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Transcript of interview with Alice Doolittle by Christopher Moran, March 21, 1977

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1977-03-21

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On March 21, 1977, Christopher Moran interviewed Alice Doolittle (born 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts) about her experiences while living in Nevada. Also present during the interview is Ruth Belding, Alice’s daughter. Doolittle first talks about her reasons for coming to Las Vegas and her eventual occupation as a dental assistant. She also talks about her family’s history of living on the Stewart Ranch and the ranch’s swimming pool that attracted many during the summers of Las Vegas. Doolittle also describes her move to Boulder City with her husband, the first theaters in Las Vegas, and the Union Pacific Railroad. At the end of the interview, the three discuss Helen Stewart, Harley Harmon, and the Doolittle Center, named after Doolittle’s late husband, Ferris Doolittle.

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OH_00481_transcript

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OH-00481
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Doolittle, Alice Interview, 1977 March 21. OH-00418. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use (https://www.library.unlv.edu/speccol/research_and_services/reproductions) or contact us at special.collections@unlv.edu

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Digitized materials: physical originals can be viewed in Special Collections and Archives reading room

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English

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36.17497, -115.13722

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application/pdf

UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle i An Interview with Alice M. Doolittle An Oral History Conducted by Christopher J. Moran 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 Alice Doolittle ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2017 UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 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 Alice Doolittle iv Abstract On March 21, 1977, Christopher Moran interviewed Alice Doolittle (born 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts) about her experiences while living in Nevada. Also present during the interview is Ruth Belding, Alice’s daughter. Doolittle first talks about her reasons for coming to Las Vegas and her eventual occupation as a dental assistant. She also talks about her family’s history of living on the Stewart Ranch and the ranch’s swimming pool that attracted many during the summers of Las Vegas. Doolittle also describes her move to Boulder City with her husband, the first theaters in Las Vegas, and the Union Pacific Railroad. At the end of the interview, the three discuss Helen Stewart, Harley Harmon, and the Doolittle Center, named after Doolittle’s late husband, Ferris Doolittle. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 1 Okay, this is an oral interview with Alice Doolittle at her residence in Boulder City, 528 Avenue I. And we’re starting at one o’clock, pretty close to one o’clock. Okay, Mrs. Doolittle, I’m very interested in hearing why you came to Las Vegas. What were the reasons? Well, the reason I came to Las Vegas was to get a divorce. I came with my little daughter who was five then. And we located and lived in the house with Mrs. Gann—I rented a room from her—and the next day, I went to work in one of the toughest restaurants as a waitress, and I had never been a waitress in my life. But I had to go to work, and this old lady took care of my little girl. And then I had to wait, so I stayed there, but Mrs. Gann—she’s an old timer that used to live over in the Muddy Valley and everything—she told me that there was gonna be an opening in the dentist office, and I said, “Well, I don’t know anything about dentistry.” She said, “Well, he’s a nice man. You go up and see him and tell him to call me.” So I went up to see him, and he introduced me, and he didn’t say he’d give me the job or anything, but I was praying for it, ‘cause it was a nice office. And it’s gone now; it’s tore down and one of the big gambling houses is right there. So, he called this lady, and then they called me, and I got the job, and I worked as a dental assistant for fourteen years. What year did you come to Las Vegas? 1921. 