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Virginia Houser interview, March 20, 1978: transcript






On March 20, 1978, collector Karen Reed interviewed her grandmother, Virginia Houser (born on August 22nd, 1912 in Bartonville, Illinois) at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the interview, Virginia Houser discusses working in Las Vegas at various stores as well as changes in the Downtown and Strip areas. She also speaks about the annual Helldorado Parade and other entertainment in the Las Vegas area besides gambling.

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Houser, Virginia Interview, 1978 March 20. OH-00894. [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 Virginia Houser i An Interview with Virginia Houser An Oral History Conducted by Karen Reed 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 Virginia Houser ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2019 UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 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 Virginia Houser iv Abstract On March 20, 1978, collector Karen Reed interviewed her grandmother, Virginia Houser (born on August 22nd, 1912 in Bartonville, Illinois) at her home in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the interview, Virginia Houser discusses working in Las Vegas at various stores as well as changes in the Downtown and Strip areas. She also speaks about the annual Helldorado Parade and other entertainment in the Las Vegas area besides gambling. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 5 My name is Karen Reed and I’m interviewing Mrs. Virginia Houser. We’re here at Mrs. Houser’s home at 3377 Ruth Drive in Las Vegas, Nevada. The time is about 10:30 and we are here to talk about developments and changes that Mrs. Houser has observed in her twenty-three years as a Nevada resident. Mrs. Houser, how did you come about moving to Las Vegas? My husband came out here for employment and I followed six months later. That was in 1954. About what was the population when you first moved here? Population was approximately 45,000 people. And the town was a much slower town than it is now? Oh naturally. Not as many people. You could cross town in fifteen minutes where it takes a half hour to forty-five minutes now. Okay. The general mood of the town was a lot smaller because it was smaller. And because it was smaller, was it also a lot cleaner? Compared to litter and pollution and all? Oh, yes. It was cleaner. I think Las Vegas has always been clean. Especially from where I came from in the Midwest. That was one of the things I was amazed at, how clean Las Vegas is. Uh-huh. Compared to Illinois, where you’re from? Compared to Illinois. Okay. When you first moved here, I’m sure the weather was much different than that of the Midwest? And, about what are the weather noticed—weather changes that you’ve noticed since you’ve been living here? Well, when we came here, the hottest, I remember it was 118, but as that far back, there was no humidity, not as much as there is now, naturally. And, 118 here didn’t seem as hot as 98 back in Illinois. And, ‘course, naturally now, the humidity is higher, but still not as bad as Illinois. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 6 Uh-huh. How about the wind? Have you noticed any changes in the amount of wind blowing or anything? Well, yes. When we came here, there was no wind—or there was a lot of wind. Seemed like every day, there was wind. If it wasn’t up in the morning when you got up, by the afternoon it would be blowing. And—but not—the winds are greater, I think now, when we do get them. Uh-huh. How about rain? We didn’t have as much rain then as we do now. No. The rainfall was at a minimum. I can remember that it used to just sprinkle. Once in a while you’d get a great downpour, but not as many downpours as you get now. Uh-huh. And how about snow? Was it—? No. I never seen any snow until about 1974. Uh-huh. About four years ago. It really snowed? When it really did snow. Uh-huh. Do you remember any flash flooding that used to occur? Not after I came here, but, about two months before I came, my husband said they had a flash flood, and it filled the Bonanza Underpass, which was only two lanes then, which would make it rise faster than the four lanes we have now. Uh-huh. So, evidently we had more rain with the four lanes because it flooded up to top. The last flood we had, it was up to the top with the four lanes, so, evidently the rain was a lot harder than back then, before I came out here. Uh-huh. Do you remember seeing any smog in the air when you first arrived here? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 7 No. There was no smog at all. None. There wasn’t as many cars. There was, and, not as many, you know, houses and things, with your fireplaces going on and things like that as there is now. Uh-huh. I’m sure that when you first came, you noticed a difference in the kind of buildings that were built here in Nevada, as compared to those in Illinois. Oh yes. There wasn’t—back in Illinois, we had buildings twelve, fourteen stories high. That was the thing that amazed me in Nevada, that there were only two, three stories high at the most. Uh-huh. They were all one, two stories high. And then they started coming in with the high rises and (unintelligible)? Then they had to come in with the high rises, naturally, with the population increasing. Mm-hmm. And they had to go higher instead of spreading out. How about the housing developments that existed when you first arrived? How far out did the houses go as opposed to now? Well, out—we lived out on Bedford Road on West Charleston, right off of West Charleston. And there was nothing behind Decatur then. One or two houses scattered out in the desert. It was all desert at that time. Uh-huh. (Unintelligible) really built up now. Yes. There is a lot of new houses now. The streets, when you first came here, I imagine a lot of the main streets were just two lanes as opposed to now. Yes. I remember we were looking for a place to rent, and we came down Desert Inn Road. At that time, about a year after I was here, and it was only two-lane blacktop at that time. And UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 8 Sahara was only two lanes, partially paved. It wasn’t real good paving, you know, with curves and everything. It was just two-lane pavement. Uh-huh. How far out did Charleston go? Charleston went, like I said, to Decatur. Nothing beyond Decatur, a few houses scattered in the desert, but nothing— The road to Red Rock was practically dirt road all the way? Yes. Red Rock maybe run out two or three miles of pavement beyond Decatur and then the rest was all dirt road to Red Rock. Uh-huh. How about the mountains? The roads up to Mount Charleston, Lee’s Canyon, and all? Oh, they were about the same as they are now. There were—I don’t think they had that crossover from Lee’s Canyon to Mount Charleston like they do now, up where that weather station is up there. Uh-huh. When you first moved here you had one son in school. Were you pleased with the school district here when you first arrived? Yes. In comparison with Illinois, it was about the same. It was good for a small town. Uh-huh. And, I think we’ve got a good education here. The teachers were really conscientious. The only thing was, there was about five schools here then, four or five schools. And you have to get your own transportation or walk. There was no bussing. And we lived on 6th and Mesquite and in an apartment, and he had to come clear down to 25th for the grade school. He could walk, or I had to take him. And that was about two and a half to three miles. Uh-huh. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 9 Closest school. I see. And, which high schools were in existence then? There was Rancho, Las Vegas, Gorman, and Basic in Henderson. Uh-huh. When you first came here, where was your—did you start work right away? Or did you hold off? Well, when I first started, I just took part-time work. And I worked in the department stores and as a clerk, because I came working (unintelligible) in Illinois, which was a factory, and we didn’t have any here, so I just took clerking jobs around town. Uh-huh. And, you mentioned that your first, well, one of your first jobs, was working for Vegas Village? Yes. That was my first full-time job. I worked for Vegas Village for three years. That was down in (unintelligible) North Las Vegas, right off of Owens, across from the cemetery. And that was the only Vegas Village here at that time. Wages were a dollar and twenty-three cents an hour, and I got a great big raise for two cents an hour after about a year and a half (Laughs) (Laughs) That was the only Vegas Village here in town (unintelligible)? At that time. Uh-huh. And then, where did you go from there? Then I went from Vegas Village for a permanent job to Thrifty Mart, which I worked there for sixteen and a half years. I worked at the one on Bonanza and the one on East Charleston, where I retired from. Uh-huh. Did you find any changes over the years in the people that shopped at the grocery stores and the prices, and their attitudes towards the prices? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 10 Oh, yes. They used to talk about the weather and incidents in town, but in later years, they, all they could do was rave about the prices and how they kept jumping up. Uh-huh. Do you think that their attitudes towards spending more money became—made them, (unintelligible) bitter at all? About (unintelligible)? Oh yes, naturally. But then they had to look at it too, when you used to go to the grocery store, you used to just buy your groceries, but then the grocery stores started handling toothpaste, underwear, and— Everything. Everything. You know, you could buy even clothing, socks, and underwear, things in the department store. Of course, that added to their bill too, but they didn’t realize that. ‘Course prices did go up. Yes. And I admit they went up. But, you know. How about people’s eating habits? You know, would they go out for, you know, junk food, like they do now or? Well, no, I think now they’re more conscious of foods without— Preservatives? Preservatives in ‘em. They watch that pretty close. And they go more for fresh vegetables and things. Because I think they thought they were more reasonable than buying canned goods, you know. Yes. And it was better. And they were more health conscious now than they were then. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 11 Uh-huh. How about the people that you worked for? Do you find them pretty personable and interested in how you are as a human being or? Oh yes. Well, I always had good bosses, and managers, assistant managers, and the help got along real good. And if you wanted an extra day off, they would try and manage it, you know, with the help that they had. And, it seemed like then, we had more help than actually now. With the population increase and everything, you know. They tried to cut back—? Yes. They cut back. Uh-huh. And it was natural that they do that with wages on the rise. And, we had to wait on more people— Yes. Than we— Mm-hmm. Now (unintelligible) back then. Because I can remember stocking shelves a lot of times when we weren’t busy. And in the last four or five years, I never got out to stock shelves, I just had my nose to the grindstone at the cash register. (Laughs) Yes. So that gives you an idea of the rise in population, but not the rise in help. Uh-huh. You mentioned that people complained about the prices and when they get up to the cashier’s stand? Mm-hmm. Yes. Did they complain so much years ago or? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 12 No. Like I said they talked about the weather and incidents in Vegas instead of the prices. But, the last few years it was always prices, complained about prices, and the rise in prices, and everything. Uh-huh. Naturally, they shouldn’t complain, but I couldn’t help it. (Laughs) (Laughs) How did you get to and from work when you worked here in Las Vegas? Well, when I used to clerk at Sears and the little shops Downtown part-time, I rode the bus ‘cause we only had one car. And, the transportation was bad because I can remember one time, we broke down around Southern Nevada Hospital, and we had to sit there for an hour to wait for a bus to come and take us on to our destination. Now, it’s about fifteen minutes, you can get a bus out there, and reload, and be on your way. Uh-huh. Do you remember what the bus fare was then? I think it was approximately ten or fifteen cents, something like that. Yes. And I think more people rode the bus then than they do now. You think so? Mm-hmm. Yes, you’re probably right. How about cabs? Do you remember seeing very many taxi cabs around? Well, I have a 1964 Review Journal that I picked up and kept because the centennial year and I noticed in there, and reading through it, they had Yellow Cab, had one hundred cabs at that time. I don’t know how many they have now, but I imagine it’s many, many more than that. Yes. Were cab fares a lot less, do you think? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 13 Well, I never rode the cabs too much then. As I say, bus fare was only a dime, and cabs were expensive (unintelligible), so much more convenient, but the last time I rode a cab was about four years ago. I had to take one from the airport to my home, and that’s about five miles. It had cost me $5.50. I don’t know what the rate was, but it cost me $5.50 from the airport to my home five years ago. Uh-huh. Do you remember any of the hotels having limousine services like they do now or? Well yes, they used to, but ‘course with the growth of the town they’re naturally going to have to have more. You know, they added more— Uh-huh. Since the town has grown. Uh-huh. As far as entertainment goes, when you first arrived, did you go out to any of the shows or casinos? Oh, naturally, that’s something big when you first come to Las Vegas. We went to see three or four shows, but after a while, that gets old. That’s for the tourist, you know. Unless someone comes to town that you like, an entertainer, and you want to go out and see them. Why, you’d go. As far as for me, I like the lakes and the mountains—the lake and the mountains better than going out on the town. Yes. And that’s the reason I don’t—haven’t seen too many shows. But as the lake, I like the lake because you can go out in a boat and go swimming and it’s so relaxing. And you can find a cove to swim in. The water isn’t too warm. You can always find a lot of springs in the same spot. It’s like taking a warm bath (unintelligible) spring. Also, would like to mention how at Lake Mead, as it is patrolled well, most people have a respect for (unintelligible) dangers. And at the UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 14 mountain, I always used to tell my customers that I liked it here, because I didn’t like it in Illinois driving on that snow. Here, you can go up to the mountains, sled, ski, and come back and leave it all up there for the nice warm sunshine. Come down to the Valley and get away from— Get away from that snow and ice. Yes. Okay. As far as the entertainment goes, do you remember the prices of the shows and stuff that you went to see or? No. We had friends and most of ours were comped or our guests took us to the shows. (Laughs) So I don’t recall approximately how much the shows were at that time. Uh-huh. How—do you remember the growth of the hotels here in Las Vegas? Which ones were built after you arrived? Well, Sahara and Desert Inn were the older ones. And the Hacienda was the furthest one out at that time. And El Rancho was there before it burned down. ‘Course it wasn’t like the hotels. It had cottages instead of hotel rooms, it had cottages that you rented. They had a small casino and a nice restaurant. I imagine it would have increased in size as the town grew, if it hadn’t burned down. And, as I remember, when they built the Tropicana, I think it was, they said, two million dollars to build it, and everybody thought that was a tremendous amount of money. Of course now, I’d hate to build it these days. (Laughs) Yes, they spend 200 million on ‘em now. So the Hacienda was the last thing out there, huh? Yes, as far as I can remember. That was on the old—you used to have to out to the strip to get to California. And before they built the freeway, and that was the last, there might’ve been a (unintelligible) or so, but no hotels beyond there. Maybe a few motels, but not hotels. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 15 (Unintelligible) And where did most of the people go? Which hotels were the most popular among the residents here in Las Vegas? Well, the Sahara and the DI were the most popular. Like I said, Hacienda was a little bit far out. And, the DI I guess, and before they built the Stardust. ‘Course that brought the crowds in, the Stardust did a tremendous business as soon as it opened and always has ever since. Uh-huh. How about the Silver Slipper? The Silver Slipper was a landmark, naturally. People all over the United States heard about the Silver Slipper. It was well, you know, patronized. And they had good (unintelligible) forty-nine cent breakfast (Laughs) (Laughs) And that was good. Everybody went for that. How about—they had a burlesque show there at one time didn’t they? Yes. I think that was about the only burlesque as I remember. I’m not a burlesque fan but that was about the only burlesque show in Las Vegas at that time. Nudie show (Laughs) (Laughs) As far as the courtesy of the hotel employees and the friendliness and stuff, do you think it was a lot more friendly in those days than it is now? Oh yes, because I think all over the country that courtesy has become a vile word. It’s not a, you know, they don’t treat you with courtesy because they figure that there’ll be somebody to take your place. And that’s not only the hotels or here in Vegas, it’s all throughout the country. People just don’t take pride in their jobs anymore like they used to years ago. Uh-huh. And, that’s the same in industry or anything else that really (unintelligible) cars that are (unintelligible), refrigerators, anything, because people just don’t take pride in their work. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 16 Uh-huh. How about the influence Howard Hughes had on Las Vegas here? Do you remember much of that? Well, when he came here, he thought it was gonna be a big thing for Las Vegas, but I think they let him get too many hotels. I think he had approximately five if I’m not mistaken, and that’s too many for one man to own. And it’s too much of a monopoly, which I don’t think we should have in Las Vegas. Uh-huh. Because they want to run the town, if they get a monopoly. Have you seen many changes in the gambling, like the gambling machines, and the tables? Well, when we first came to Vegas, a nickel was the most you could play, or a quarter, or a dime. They didn’t have these ones you could put five or six nickels in. One was the most that you could put in. And also, I don’t even recall a fifteen cent machine. It was nickels, dimes, and quarters was the most money. And if you wanted to gamble any bigger than that, you had to go to the tables, or twenty-one, or craps, or—also, they had a dime craps, I remember, down on Fremont Street years ago when we first came here. And, of course that attracted the lower class of people in. Uh-huh. Dime. I’m sure there was a lot of silver dollars in circulation then. Oh yes. I can remember going into the dime store and buying fifty cents worth, and he’d give you four silver dollars, and you’d get so mad because they were so heavy. Now a lot of people wish they had a bunch of them silver dollars, they’d of kept ‘em. What was your first impression when you walked into the casinos here? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 17 Well, what amazed me was the amount of money laying on those tables. I didn’t think there was that much money in the world. (Laughs) And the bright lights. Those bright lights were beautiful. And the tourists I’ve talked to, they’re all amazed at the beautiful lights, and so many of ‘em. Like I say, I’d like to have a light built. In one day I could retire and live in luxury. (Laughs) (Laughs) That’s about right. Remember how much the cocktails were when you were first here? Well, I used to take five dollars out and have lunch. Of course, that was only a sandwich, and have a couple cocktails, and have two dollars to play in the slot machines. (Laughs) You can’t do that now. No, you sure can’t. But, I don’t know, it all goes with, well, you know, everything expands, and you have to go along with the crowd. Yes. I’m sure you’ve seen the Downtown area change drastically since you been here. Yes. The side streets Downtown, mostly all they had was what they called flop houses. We were talking about that today. Fifty cents for a room, you know, overnight. Now they’re building casinos and restaurants off on the side streets where they didn’t before. Uh-huh. How about the traffic Downtown? Well, one thing I said, they shouldn’t let ‘em park on Fremont Street, you know. Because it’s so narrow and there’s nothing you can do to widen it. Uh-huh. Fix the sidewalk, but then they need that. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 18 Yes. So, there’s nothing much they can do about that but— Do you think they should close it off to traffic completely? Like they propose to do? I think they should. They should because the hotels are mostly gonna have parking lots now, where you can park in. And, there’s parking lots available close by that you don’t have to go up but a block or two. So, I think they should close off the traffic on Fremont Street. I mean, the parking on Fremont Street, that should be done away with. Were there any high rise parking facilities Downtown like there are now? Oh no, none. There were just parking lots, mostly then. Didn’t park in building (unintelligible). Uh-huh. If there were, they were only one floor. How about the development of casinos out in North Las Vegas? Well, it’s grown, but not like Las Vegas. The Silver Nugget wasn’t there when we came here. Jerry’s Nugget was there, but they just—it hasn’t grown like Las Vegas, I don’t think. It’s grown, but not like Las Vegas. Uh-huh. Okay. And you mentioned the fact the traditions here in Las Vegas have changed about Helldorado activities and what not. You want to talk about that? I think that’s a sad thing, because they should have something beside the casinos for an attraction, and the shows, and things. I think Helldorado was a big attraction. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, even local people. And you have to have something for the local people, ‘cause they get tired of, you know, going to casinos and that. And, Helldorado was always the big thing when we came here. 118 degrees and you’d sit out there and perspire and never mind it a bit, just watch that elaborate parade they used to have. Then you’d go down to the Cashman UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 19 Field which is another sad thing that they’ve done away with, and go to the rodeo and, they had carnivals there and it was in walking distance to town for the tourists. They didn’t—they flew in, they could go down there and see a carnival or Helldorado rodeo, and it was a big thing then. They used to play baseball there. Had a nice baseball field and the lights and everything. Why they did away with it, I don’t know. How about the enthusiasm of say, buying buttons and what not for the (unintelligible)? Oh, that was a big thing. You always had to do your duty and buy a button. It was a dollar for the people and the managers in the stores. Like, I worked in the store, we’d buy our button for a dollar, and the manager had to pay five, and it went to a good cause, and we were always glad to do it. And that’s sort of been done away with too. We just, well it isn’t done away with, but it’s not near as big as it used to be. Uh-huh. And with everything going, you’d think that would’ve gone too, you know. But they’re even bigger, instead of being almost obsolete now. Yes. And, they used to have the old barbeques out at the Silver Slipper along that street there. They had a street with old covered wagons on it and shops you could shop in. Now they’ve closed that all off. It used to be like the old days. Uh-huh. Saloon with the sawdust on the floor, you know. And they had clothes and menus. (Unintelligible) you could get a steak for a quarter, T-bone steak they’d advertise for a quarter on the menu, you know. And these furs the women used to wear around their neck, and all the dance hall girls stickin’ their head out the window. They were just dummies, but they’d mannequins, UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 20 set up their coats when you go in and that was a big sight too. And they did away with that. Took all the stuff and moved it to Florida, I understand. And did you dress up for Helldorado Days? Oh yes, that was a must. Even in the stores and department stores, grocery stores, every place, you had to wear your Helldorado outfit. Yes. And that was another thing. You can go back east anyplace and see a checkered uniform or a clerk working in a department store with your dress on, you know, and things like that. But out here, they used to have to all dress western, which was a good thing, I think it made it an attraction. Helps preserve the heritage. Yes, heritage and western style. Uh-huh. We are western and we should be western style. Mm-hmm. You said you had a son that was in school here, and was he active in sports in the school here? Oh yes, he played baseball and—with the Little Leagues and the (unintelligible), and when he went to Rancho, he played basketball for Rancho, and I have to get my plug in here. They took state that year he graduated from Rancho High School (unintelligible). Uh-huh. Did you find that they had very much support and enthusiasm for the sports programs like they do now or? Well, no. I think they could’ve given out more scholarships. But of course being a small town and not— didn’t have the funds and things, of course, you know, could’ve supported ‘em. They UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 21 do more now. They support the fight game, you know, wrestling, and boxing, and things like that. They did a little of that in those days, but they didn’t go much for supporting scholarships for the high schools and things like they should’ve done. But then like I said, smaller town, you have to get going some time. Yes. It wasn’t, at that time, born thirty years too soon. (Laughs) (Laughs) How about the public services? Like recreation for kids and hospitals (unintelligible)? The only really recreation for the kids that I can recall was (Unintelligible) Center. Where they had a swimming pool there and you can go there and do arts and crafts, play basketball. And that was really the only big thing kids had besides baseball, and you know, things that, like little leagues and things. And the only thing that used to make me sick, I think, that these hotels can furnish a recreation for the children so they wouldn’t have to stand on the street like they used to do and wait for their parents in there gambling, stand out in that hundred degree heat, and wait for the gambling—their parents in there gambling, they should have had something to entertain the children. If they want families here, they should give it a family thing. Yes. How about the hospitals? Circus Circus, pardon me, Circus Circus was the best thing that ever happened to this town, in the way of people coming here, tourists with their children. Naturally they’d bring ‘em, because they can’t stand a vacation and a baby sitter, where they left from, or where they—here in Vegas, You know, it’s just too expensive. Uh-huh. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 22 So they could take ‘em to Circus Circus, do their gambling, see the circus act, and children could be entertained at the same time. Uh-huh. And that’s one place that wasn’t here, Circus Circus when we came here. Ceasars Palace wasn’t here. And I think more of the hotels should do that. If they have to take just one floor and make it entertainment for children and babysit the children for the people there, spending their money in the hotel. And that’s about the least they could do, right? Yes. Yes. Well, since Circus Circus came here, and I think some of the hotels are doing it now. You don’t see as many children standing on Fremont Street as you did years ago when you first came here. Yes. They used to be just lining the street. Uh-huh. Nothing to do, waiting for their parents. Uh-huh. How about the movie houses in town here? When you first moved here, do you remember how many movie theatres there were in town? Two as I remember. There was one on a side street, I think it was Second Street or Third, and one right down on Fremont Street. Uh-huh. But— Was the Huntridge theatre here yet? Down on Charleston? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 23 Yes, I believe that was there too. Because that used to be far out when you know. And drive-ins, I don’t recall as there was any drive-ins when we first came either. That’s all. Did any of the hotels show movies like some of them do now? Well, the Silver Slipper used to in the daytime. They’d have a movie in the showroom. And, you could go in there and sit and have a cocktail in the showroom, and it didn’t cost you anything, only for your cocktail, you know. And they had a big screen up on the stage and they showed movies on that screen. If you didn’t want to go out and gamble or something, you could sit there and have a cocktail and enjoy the movie in there. Uh-huh. They used to—and that was one thing for the children too. They could go in there too, I think then, at that time. Uh-huh. I don’t remember now, for sure. Do you remember how many hospitals there were when you first moved to Las Vegas? Well, there was Southern Nevada. I think Sunrise was a small hospital, if I remember right. And that was about it. Was there one Downtown? Oh, there was one Downtown. Uh-huh, right down in the heart of town. I don’t know whether it was Stewart or Ogden over there, right in the heart of town. I think it was called Las Vegas Hospital. Uh-huh. Do you remember anything about the ambulance services and the public services they provided then or? UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 24 Well, they had pretty good ambulance service for a small town. ‘Course we didn’t have paramedics like we have now, you know. (Unintelligible) I imagine, I never had to use ambulance service, but I imagine it was pretty good. Mm-hmm. How about the police service and how the crime rate and things have increased in town here? Naturally, that’s influx again. When you get a larger town, you’re gonna have more crime. And I don’t know how they expect to do without crime in Las Vegas compared to other towns, because you have all this transient. And they’ve got to figure that in too, you know. Uh-huh. It’s not the home population, you gotta figure the transient that come in here and do these crimes too, where other towns don’t have that much transient. Yes. But— It’s a drawing card, and when you have a drawing card, you’re gonna get transient and when you have transient, you’re gonna get crimes. Uh-huh. And from reading the newspapers and whatnot, do you think the crime has become more violent or? Well, violence—crime and violence has become more violent all over the United States due to dope, I think. Yes. This is a town where they got their share of it. Yes. Do you remember anything about the mafia? Heard anything about the mafia? Oh, when we first came here, I heard the mafia started this town, but you have to get started some place. UNLV University Libraries Virginia Houser 25 (Laughs) One man’s money’s as good as another’s as long as they don’t try to run it. How about drugs and prostitution, changes in those areas? Well, being close to Mexico, maybe there was a little more drugs then than