Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Letter from Walter R. Bracken (Las Vegas) to F. H. Knickerbocker (Los Angeles), July 1, 1936






Letter on the water situation in Las Vegas during a water shortage and status of water supply to the Stewart burial plot and the Las Vegas Ranch.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier

Box 13 Folder W23-3-5 Water Supply Drilling Wells for Wells 7 & 8


hln000704. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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 ( or contact us at?

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

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

Digital Processing Note

Manual transcription





Water Supply at Las Vegas: Las Vegas - July 1st, 1936. Mr. F. H. Knickerbocker, General Manager. . , Los Angeles, California. Dear Sir: The domestic water s u p p l y s i t u a t i o n here in Las Vegas has very materially improved within the last few days, all due to the publicity given us through the local paper, the Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, and putting on an e fficient checker for the past eight days. He has been laid off for the present at least, to see if this work cannot be dispensed with altogether. The measurement at the reservoir this morning was 10 f t . 7 in.. just flowing a little over the spillway. However, there is as yet no water flowing in the Creek to the Ranch. Water arising from the Middle Spring, which flows exclusively into the creek, does not get much further down than about half-way to the Main Street bridge, and I am advised by Attorney Leo McNamee that there might arise from this shortage a damage suit by the Stewart heirs, as you will recall when purchasing the Ranch in 1903 they retained a water right of 4 inches for their burial plot. This was not an agreement or concession on our part in allowing them this water right, but was an outright reservation made at the time of dealing for the ranch. Mr. Knickerbocker: #2 July 1, 1936. The flow of the Middle Spring is 246 gallons per minute, and with a constant flow of this kind, it should at least reach the Ranch, but from a thorough personal investigation made by myself and Neeley over the ground, I find that all of this water is being lost through a winding and grass overgrown channel, spreading out at different places to such an extent that percolation and evaporation takes up all the water before it reaches the bridge at Main Street. In phone conversation with Mr. Adamson yesterday concerning this matter, I do not think it would cost more than $100 for use of dragline to clean and straighten this ditch from the reservoir and spring outlets down as far as the bridge on Main Street. That part of the creek from the bridge to the Ranch and to the intake of 4 inches for the Stewart burial plot will be cleared and cared for by Mr. Witwer, the lessee of the Ranch. dragline for this work, and I would very much appreciate your advice and decision as to whether we should attempt it or not. The cost should, I believe, be charged to the railroad company, as the creek referred to is on railroad land, and the water Company will, of course, pay its portion through rental of water facilities. In addition to the requirement of 4 inches for the Stewart burial plot, we should deliver 100 miners' inches to the Las Vegas Ranch, the contract in this respect reading as follows: Mr. Knickerbocker: #3 July 1. 1936. "Provided, however, that i f at any time the water supply in said creek at the point where it passes the west boundary line of said Section 26, above specified, shall be reduced in amount so that no more than 100 miner's inches (2 1/2 c u . f t . per second) shall pass said point, then the said Lessee shall be held harmless as to any damages resulting from an insufficiency of water, and in such event consent is hereby given to the lessee to quit and vacate said premises and terminate this leasa upon sixty days' notice in writing to the lessor of his intention so to do." We are not positively required to deliver this amount of water to the Ranch, but it is to our advantage to do so, in view of the fact that we receive $2,000 per year rental on the Ranch. I am hopeful that the water supply will continue to build up in the reservoir so the overflow from the spillway and the flow from the Middle Spring w i l l be sufficient to reach the Ranch and burial plot, but we cannot depend on this condition. an! should in my opinion make prompt arrangements to straighten and clean the creek. Yours very truly, WALTER R. BRACKEN Vice President. cc - Mr. R. L. Adamson. Mr. Leo A. McNamee.