1921? Yes. And I worked for him then. Then, I worked there, and as I say, I met Mr. Doolittle, and of course I wasn’t divorced and I couldn’t get the divorce till a year later, ‘cause I wanted the divorce to be right. He had to be served the papers, and I couldn’t find him, but finally they did, and Mr. Doolittle and I were married about two weeks later. And with my little girl, we went to UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 2 live at the ranch—Mother Doolittle’s Ranch—and she took us in and she just mothered us and loved us to death, didn’t she? And she said she always wanted a little girl, so she had one and this one. And so my husband, on one of those pictures showed to you where Ruthie was sitting there on the other half of the house, he fixed up a kitchen and a bedroom and a porch for the baby, we called her, and a living room in this old, part of the—the Old Fort was in back of it—but this was adobe house that the Indians used to try to get in and all that. And we lived there for almost a year, but before we were married, my husband had bought a lot on South Third Street in Las Vegas, a nice lot, and I didn’t have any money hardly, but he owned a lot. And he wanted to build a home there. So this man I worked for said, “Well, okay, I’ll go and get the money to build a house.” It was a pretty high percent, but we’d have taken it no matter what it was, ‘cause he was such a grand man. Do you remember his name? Dr. W. S. Park, P-A-R-K. He’s quite—he’s someone who used to go out to the Lost City and dig up all these Indian things. These are some pictures of some of the remains out at Lost City? Oh, yeah. I used to work with the doctor on some of the pots and pans. He’d bring them up in pieces. He’s an archaeologist—that’s what he was—and he worked with the heads of all this business and went out into the thing, and he’d bring ‘em up, and I’d sit for hours gluing these little (unintelligible) things together. And in his office—he had a beautiful office—and we had big, long cases with glass in it, and we put all the things, and there was earrings and teeth and skulls and stuff, and he got so that he was very good, and I was pretty good and putting those old things—just imagine how old they were. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 3 You were pretty much an archaeologist yourself by the time you were finished working with them. Well, I learned a lot in fourteen years. Now, where was I? Well, you were just building a lot. Oh, we’re buil—so, doctor would loan us the money. So, my husband hired a man who was the only contractor—Brian was his name—in Vegas, and (unintelligible). 416 South Third. 416 South Third. Well, that’s a beautiful looking house. Well, it was two nice bedrooms and great, big living room combined with the dining room, and the kitchen, and a nice, big yard, and he had the house built for $3,200. Couldn’t do it now, could you? No, you couldn’t build a closet. So, after it was built, we moved up there, and we didn’t have much money for furniture. Now, maybe you’re not interested in that. No, (unintelligible). And so I can remember we had enough to send to Montgomery Ward—for a down payment, we got a table and stools and two beds and two dressers, we moved in. Was there a Montgomery Ward store here in Las Vegas? No, we had to send away. We had to send away, but for five dollars down and five dollars a month, we could get this stuff. And as we gradually went along, we’d pick up furniture, you know, people who are moving and the furniture was almost new, we could get it. And finally, we did furnish our house quite nice. We thought it was elegant, but of course it wasn’t. But we were so happy there. And then, where can we go from there? Oh, then my husband was very active in UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 4 the band and the music business, and he worked with the Union Pacific Railroad as a mechanic. Well, then the Depression came. But my job went on. I worked all right, and the house was all—the last payment was when we got laid off. When the house was all paid for, well, there wasn’t a job to be had in Las Vegas. So, he knew the man who had a little bit of a post office out here—I got a picture of it somewhere—and Mr. Finney was his name, and— Is that here in Boulder City? It was just the beginning of the dam. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Oh, and a lot can go on from here, but he told—Mr. Finney said, “Well, why don’t you come on up and work for me?” And I don’t think my husband even asked him what the salary was. It was a job, and we had an old car, an old (unintelligible), and he was almost falling apart, but he managed to make it go, and he drove him back and forth, and the salary was $75.00 a month. Well, we were tickled to death together, because I’m making a hundred, and you know, that left with an awful good, and we had no payment on the house. So, he drove me out one day, my husband did, and he said, out on the highway—of course it was (unintelligible), and he said, “See that big hill of sand over there?” And I said, “Yes.” He said, “That’s gonna be Boulder City.” I said, “Out there? I wouldn’t live there for anything.” (Laughs) (Laughs) It certainly has changed since then, to say the least. Well, that’s when I saw Boulder City, when it was nothing but a hill of sand. What year was this, do you recall? I can’t tell. It has to be around 1931. Oh, no, we’ve been here—yes, 1931. It was (unintelligible) before that, see, ‘cause they hadn’t started to put the houses up or anything. Well, anyway, he drove back and forth, and he got awful UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 5 sick of it, and he just said to me, “Now, I think it’s your turn.” Well, (unintelligible), and I used to deliver papers—the man that would give me a ride, he had the paper route: Mr. Foremaster. And he had me delivering papers, and he would still charge me the full fare on all these places all over the road. I worked all the way delivering, throwing papers. Is that the Foremaster that owns the dairy? That he leased the dairy to the Doolittles. Leased the dairy? And he also— I didn’t get into that. Well, we can go back, but he delivered papers also? Huh? Besides working at the dairy or owning the dairy, he delivered the newspapers around town? Well, yes, but he lived out here then. He lived in Boulder? Lived in Boulder City then. And I think he divorced from his wife and had married again and lived out here. I think his sons were (unintelligible). And now where, I’ve lost myself now—where was I? Oh, about the Boulder City being the hill of sand—and then my husband got sick and tired of driving. It was monotonous going back and forth. So, he (unintelligible), and I said, “Well, how will I get there?” He said, “Well, Foremaster has a car, he runs (unintelligible) with just a car (unintelligible) a bus,” and he charged me full fare, it was plenty, and I delivered papers along with it, for which I got nothing. So, I got sick of it. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 6 I don’t blame you. So, my husband came home one day, and he said, “I bought a house.” I said, “You what?” He said, “I bought a house.” I said, “How much?” He said, “$250.” (Laughs) I said, “Oh my gosh, that’s terrible. I won’t live in it.” He said, “You’re going to have to, ‘cause we’re going to move out there.” He said, “Now, I’ve got,”—he got promoted, he got more salary. So, I never saw the house till I moved into it, and you know, it wasn’t a bad little house. This living room and two bedrooms and a kitchen and a porch all the way around. And he could’ve bought the whole block of houses for $250 each, and I wouldn’t let him. Now, they’re selling for six and seven thousand dollars. Are they still in Boulder City? Oh, they’re here, and they have been lived in, yes. What street are they on? Well, they were all on A, B, C, D— And California. And California, and G. They came clear down to K. To K Street? Mm-hmm. And we moved in there, and he fixed it up. He got the stuff for a garage. I think he paid a couple of dollars for it, but he had to haul it himself from the dam, and him and I built the garage. And we lived there quite a little while. And then we heard the theater man was buying another house, and he was gonna sell his house—it was right over here on this street. And it was much nicer UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 7 than we lived in, so I came over and looked at it and I said I like it, but we bought it furnished for $2,800. That’s a good deal. I think it would sell for about $28,000 now. So, I don’t know. Now, after that, where do you we go? Well, let me ask you, your husband’s mother, she’s always lived at the ranch? Do you remember when she began living there? Well, she came with him, you know, they came from Michigan. They always had a big farm with cattle and all that. And he took the lease—Mr. Doolittle and her—took the lease from the Union Pacific. Do you remember what year that was? I wouldn’t know. No? It has to be about 1918. That was just going to grammar school. So, we’ll have to guess. Okay. Well, it has to be (unintelligible). Is this still going? Yes. Well, as long as this goes, it’s no problem. He was born—my dad was born in 1900, and he was going to grammar school. But then his parents ran a dairy on the— They had the first dairy. Mother delivered the milk, and my husband, before we went to school, used to get up two, three o’clock in the morning and milk the cows. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 8 Where did they keep all the cows? Down at the ranch. They had barns there and everything. It was below the fort. Below the fort. Do you recall what the relationship was between the Doolittles and the Foremasters? Well, I think they eventually leased the dairy out to (unintelligible) Foremaster, as well as I can remember. And then they moved out on the ranch? No, then Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle separated. She stayed there, ran the swimming pool, and she had help, she had a cook, and she—there’s an awful lot of the university men, when Pop and I was married, I remember, they stayed there, and they had big, long tables and I never saw so much food in my life. And then she had help to make the beds and all that stuff. And Mr. Doolittle went on—he was interested in goldmines or silver mines or something, and he just left Nevada. For the silver mines, huh? For the silver mines or whatever it was. And he didn’t make anything. I think he lost everything he had. I think they divided it up. But she stayed on. Well, then the lease ran out. Do you want this? Sure. The lease ran out. So, she owned the house and (unintelligible) other little things she owned, and the Union Pacific was perfectly willing for her to move that house and whatever she wanted to move. Well, she couldn’t move the pool—that had to stay—but up where the Helldorado is now, she bought all that land in there. The Helldorado, I’m not sure exactly where that’s at. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 9 No, Mother’s thinking back—the Helldorado used to be there. Used to be there, yeah, well it’s not there anymore. It’s on Fifth Street—it’s on North Fifth near where the sheriff’s, the old post office used to be in that area. She bought all that land, okay. Yes. And she moved the house up there, and she lived there. And she rented a couple rooms and things like that, and she had a little bit of money. So, finally, she bought property up in Sparks. She bought property over on Westside. On Westside, but she never built there, but she had houses built there. So, she must’ve done quite well at the ranch. Oh, yes, she did. It wasn’t kind of like a boarding house or a hotel? Yes, the University of Nevada had an agricultural extension division, and quite a few of the men, they were experimenting with vegetables and everything at the Old Ranch area, and they stayed there. Oh. So, she brought this property up in Sparks, and we got a picture of the house. She gradually collected—she had room and she had help up there and everything, and she built this beautiful home. And she lived there a good many years. She was ninety-something when she died, wasn’t she (unintelligible)? This is the home she built rock by rock. (Unintelligible) Had them hauled and brought in. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 10 Your great-grandson (unintelligible). This is in Sparks? In Sparks. He’s an attorney. Well, Mrs. Doolittle, do you recall anything about the dairy part end of it, just the business, it’s like a—what would be, like, when you were there, would be an average day at the ranch when the dairy was in operation? I just glimpsed in—that’s all I knew about the dairy. I know that my husband wasn’t milking cows. When I lived down there, he was working for the Union Pacific. And she was the one that would deliver the milk. In an old wagon, I guess? Yes, she had an old wagon, and I think I’ve got pictures of that someplace. But I would get in there in those boxes. But I can’t tell you too much about that dairy. But it was supposed to be the first dairy in Vegas. Oh, I think, yeah, I’m sure it was. And then she moved out and then Foremaster moved onto the ranch? Onto the ranch. It was two, three houses, you know, and he had a house, and he had a family, and the daughter and three or four sons was in there—Carol and Lamar and— Roy. Yes, and of course the kids all worked and helped him. Did you ever return to the ranch to use the pool or? No. Never did? UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 11 No, I never did. After we got uptown and got in that new house—‘cause I got away from the snakes and all that down at the ranch, you know. I know Mother gave me (unintelligible) one day because I chased a snake; it had (unintelligible) around this thing, and I hit it with a flyswatter, and she said, “I wish you hadn’t done that. That was the (unintelligible) snake, and that kills the mice.” But I didn’t like snakes no matter what they did. Well, can you tell me a little bit about the schools were like here while your daughter was going to school? Well, she loved this school. The school was on Fifth between Fourth and Fifth Street. The old Fifth Street School. And Dr. Park that my mother worked for used to pick me up every morning and (unintelligible). Or his father, who was the president of the First State Bank had an electric (unintelligible), and if the doctor didn’t pick her up, then the older gentleman would pick her up in the electric (unintelligible)—because Dr. Park had a son going to school when you did. So she got a ride back and forth. Do you recall any really famous people coming through Las Vegas in the early thirties or twenties, stopping in Las Vegas? Oh, I remember there was great artists—Winnerton, you know, the great western painter was—and Jimmy Swindleton. And, oh, there was (unintelligible) and so many of the politicians would come up to the office to say Dr. Park where I worked—I can’t remember them all. So, Dr. Park is really a pretty powerful man around town. Well, he was well-known, very wealthy man. And his father was president of the bank. So, I guess his father had been here from the—since. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 12 Yes, he came—he told me when he came in, they just a little bit of a room, and he didn’t have any money. They came from Kentucky; they went broke on pineapples or something that grew back (unintelligible) so he came out and they offered him this job. And there was no place to rent a room, and he didn’t have the money to rent one, so she slept under the counter at night to save money. You know, finally, that worked into a beautiful bank. Did he teach you how to become a dental assistant? Dr. Park, I told him, I said, “I know absolutely nothing.” He says, “That’s fine. And I will do it my way.” I learned to make in-crowns and inlays. In fact, I could clean teeth, and I kept the office up, I assisted at the chair and answered the phone and kept the books—all that they don’t—the girls don’t do it all now. They have a girl for each one, but I did the whole works for a hundred a month. (Unintelligible) archaeology. And the archaeology, when I had a few minutes, I was putting things together. Did he ever take you out to Overton? Well, I went over there with my husband and saw it. It was quite interesting, but he was certainly wrapped up in that, Dr. Park was. And he had beads, he had everything—I think it’s all over there now in the museum. Yes. St. Thomas. Perkins—he taught Perkins how to do it. He used to come up to the office all the time; now he has it. But he was shown how by Dr. Park. So then you moved here to Boulder City in the thirties then, right? Yes. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 13 And then you’ve lived here. Yes. And what changes do you think you’ve seen since you’ve been here, the really drastic changes? You’d never know it was the same place, but I loved it in the old days, too. I just loved it. Everybody knew each other here—well, they do now, pretty much—I just love Boulder City. And I love Las Vegas. Oh, I cried terribly when he moved me out here, because we never had to lock our doors, and I knew everybody in town. And we come out here, but it didn’t take long to get acquainted. What were some of the social functions in Las Vegas? Well, we had a golf course, it was (unintelligible) golf course. And my husband—we had then quite a (unintelligible). He was so talented. In fact, he had a membership— Dr. Park showed him. Dr. Park showed him how. So he got the thing started, and before you know it, they were coming from Kingman on tournaments and all around, and then he used to teach the men, and of course he taught me and Dr. Park taught me. And I taught the women. So you were probably one of the first women golfers in Las Vegas then? Well, yes, I guess I was. I guess I was. Where was that old golf course located? It was out here— You mean Las Vegas? Mm-hmm. In Las Vegas, it’s out where one of the great big hotels is now, a couple (unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 14 Downtown? On the Strip. And, you know, Dr. Park begged us kids to buy land out there. I said, “I wouldn’t give you ten cents.” (Laughs) How much was land selling for down there? Oh, you could’ve bought it five dollars down, five dollars here or there, so much a month, you know—hundred dollars, maybe, for a great big piece of land. I can remember old Ed Von Tobel—you know Von Tobel? Mm-hmm. He used to come up and have his teeth fixed, and he said to me one day, “Mrs. Doolittle, buy some land.” I said, “Where?” “Anywhere,” he said, “north, east, south or west—just buy it.” Well, I never did. Where were they telling you all this? Up in the office when he was sitting in the chair gonna have his teeth fixed. What year was that around? In the twenties. In the twenties? Yes. Of course, you know, he’s gone now. He built up that big business—I remember his first little business. What was that like? Well, just a little store. What’d he have? He had one help—he had Mr. (unintelligible), the clerk, and maybe one man out in the yard that sells the lumber and things, but this was a little tiny place, and it gradually grew and grew. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 15 It was just (unintelligible) (Unintelligible) Downtown. Yes, Downtown, and I can remember when I first came that, it was one of the sheriff at the range, and they told me, “Now, when you get down to,” it was the (unintelligible), he said, “that is a gambling hall, and you mustn’t cross on the same side. You must cross over and go on the other side of the street.” Things have changed. Do you remember any firsts in Las Vegas, like first stoplight or the first airmail delivery? Well, she was telling you there about the mail. Were those really big events in town, everybody show up for them? Well, the day that Boulder Dam (unintelligible) everybody was out, and all the parade was on. My husband had his band out parading down, and I can remember Harley Harmon, he was district attorney there, and he said, “Well, Alice,” he said, “maybe we won’t make much money,” but he said, “we can sure say we’re here the dam bill was signed.” Maybe you can tell me a little more about your husband’s band? I can’t tell you too much. I know that he used to practice at my house, and the neighbors used to want to kill him. (Laughs) (Laughs) He’d practice late into the night, huh? Yes, and they’d say to me, “How do you stand this?” Well, you know, I come home, I just, I could get to bed and I wouldn’t hear it. She’d go to bed and bother her, would it? It was the first marching band in Las Vegas. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 16 Oh, I was thinking of the orchestra. They had a place where they practiced for the band. I think they practiced over in the school. The grammar school. Grammar school. But the orchestra, they practiced at my house, and that’s when the neighbors had a fit. Do you recall any of the, I’ve heard them say there was a lot of tent houses around Las Vegas? A lotta what? Tent houses with the canvas roof on top and just board sides. Well, I don’t remember that. Tell him about the El Portal Theatre—the Majestic Theatre. You can tell him about that. You can tell him. Well, the first showplace, it had galvanized sides and everything, and you went in on set, they just wrapped— It was (unintelligible). But they did have a little theater before that that they would use in the winter, but in the summer, we all went to this open air thing, it was pretty prude, but we thought it was wonderful. So, if it rained, we all had to get out and walk over a couple blocks and go into this little theater that they used in the winter, and I remember, in the wintertime, the man would come down the yard with a big bucket of coal, open up the door, and throw in the coal, you know, the (unintelligible) was on and everything, and of course we had seats that moved over and everybody’s eating—we just thought we had a wonderful time at the old silent movies. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 17 The old silents? Do you remember any of the names of some of the ones that came to town, those old movies? (Unintelligible) Huh? (Unintelligible) Gibson. Oh, yes, (Unintelligible) Gibson. They all came. Was it kind of like a town thin, everybody in town would come to the show when they came to town? Yes, mm-hmm. Especially on Saturday night. Yes. It used to be so funny, though, in that river rain, nobody’d say anything, no grumbles—just get up out of the seat, and they’d say, “We’ll go over to the”—and we’d all pile into this little dinky theater—Cragin owned the theater. They have an insurance company over there now that used to be— And that was the El Portal? El Portal, yes. The first theater was the Majestic. Do you know where that was located at, approximately? It’s where the Golden Nugget is. Where the Golden Nugget is now. (Unintelligible) And the first post office was right around that corner. And that’s all gone now? UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 18 It’s all gone. [Recording cuts out] This is side two. Now, Mrs. Doolittle, you were telling me about everybody going down to the old Union Depot, that was the thing to do? Union Pacific Depot, yes, do see the trains come in and go out and things like that. How many times a day did they come in? They didn’t come in too often. Was it a quite a few trains let off passengers in Las Vegas? Oh, yes, I thought the service was very good. I know that it was good because, remember, when you had to have your teeth straightened—she had to have her molar teeth and there was no [orthodontist] in Vegas, so this dentist send me to one in Los Angeles. And every other weekend, we had to take the Union Pacific Train down. How much did it cost to go from Las Vegas—? It didn’t cost, just anything—my husband— Oh, your husband wor— For the Union Pacific and got it for free. Like the airlines today. And we did that for how many years? Oh, for about four years. About four years. How long did the train take to get from—? Well, we used to sleep, and we (unintelligible) at night, you know. We’d leave there in the afternoon and get in Los Angeles in the morning. She used to love it; I hated it. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 19 You hated it? (Laughs) Do you recall anything about Walter Bracken? Do you know him? Oh, I knew Walter Bracken. Did you? Yes. Do you know his wife also? I knew his wife, yes. What could you tell us about him? Well, they were very prominent people. She was a very gracious lady, and they had a nice home on Fremont Street. It’s gone now—a nice big brick home. And he was a head of something in the Union Pacific, because I know (unintelligible) deal with him. I don’t know what his job was, but he worked for the Union Pacific in the high office. And he belonged to the Rotary Club, he was quite a promoter—did an awful lot of good for Las Vegas. I’m gonna see if I can get a story on—what do you recall about when the ranch became a restaurant? I don’t know—Ruthie could tell you more about that. I don’t know too much about it. Ironically, it was my husband’s uncle, Carl Belding, that decided to, he dealt with the Elks Lodge. They (unintelligible) sell the property in there, and they took the original building, a house that Mother and Dad and I lived in, and then they renovated that to look like an old-fashioned home, and they used it as their entranceway and their lobby, and then he put the bar in there, and part of the restaurant. And on the bank end, they built a huge dining room, and for quite a few years, that was the Old Ranch Restaurant, and then the Elks Lodge did not renew their lease, so they sold their building to some other people. I don’t recall them, and they used it, I believe, on the Tonopah Highway. UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 20 Were any of the old building of the Old Fort still around? Does the State of Nevada own that now, honey? The Old Fort was still down there, but other than that, I don’t recall—other than this one old house that we live in. This is a pretty famous restaurant from what I understand. Yes. A lot of people were— Yes, well I think a lot of the old timers particularly like to go down there because it was a part of a history of Las Vegas. And when they walk in the door, they more or less remember a lot of things. You were asking about the Stewart Family? Mm-hmm. What relation—? Helen Stewart. (Unintelligible) Mrs. Stewart, the elderly Helen Stewart’s granddaughter. Did you ever meet Mrs. Stewart? Oh, yes, a wonderful woman. What can you tell us about her? Well, she was very well-educated, and she lived across the road in a kind of a, oh it wasn’t too much. She lived there and finally had a house. And she had a house, and she had the most wonderful collections of Indian baskets and Indian stuff. I know it was valued at thousands of dollars, and I used to think, you know, in that old place there, it’s a shame. But we used to talk quite a bit. And her first husband’s name was Stewart, too, and they lived in another ranch UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 21 somewhere, and I never heard the real story, but her husband was shot and killed. And I don’t know, I guess that’s how she come to get over there, and she married—Will Stewart was her son, and she married another man named Mr. Stewart, but she was wonderful, and they had a wonderful person, very well-educated and everything. And as I say, they lived there rather crudely. Well, I’ve heard that her first husband, Archibald Stewart, they came and they took over the lease of the ranch, or they took over—they foreclosed on the ranch when it belonged to O.G. Gass, and did she ever mention how her husband died, or did she ever talk about that at all? All I knew was that it had been in the paper, and she never mentioned it to me, but somebody told me that he had been murdered and shot. And no one ever knew the details? (Unintelligible) Indians did it or what. Somebody had a grievance against him. Did you know the Kyles? Well, I didn’t know them too well, but I know of them. They were well known. Well known for good or bad, or? Good. For good? Good, mm-hmm. The old Kyle Ranch, I think it’s still in existence, isn’t it? Yes. Yes— Trying to renovate it. What were some of the things that they did for Las Vegas? UNLV University Libraries Alice Doolittle 22 I couldn’t tell you. I really couldn’t tell you. See, I was quite a busy person, you know, with a daughter and a husband who worked in the band and the orchestra and all that, and then going to the office all the day, you know, I didn’t go to work till nine in the morning, and we only lived three blocks from where I worked so that I did