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Transcript of interview with Robert Kesterson by James M. Greene, October 24, 1974






On October 24, 1974, collector James M. Greene interviewed civil engineer, Robert Kesterson (born on August 12th, 1920 in Key West, Florida) in his home in Henderson, Nevada. Mrs. Kesterson is also present during the interview. This interview offers an overview on life in Boulder City, Las Vegas, and Henderson, Nevada. The interview ends with a discussion on land development.

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Kesterson, Robert Interview, 1974 October 24. OH-01012. [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 Robert Kesterson i An Interview with Robert Kesterson An Oral History Conducted by James Greene 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 Robert Kesterson ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2019 UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 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 Robert Kesterson iv Abstract On October 24, 1974, collector James M. Greene interviewed civil engineer, Robert Kesterson (born on August 12th, 1920 in Key West, Florida) in his home in Henderson, Nevada. Mrs. Kesterson is also present during the interview. This interview offers an overview on life in Boulder City, Las Vegas, and Henderson, Nevada. The interview ends with a discussion on land development. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 1 (Audio begins midsentence)—I’m interviewing Mr. Robert Kesterson of Henderson, Nevada, on October 24th, 1974, for the purpose of a Master’s Thesis project on the Oral History of Southern Nevada to be placed in the University of Nevada’s Special History’s section of the oral history of this area. Mr. Kesterson was born in Key West, Florida, and because his father was a construction worker, soon migrated to Chicago. And then, rapidly westward until he arrived in the vicinity of Las Vegas and Boulder City and Henderson. Mr. Kesterson, I believe you mentioned earlier that you started your education either in Boulder or Henderson. Is that correct? Yes. I—after coming here in 1931. (Unintelligible) We first lived in, at the Railroad Pass and they had a little school there. A school? Encompassed all the grades from—from first to eighth grade. Was this a permanent building? Yes a permanent building; it was built by the parents of the children in the school there. Now about what year was this, Mr. Kesterson? This was in 1931. 1931? Yes. And as I recall Burro LaCie was the teacher. There was just the one teacher for eight grades. And all the parents, gosh, did their work to help construct the school building itself. I see. Was this—was this a settled community at Railroad Pass? Or was this just a location of your school and you drew students from different locations? All the area around, at that time was settled to some degree. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 2 At Railroad Pass? Yes. Yes. That’s what we call a (unintelligible) I think. Yes. On the maps. They were—there were temporary areas where we lived in tents. Tent houses. Some people lived in a trailer port type thing that was built adjacent to the school area. Just—just west of that. Where is your father working at this time? So that—it must have been close. I mean you living in Railroad Pass. Course he was working at the dam at the time. Oh, I see. In the early days. Mm-hmm. In (unintelligible) for the dam. And how many children would you say, were attending the eighth grades at Searchlight, or—excuse me Railroad Pass? There were ten of us at the time. Ten? And I was the— In eight grades there were ten? Yes. (Laughs) UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 3 And as I say, then, we were there about a year and a half, two years, and then we moved to Boulder City, and I went into the regular school that was already under—complete and in session at that time. Now Mr. Kesterson, if my memory serves me correctly, during that period, there was very little private housing in Boulder City. Were you living in government housing or were you living in private housing? Ah. Did dad own his own home in other words or—? No. How did that work out? (Laughs) (Laughs) (Laughs) There—primarily were two—well, there were three categories of housing in Boulder City. One, the government housing, as we’ve mentioned. Then the Six Companies, we were constructing the dam at the time. Owned a—a good many had built and owned a good many houses that they rented to their employees. And then, of course, there was other private housing. For a time we lived in a company house. And then, later on we moved to a private home and rented, we did not own. Did you—did you finish high school in Boulder City? No. There wasn’t a high school there. I see. I see. I finished seventh and eighth grades there. I see. