nothing. That was UNLV University Libraries Hugh Key