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 4 And then, I went to Las Vegas High School, which at that time was the only high school in the county. Do you recall the name of any of your teachers in seventh and eighth grade? Yes. Elton Garrett was one of my teachers. Elton stills resides in Boulder City. I see. That are still around. Then after Boulder City schooling, you commuted, I imagine, to Las Vegas High School? Yes. I— By bus? By bus. Took the (unintelligible) and back each day by bus. And I completed my high school education there. (Laughs) That made a long day. Yes. It did. It sure did. It was very enjoyable, however, a small school, I think it was less than six hundred there at the time. How long did the trip take you to get to school in Las Vegas? Well, in those days, not too long. Because there wasn’t anything in between, you see. What I had really in mind, and for a next question was, what the conditions of the roads were? (Laughs) Well, the road was paved. There was just a two lane highway. Was it black top, or cement? It was black top. Uh-huh. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 5 At that time, early out, when I lived at Railroad Pass, and prior to the time I was in high school, the road was gravel. (Unintelligible) You remember anything, recall anything about Pittman or East Las Vegas at that time? Or were they not out as far as they are on the map, today? Well, there was a—there was a trailer, pardon me, not a trailer park, but a place that had cabins, which is in the area of Pittman now, down near the Swanky Pub. Was the only establishment that I recall, between Railroad Pass and Las Vegas, at the time. (Unintelligible) In those days, the Meadows were located south and east of where the Montgomery Ward Store is now located. And from there then there was—you had to go to Fifth Street or Sixth Street in order to get to Las Vegas. At that time, Las Vegas did not have more than I believe ten or twelve thousand population, that small. Las Vegas High School was on what street? About Eighth or—was it that far south? On Carson or something I think? Well, it’s on Eighth. In that vicinity. It’s in that vicinity, yes. Uh-huh. It’s still located there, of course, and—in fact, I went to a basketball game, one of my son was playing there. And they’re still playing the same gymnasium that I did when I was going there. Is that a fact? Yes. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 6 Gonna revisit on the same football field, was the field that I played on when I was there. Yes. I don’t—did you play any football, while you were in school? Yes. I played under Coach Lasselle back in 1936, ’37, ’38. Mm-hmm. And he—in the meantime, transferred up to Reno and took over the university football team in my junior year, and coached them for a little while. (Unintelligible) What teams would be represented on schedule for Las Vegas and Hyde, during those years? Well, in those days, there wasn’t anything (unintelligible) as I said, in Las Vegas, other than Las Vegas High School. Yes. Could you schedule Reno to play? Or—? Who did you play? I mean— Oh, we played Moapa Valley, and Bunkerville, and Kingman, (Laughs) and Needles. (Laughs) (Laughs) And that was all there was, and—and then, we would go north, yearly north to Ely. And up to Reno, and then of course (unintelligible) we came out, between the northern schools and those of us down here, determined where we were in our standing. I see. To play the state championship. What will—how big do you think the student population was at the time you were in high school in Las Vegas High? Well, it was about six hundred. Six hundred? Something in there. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 7 In early education at Las Vegas High, did you have any idea that you might become a civil engineer? Or did you have—entertain ideas of some other occupation? I’m interested in how you gravitated toward engineering. Well, very early in my life, I had decided I wanted to be an architect. I see. ‘Cause I—I felt that I wanted to build buildings and whatever. But I really hadn’t thought about an engineer career. But I did think of being an architect. And— Well, they—architecture is of course related—very, very much. Yes. It is. In particular to your work in your latter part of your life. Yes. Today. Yes. (Laughs) A lot of you recall that I told an old fella, I think what changed me along the way, was I told an old fella that I wanted to be an architect and he asked me, “Why?” And I told him I wanted to build buildings and whatever structures that might be needed and he said, “Well, I don’t see why you have to go to school and be educated to do that.” Because I can just take boards and stucco and nails and build whatever I want. And I didn’t really need the architecture and he nearly talked me out of it. (Laughs) Because I didn’t know what the answer was to him. And— Did you think you might pursue your ambition to be an architect in Las Vegas or did you think perhaps you might relocate where there was a greater population and greater demand for your services? UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 8 No. I had never given any thought about living anywhere else once I came to this country. Primary reason, as I stated earlier, you did I believe, my father was in the construction business and we travelled every few months it seemed like. Hm. During my life, and I never did—was able to accumulate friends. And I always wanted to have a friend that I say, that I had known for ten years or twenty years or something. And so I made up my mind that if I ever got in the positon where I could stop that I’d never move again. And that was early in my life and when I got here, that’s what I did. And I’ve been here ever since. Did you ever have any military service, Mr. Kesterson? Yes. I did. I was enlisted in (unintelligible) in World War Two, was with the (Unintelligible) in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. I remained in reserves and was called up in 1950, during the Korean War and spent a year over there. I see. Navy. I would like to go back to your graduation from high school. And if you can give us the date of that. And the number of students or your friends that graduated with you. And tell us about your first job and your work as you progressed until you went into service. When I finished high school in 1938, I worked for a short time in a grocery store in Boulder City. And then, my father’s company— Who was your employer, sir? Mr. Manning, Stacy Manning (unintelligible) Mr. Manning. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 9 And then for a while I—then, shortly thereafter, my father was able to help me get a job at the dam building the generators there. And I went to work for (Unintelligible) working on the installation generators down there. I worked with them on two of the machines that we installed. At which time I was—given the job of foreman over a number of machinist. In order to help construct these giant machines. The contract ended as I recall in about 1941. And then, I went to work for general electric. Because they had moved in and they had three more machines to build. And they were looking for someone with experience. You speak of generations, of course. Yes. Mm-hmm. And so I— Now where—would the riggers install the generators? Were you a member of a rigger crew or—I think, I don’t know why a rigger is installing something large like you’re referring to, as a generator. Well, a rigger is of course there to help. But we were mechanics. We— I see. Belong to the machinist community. Uh-huh. And all of us were mechanics, rather than riggers. Now the riggers, when we assembled the router that goes inside the generator. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 10 They then would pick it up. Riggers would set it inside the (unintelligible). But all the mechanical parts of those machines, we did. We assembled, and of course, they were already prefabricated, and we assembled them in there. Oh. On the floor of the generators. Well, now I’ve caught up with you. Thank you. (Laughs) (Unintelligible) You worked with General Electric until the dam went into operation? No. I went to—I worked for General Electric until the war started. Until the war? Nineteen forty-two, and then I went into the (Unintelligible) Yes. When were you discharged, Mr. Kesterson? In August of 1945. And did you come back to Boulder City? Yes. And then, what did you do? Well, then the dam work was all finished, or getting ready to be finished. Yes. And so I—I took a little time in trying to make up my mind what to do. I ran into my former boss that I had worked for with General Electric. Yes sir. Before I went into service. And he was his way to South America to install some more machines and he wanted me to go with him. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 11 To help him? To help him do that work down there. Oh yes. But I think I’d only been home about two weeks and being gone three years from (Unintelligible)? The country that I really loved. Yes. I did not want to go with him. (Laughs) And so, he said, “Well, I’ll pick you up on the way back.” Uh-huh. And we’ll go up north to the Grand Tulle and I have a job up there. But I never did see M. Ferry, again. Mr. Ferry. (Unintelligible) man and he eventually went to (unintelligible) New York, and was put in charge of all generator installations for General Electric all over the world. I see. And I never did see him again. Had Boulder changed much during your absents in service? No. Not too much in those days it was pretty stable and they didn’t change much. Who was the biggest employer—? I’m assuming, perhaps Water and Power people— (Unintelligible) From Los Angeles. Pardon me? UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 12 And the government. And the government, as the Bureau of Reclamation? (Unintelligible) Or (unintelligible)? No. The Bureau of Reclamation— Bureau of Reclamation. (Unintelligible) the dam. I see. The Park Service had come in then and were getting, doing their preliminary work to manage the— Uh-huh. Recreation area. But primarily it was Water and Power and the Bureau of Reclamation people, who were there. Where was the Park Service building located at that time? I know it’s at Wyoming and Boulder Highway now. Was it always there? You know, I don’t—I don’t know. I see. I don’t recall. Do you recall them—? (Unintelligible) When the Water and Power took over was it not the Six Companies Store? Well, it was—it was in there. They tore the building down. Oh did they? UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 13 Yes. The Six Companies Store was located right across the street from where the power and light building is. You know that’s interesting. I thought that that was the original building, they occupied, today. No. I don’t believe so. No. The building was across the street where that park is there, between Birch and Cherry Street. Oh. That far? It was where the— Uh-huh. Where the Six Companies Store was. Then who occupied what—? Was that new construction—where the Water and Power is today? Yes. That’s the new building. That came from—that’s the new building. Okay. They built that when they moved in. And presumably they built their own homes at that time, then? Yes. Yes, of course. Mm-hmm. They did. They built many homes. They bought some homes that were there. There was one Mr. Anderson, who ran the Mess Hall. Yes. At the time the (unintelligible) had a beautiful home on—I think it’s on Birch Street. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 14 And they bought that home as part of their complex in there. Do you remember, Mr. Sweeney from those days? I certainly do. (Laughs) (Unintelligible) Who are some of the other of your friends about that time? That you—? Well. Associated with? I’ve drawn a blank. Okay. (Laughs) I see. They are so many. Right. That I have known. That’s understandable. Of men that were there. I knew Mr. Crow. Frank Crow was the general superintendent on the construction of the dam for the Six Companies. I met and knew him, quite well. Mm-hmm. I knew, Mr. Ely, who, for years, was the manager of—City Manager of Boulder City. I knew Mr. Peterson, who was the chief of police for many years for the Reclamation. Was Pearly Morris around there during those days? Well, Pearly Morris came a little later. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 15 A little bit later. But—but. And now we’re talking about what year? After service (unintelligible)—? Well, I knew Frank Crow, much before that time. Because he was there. He left when the dam was completed. About nineteen—oh, maybe forty or somewhere in that area. Mm-hmm. I see. The main construction—the dam was completed—the subcontractors were putting the, the generators in. And there was a little exterior work being done, but mostly the dam construction itself had been completed. Yes. Yes. (Unintelligible) I see. Well, then how did you find work after service in Boulder? Well, I—I—first went to work down one of those little visitors bureau things on the dam there. Oh yes. On (unintelligible) I see. Constructing them you mean? No. Or working at them? Working—selling souvenirs and things. I see. Because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do right after the service. And incidentally, I renewed my claims with Mr. Crow, right there. When he came up there, he hadn’t remembered UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 16 me. Because this was 1951 and the last time I recall seeing him, was about 1939. And I had grown considerably. (Laughs) But when I told him who I was he did recognize it and he asked me how high the intake powers were, and I said, “You probably should know that yourself, Mr. Crow, you built them.” And— (Laughs) He laughed and he said, “Who are you?” And I told him. Yes sir. And he remembered me. And we had a nice chat and that’s the last time I saw him. He died not too—too long after that. Mm-hmm. But that you found work then in Boulder after returning from service then? Yes. Well, I went into business for a while. I started up a little delivery business there and it went along very well. And then, another man and I went into a furniture store and upholstery business. What was his name, sir? And—Goldsmith. Yes. Or Goldsmith. And we—we had a pretty good little business going there. Where was it located? On Wyoming Street, right next to (Unintelligible) Laundry. I see. And then, the Korean War came along and I was called back in the service and I had to give up. I couldn’t— Of course, yes. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 17 I couldn’t stay. They wanted me back and so I had to go and then I sold out and rented my store and went back in to serve for a year and then came home again. (Laughs) And then, was out of a job again, of course. So then, I applied to the Bureau of Reclamation, their project planning office, the Bureau of Reclamation. And went to work there as an engineering draftsman. I worked there for about three years, and then, we moved out to manganese (unintelligible). The Manganese Mine out here on the lake road. That was the Three Kids Mine? Three Kids Mine, of course. Uh-huh. Went to work there, as an engineering draftsman for them. Was that a large mine with a large production? I know it occupied a considerable area. But was it a heavy producer? Yes. It was. It was a very—a very fine operation. Manganese as you know is used in the process of making tempered steal. The process that was used there was devised by an old mining engineer, rather than the process that the government had devised during the war. Now the government operated that plant during the war. Yes. It wasn’t too successful. The production wasn’t too good on it. And then, when the war ended they walked off and left the facility there. I’m just curious if the complete process was performed at that place. That is from the mining of the ore to the reduction to the (unintelligible) was it all done there at that location? UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 18 Yes. It was. And they had the open pit mine. Oh. There were three—three pits up on the hill behind the plant. I see. And then the ore was hauled there and crushed and run through rod mills and pacifiers and so on. I see. And then, from there mixed with three agents. Transported of course, by conveyor up to the (unintelligible) and ran through the (unintelligible) until they came out at the final end in modules, little bottles. Oh yes. That product then was stacked and was shipped to the nation’s stockpile, where ever it is. I think it was in New Mexico, at the time. And this process is unique to magnesium—? It was manganese. Manganese, yes, you’re correct. Manganese (unintelligible) I misspoke. (Unintelligible) Yes sir. It’s a—yes. Yes. Manganese. Not. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 19 It’s an add mixture that is mixed to iron and all the other add mixtures that go in to making a tempered steel. Yes. Steel that is a very fine steel (unintelligible) Now the closing down of the mine, was it caused by exhaustion of the ore or the lack of demand for manganese? Or what? What was it that really closed that mine and mill? Well, the company that operated Manganese Incorporated had a fixed contract with the government to produce so many units of modules total. And when we finished that contract then the plant was closed down. Mm-hmm. There’s still ore there, low grade ore there. But the lack of contract—the contract expired. Was say, Highway 60, passed, which is Lake Mead Boulevard now, did it run clear to the lake at that time? Yes. It did. I see. Were there any railroad services—? How was the ore shipped? In trucks, or? Yes. By truck to a rail sighting out on the east edge of Henderson. West of it. I’m sorry. I see. West end. Yes. And then the spurn line coming off of the main line, going from—exists from Las Vegas to Boulder City. I see. And they were hauled by truck down and loaded into (unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 20 Mm-hmm. And taken (unintelligible) I see. Well, then your next work experience was—? At the (Unintelligible) And that’s in Henderson isn’t it? Yes. I—during my five years I was at Manganese about five years. I had progressed from a draftsman to assistant chief engineer at the plant. My duties then at the time were to supervise the engineering personnel that we have. This was during the time of the rebuilding of the mill. The mill burned down just not too long after I was—went to work there. And then, we rebuilt it. And we hired the many engineers and I had the responsibility under the chief engineer to coordinate and supervise their work. And then, I—when I knew that eventually the plant would be closed down. I went to see Mr. Gibson, Fred Gibson, who at that time, was just beginning to get started in a plant of his own design and his own thinking, to be built again west of Henderson, just off the railroad tracks. And he was going to manufacture (unintelligible) which you see oxidizing agents for the solid fuel, rocket fuel, (unintelligible) Solid rock. Oh I see. For our (unintelligible) Mm-hmm. For (unintelligible). He also manufactured and perfected an anode and carbon dioxide (unintelligible). And that’s their product today. I worked for them there about seven years. As plant engineers for them. You’re never really very far away from architecture. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 21 Essentially were you? No. Always on the drawing board. Always on the drawing board. I—I’ve really enjoyed it. I had to do something, of course, to increase my knowledge of what I was doing, so that I could be able to do whatever’s required. I have for a long time at the subsequent time of the—had all the responsibilities for the design of the buildings and the facilities. Yes. And the equipment and the utilities and everything. And so, I had to—in order to keep up with my requirements, I took an ICS course in civil engineering. Yes. And I studied quite hard on it. And learned much from that. And then, of course, my experience by working there, which I had to absorb very fast, in order to be able to— (Unintelligible) Mr. Kesterson, could you tell us when you were married and who you married? Well, we—I married Lorna Jolly, in 1953, just prior to coming to Henderson. Yes. My wife—(unintelligible) Was she native to this area? No. She was born in Grand Canyon. Her father was a chief park ranger at the time, for many years. Then they moved to Boulder City, at the time that I was in the service in World War Two. I met her after I came home from the service. She was then attending Utah State University, at (Unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 22 Right. She graduated and—in journalism, and went to work for the (unintelligible) in Boulder City, which was about the time that I met her. Was that owned by a Mr. (Unintelligible) at that time? Yes. I see. So—and Lorna worked there for him. We were married and shortly afterwards— What—what year and month was this? Oh. That was January in 1953. January ’53. Might be interesting, Lorna was—in her summer months from school, she was a life guard at the lake. At Boulder Beach? At Boulder Beach. I see. She was credited with saving a young boys life there and received a— Mm-hmm. Quite a lot of publicity on her (unintelligible) At that time was Henderson still growing or was it pretty well concerned with the plants that were located here or were they trying to—? (Tape one ends) We were married and I was at the time, working for the Bureau of Reclamation in project planning department of the Bureau of Reclamation in Boulder City. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 23 And living in Henderson? Yes. We moved to Henderson. And then, shortly thereafter, I went to work for Manganese Incorporated. I see. Nineteen fifty-four. We were very active, both of us in sports. My wife is a very good athlete. As I say, she was a life guard and she’s an excellent swimmer. We played softball in Boulder City and Las Vegas and the surrounding area. At one time I was the coach for their team. (Laughs) And. (Laughs) She has two sisters, who also play on the same team. The three sisters play all together. And then, of course, the lake was utilized by (unintelligible) and loved the water and I spent much time down there with here. I also played ball myself. In fact, when I was sixteen years old, I played on the only team that was represented from Boulder City and the Las Vegas City League. I see. And then, I didn’t not miss a season for thirty years until I finally quit. Thirty years. At the time of your marriage were the tourist exerting much influence on the lake? Was there much tourist pressure or use at the lake? Or was most of it concerned with gambling and on the growing Strip in Las Vegas? Were the people here in Henderson and the Lake much aware of tourists? Yes. We were. The Lake has been a real drawing card ever since it became a lake. As I remember it when it was a river. When I first came here I could walk out and did find a very nice (unintelligible) right out where they call (Unintelligible) the big island down the middle. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 24 That’s the name (Unintelligible)? Yes. And that was then. Because after the water—when the water had formed, it came up and isolated the big ram, the big (unintelligible) ram. Oh. And he was isolated on this island. The park service at—later finding him there, went to the wildlife people and secured a—what do you call ‘em. I don’t know if it’s a doe, or whatever they’re called anyway, a lady sheep. Yes. And. Doe. And put her out there. Ewe—and ewe, yes—put her out there with him. I’m sure the intent was to have wildlife. Really. And a real unusual sight. Most people don’t have a chance to see them. Was there any vegetation? Yes. There was vegetation. I mean, the animals could’ve survived? Yes. They could’ve survived. Unfortunately, someone shot both of them. Oh. For whatever reason, I can’t imagine. I can’t either. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 25 But they found them both dead out there. Somebody had shot them. But I have walked out in that area, which is about two hundred foot of water right now. (Unintelligible) probably that much water now. I would think. But it’s a bit of a sight. In fact, many years ago, when I first came to this country, John B. Stemson had a ranch, up on the bend of the river, which would be up in the middle of the—where the Lower Basin now. And it was abandoned at the time. And I borrowed (unintelligible) and we used to go up there and camp and utilize the—the old buildings, which was made from railroad (unintelligible) and— Is Mr. Stemson an easterner? Yes. He is a famous hat maker. I— John B. Stemson. I was gonna ask that question. (Laughs) Well, thank you for—(Laughs) (Laughs) Anticipating. (Unintelligible) Okay. I was with them for about seven years or more and then was offered a job at Lake Mead Base, which is—just east of Nellis. It’s an ammunition storage facility. Was that a Navy installation? UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 26 That was a—it’s an Army installation but operated for the Navy. Oh, I see. And I was offered the job of chief engineer at that base, with a specific responsibility of—for maintenance of the facilities and— Uh-huh. Construction and the design of any new facilities there. In your years of experience here, Mr. Kesterson, had you ever noticed any emphasis placed on any thinking prevalent that this might—because of the excellent year ‘round climate become a health resort? I’m mindful in the Depression days and before, Tucson was a place for Midwesterners to go for tuberculosis. Did you ever hear much of that? I know it never developed as such, for those specific purposes. But did you ever at any time here any of this? A business man, you know, erecting a resort for people that were ill and needed good air and an equitable climate. There was some talk of it, as I recall. But what happened—and I happened to be present at a chamber of commerce meeting in Boulder City, and I don’t recall the year. It’s been many, many years ago, where because of the gambling permission that Nevada has, the law that allowed gambling—the business people in Las Vegas had thought that it would be a good community and good climate for the type of industry they have there now. Yes. And they then hired experts, publicists, and whatever to get the Las Vegas picture nationwide and worldwide. They put a very concentrated effort into this and that—the Las Vegas that you see today, is the result of that effort. UNLV University Libraries Robert Kesterson 27 I recall, of course, you do very well, the—except for Fremont Street, the Strip, starting with El Rancho Vegas, was a cottage type residence, hotel. Now this would indicate that somebody had some ideas that it would be a nice place to live, you know. And they had a number of guest ranches around, the area, in the valley, did they not? Yes