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Transcript of interview with Herbert & Erma Holtam by Marc Hechter, February 7, 1976






On February 7, 1976, collector, Marc Hechter interviewed Herbert and Erma Holtam in the collector’s home in Las Vegas, Nevada. This interview covers the history of the early Las Vegas Valley area. The discussion includes an in-depth overview of the Helldorado Parade and Helldorado Village. The building of the hotels on the Strip, homesteading, and local housing developments, are also discussed.

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Holtam, Herbert & Erma Interview, 1976 February 7. OH-00861. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam i An Interview with Herbert and Erma Holtam An Oral History Conducted by Marc Hechter 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 Herbert and Erma Holtam ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2019 UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 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 Herbert and Erma Holtam iv Abstract On February 7, 1976, collector, Marc Hechter interviewed Herbert and Erma Holtam in the collector’s home in Las Vegas, Nevada. This interview covers the history of the early Las Vegas Valley area. The discussion includes an in-depth overview of the Helldorado Parade and Helldorado Village. The building of the hotels on the Strip, homesteading, and local housing developments, are also discussed. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 1 Interview with Herbert Holtam, Las Vegas resident since 1947. Would you please both present a brief description of life in postwar Las Vegas, both from the general viewpoint of what life was in the valley area and from your own personal involvement with the area? Go. Herbert Holtam: Well, originally, I think that Las Vegas at the time in the, like in the 1946 era that I knew about, the town was absolutely different than it is at the present time. Our style of living was different. We never locked the door on our house. We didn’t have to. Everyone that you met on the street, you knew, personally. You didn’t have to—money didn’t mean anything. Because everybody was your friend. If you needed a dollar or two dollars, everybody just—each person loaned it to the other person, and said “I’ll pay you back tomorrow.” And there was nothing different about it. There was no value of anything. Everything was—each person loaned somebody else (unintelligible). Erma Holtam: Well, and at that time, too, Fremont was the main—Fremont Street was the main—where everybody went. Now he’s talking about Fremont Street was where you could go into a bar and if you didn’t have the money, well, you could get a drink, you know, and say, “Well,” in fact, they’d run a little tab on you, to, for the night, you know, and you were expected to come in and everybody did. There wasn’t any problems, at all. So, that’s what he means when he says, that he didn’t take any money. You didn’t have to have any money. Or money wasn’t important. You didn’t have to go Downtown with money in your pocket. Well, Las Vegas was a small town then, with a small town environment. Sure, yes. Right. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 2 Okay. There’s been—if that is true, it also is obvious that the land area in the Valley was the same as it is now, of course. But it was not anywhere near as spread out. The investments, homesteading, was running wild. That’s right. Right? ‘Cause we were offered homestead land in 1946. If we would go out—the only thing we had to pay was twenty-five dollars. There was—yes. The initial fee. That was our registration fee, was all. But we didn’t pay anything for the land. Twenty-five dollars and we would be given five acres of land in the Paradise Valley or anyplace in the whole area that you wanted to go and homestead, was twenty-five dollars, was all you had to pay. And this was over on Second Street. What was? The filing of the—next to that—cross the street from the—behind the UP Railroad. Turnover, they had the employees that drove the trains, where they would stay at. The land office was right there? Behind it. Behind it? Right. On Second Street, wasn’t it? Yes, well, that’s when the—when the UP Railroad Station was at the end of Fremont Street, too. Right. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 3 Where the Union Plaza is now. Right where the Union Plaza is now, or was— Was the UP Railroad Station. Was the station. Was the Las Vegas area more of a—was it still a water stop for the UP or did it—were we then beginning to grow more and more? Oh. It was beginning to grow. They were beginning to grow. There were housing out on—that they had built a housing—The Biltmore Edition was built in, oh, about 1945, and that was—that was one of the first subdivisions. And another one shortly after that was The Huntridge. Before that was open. The Huntridge? The Huntridge was built before that. Was it built before that? Right. Housing was? Right. Hm. It was built in the forties, the early forties. Yes. And that was quite a ways out of town. ‘Cause that’s where (Unintelligible) ‘Cause that was below—that was south of Charleston. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 4 Oakey was the outskirts of town at that time. Yes. ‘Cause a Don Marines had his home there. Right at the edge of the desert. And then there was—where the Green Shack now is. Almost I think. Do they still call it the Green Shack? Yes. It’s still the Green Shack. (Laughs) Yes. (Laughs) It was (Unintelligible) Casey was the— The cook. She was the—I’ll say, the chef, out there at that time. And there was Jimmy that owned it, and she was in a wheelchair. Not at—at that time? Right. Right after that—just about, well, probably about the first year after we were married. Yes. She wasn’t in a wheelchair when we were married, though. No. But— Yes. About the year, first year after that. And then she— She was in a wheelchair. All the rest of the time, she ran that for like twenty years, or something. Right. In the wheelchair all the time. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 5 This used to be down by the old—Meadows, was I think, talk about in the history, is the Meadows. Well, she was behind the Meadows, after the Meadows burned down. This is at the corner of Charleston and— Boulder Highway. Boulder Highway. Well, the town then was mostly situated in what the border of Paradise Valley is now, and the end of Paradise Valley? No. At the time when the town at that time would be— That was out of town. That was out of town? That was out of town. Out of town. You went out to the Green Shack ‘cause that was the place to go. (Laughs) But it was— You were on the city—the outside of the city limits. You know and they had good fried chicken out there. Okay. This brings to mind a question and the builders in recent times, move was mainly to build in the Paradise Valley area? Oh, that’s only within the last ten years. “cause the town, is that—okay, well, the reason I want to ask you that is because there was a lot of—like Charleston Heights is not old, but it’s not new either. Right. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 6 Okay. This development out here in (Unintelligible) Charleston is very new. Now did the town in the postwar area and into the fifties have a tendency to grow towards the Boulder Highway area? Or were we growing this way? No. No. We’re growing west and then— West and North. At the time that this—yes. At the time this friend of mine— Until I bought. Yes. (Laughs) (Laughs) Till I bought the Tonopah Highway, and that was it. (Laughs) Mm. It stopped. (Laughs) This friend that I was telling you about—she was writing up the contracts for a Hyde Park. Now this was in like 1952 and ’53. And she had a choice of whether she was ‘gonna buy one of those houses or buy in this Federal park in North Las Vegas. And she thought since North Las Vegas was, you know, just getting started, was ‘gonna become a town and everything that she thought that would be a smart move. Okay. North Las Vegas was not a town at that point? No. It was not. No. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 7 Uh-uh. In 1952, which is—it’s—I can’t remember exactly when Hyde Park was built but I remember that she was writing up the contracts, to, because she worked at Pioneer Title. And Hyde Park, you know where that is—that’s at the corner of Decatur and Charleston. Decatur and Charleston. Yes. Right. And that, those were new, then. They were brand new, brand new houses and contracts. So. But the time at that, the town seemed to have moved West and North. Why yes, (unintelligible). Yes. And then. Old, Mr. Eastland. Old Man Eastland. Old Man Eastland, we used to call him. He was an engineer. He was a— And he developed Eastland Heights. Eastland Heights. Which is at the Corner of Vegas Drive and Tonopah Highway. Okay. Well. The town Hughes bought. The town then was—? But he just sold the land. I mean—that was, you built your own houses out there. House. It wasn’t, projects weren’t being built out there. There were no housing developments around that time? UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 8 None. Just—you bought the land and—? Built your own home. From there on you’re on your own? Yes. Right. Right. Okay. The first big project that I do know about was Twin Lakes Project, which was built in fifty— Fifty-four or fifty-five. No. Yes. Lucky was born. Well, this was Tonopah Highway and the Bonanza area? And Vegas Drive. And Washington. Yes. Okay. Washington? Okay. Between Vegas Drive and Washington and Tonopah Highway and Pyramid Avenue. Across from the park. That was one of the early— Well, the original. In fifty. That was (unintelligible) built one of the first ones. Well, that was extreme northwest of the Valley or Las Vegas. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 9 Right. Right. Right. Oh yes. The very northwest end of the Valley. Right. Right. Okay.And nothing, nothing from then on, nothing did develop, on out pass there, for a long, long time. There were some ranches out there, you know, but Tule Springs and— Old Man Goldman—that owned Tule Springs. Well, yes. Yes. But the—what’s the one where we used to go on the hay? Oh. Gilcrease Ranch. Gilcrease Ranch and then. Doc Larne’s. Doc Larne’s place. Yes. They were all of the highway. But you—there the ones that you could see, you know, coming down. Down. Down the—Tonopah Highway. Where Tule Springs is now is where the main water for the City of Las Vegas is coming from. Well, that’s where the park is, too. (Laughs) Tule Springs Park, now. Where the park is at in Tule Springs. With Old Man Goldman. It’s private property? UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 10 Was private property at that time and his daughter—I can remember Margo, she was about—or his granddaughter, I should say. Margo, she was only about, seventeen or eighteen, and she used to come into our store, which we owned and she said, “Well, I’m going to church today.” And so, her mother and father were taking her to church, which that was her stepparents. Because her parents were killed. But Margo came in one day and she was driving a brand new Buick convertible. And I said, Margo, I said, “My golly, what are you doing with your new convertible?” She said, “Well, grandpa bought it for me?” And he owned the Boulder Club, Downtown. Downtown. And she said, “Grandpa bought me that but I would like to have a new Cadillac.” So two days later she came back with a brand new Cadillac convertible. She drove it in. (Laughs) Grandpa bought her a new convertible. (Laughs) She got that for graduation. A Cadillac. Right. High school graduation. Right. (Laughs) So this is a—and I knew Old Man Goldman, we went out to his ranch many, many times. And we talked with him out there, and—in fact, I used to butcher cattle for him out there—for the old man. This was under Cliff Delaney. That was his son-in-law at that time. So I mean it’s quite a good situation (Laughs) you might say. (Laughs) Well, Las Vegas still then indicated a very small town thing? Oh, it was. That’s right because everybody helps everybody out. It was one big family. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 11 That’s right. We were all—you knew something you could do and I didn’t know it, you would help me. If I had something and you didn’t know it, I would help you, in return. Okay. Well, then, going back then to this period of small town Las Vegas and postwar and early fifties, the—at this point in time did the tourist trade indicate that it would be as important now as—was it then as important as it is now? At that? Or was it a minor—a minor thing? Just something on the side? Well, it was—if you were in the tourist business, I imagine it was important. But we just were—he was a butcher, and it was not that important to us. This is—? That the tourists were coming in or—it didn’t really make any difference to us whether they came in or not but we could feel the effect of them coming in. It was beginning to show then? It was beginning to effect the prices Downtown and what was— The environment. Well, you know, the—whether you were able to, this business about not having to carry any money with you. The first thing you know whether they begin to tighten up, you know. Yes. You had to start carrying money with you. Yes. Because you know, there were too many, too many, transients. There were a lot of transients. People just going through, you know, looking it over and going on. Well, then, the tourist trade when it started to be a major force in the valley, did it—it then obviously, did influence a small town environment. Oh yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 12 Now are you saying that it tended to destroy all it was, what Las Vegas was in these times? Well, sure. You can’t—things change. You can’t have all that big money in here. But you—in there, somewhere you mentioned the fact that maybe the gambling element affected the local people. The (unintelligible) But you know, we didn’t—we really didn’t care. It didn’t make any difference. That did not influence. It didn’t influence us because we didn’t care who was running that place (unintelligible) (Laughs) Because at the time— (Laughs) Was preparing for it. I want to interject. Yes. Wanting to make know to those who’ll listen to this that we’re going to discuss what may be called the influence of organized crime, in the early area of Las Vegas tourist industry. When it was not under a strict gaming control board. It always was, though. It was pretty darn well—it wasn’t—it wasn’t just allowed to run loose. You couldn’t. You had—they had to—there had to be one person doing it, you know what I mean. It wasn’t just all of them just flocking in here. There was—when Bugsy Siegel came in and his money came in, that was—it wasn’t other people. It—he had to run that show. It wasn’t just a matter of all these fellas coming in and doing anything in here. Individuals were involved. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 13 It was all put into one person, under one person’s head. Person’s. Everybody didn’t just come in here as a group of thugs, you know, or anything like that. It was—and he had to have that money and had to have control of that money. Otherwise, they would never have given him a permit. It was pretty well— It was regulated insofar as it was limited to one person. Oh yes. But— Oh yes. Did not the—did they realize that—well, we mentioned Bugsy Siegel, Bugsy Siegel when he built the Flamingo and brought in the organized crime money and was licensed to operate it, did—wasn’t it realized that this—you’re bringing, this is organized crime. This is not Bugsy Siegel private entrepreneur, this is Bugsy Siegel, the man? I don’t believe so. Yes. But then, I don’t think so. I don’t believe so. I believe that they didn’t—well, of course, I’m not in the—really in the position to say, but it didn’t make any difference to us. You know, I— He was the head of the whole hotel. He was the soul responsible if things went wrong. He was held responsible. Yes. That’s the thing. If things went right, he was responsible for it. Well, things then did run smoothly, I mean. Very smoothly. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 14 Oh yes, yes. Even though, Bugsy Siegel was who he was. Had—you know, that’s right, had mobster money, or whatever you call it. And probably, at the time they weren’t checking like they are now, as to, exactly where every penny comes from. In fact, they’re even checking into honest money now. (Laughs) Well. You know, I mean, good, legitimate businessmen from California, you know, loan money in here and my goodness, if they had too many traffic tickets, it seems like they’re throwing them out, you know. So it’s—I think the pendulum has swung the other way now. Because they’re just trying so hard to keep the organized element out but they’re not doing it of course. Because that’s where the money comes from. Now Katleman, when he owned the El Rancho Hotel that was all his money. Katleman was the sole responsible person. Yes. Beldon Katleman. He paid the bills and that was it. And every debt that was put in, it was in Katleman’s name. Mm-hmm. And the same thing with Barry, the owner of the Frontier Hotel, at that time. These were all people that—individuals. There was no cooperation or no partnership or anything like that. They were just true people. Each individual had—put his own bills. Then there was, oh like the Hoot Gibson, now for instance. There was a man that was a movie star in the United States. It’s recorded, I mean he’s written down in history, you might say. Now Hoot opened up a place here. So I mean, Hoot Gibson, and Katleman, Bugsy Siegel, they were all just people. Because you could walk up to ‘em and talk to ‘em. Every one of them, they were just people. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 15 I never did talk to Bugsy Siegel. You didn’t? (Laughs) (Laughs) In fact, I’m not sure I would’ve, if Ida seen him. (Laughs) But these are things that you’re talking about. This was the way things were at that time. It was the year of it. Well. Uh-huh. That was when—that was when they did decide that they better do a little bit closer scrutiny of their money, you know. But I actually—the Flamingo was the only one—and that movie that they made was a pack of lies, you know that. Yes. The Godfather? I don’t—that was just, they just did that. No, no. No? The Bugsy Siegel Story. Oh, that one. Okay. Not— I mean as far as—as the way it could be viewed from someone who was living in Las Vegas, you know. I mean that—I’ll admit he had a girlfriend that was on dope and a few things like that, you know. But it’s all that other garbage about the hidden money in the floor. (Laughs) (Laughs) And all that stuff. That—and the day—now look, we went to the grand opening of the Flamingo Hotel. Right. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 16 We went to the grand opening. And they—in that movie they made it a big thing about all these thugs standing around watching the money and Dee’s and Doe’s— Dee’s and Doe’s. And dim and that was a pack of lies. There was no—they were, it was beautifully catered. The maître D was a gentleman and he didn’t—he spoke with excellent English. (Laughs) (Laughs) He didn’t have any broken thug type accent or anything else. I mean that—I don’t know where they—that, just to make a good story, they wrote all that garbage. And anybody that didn’t live here at the time thought—thinks maybe that’s what happened but that’s not the way it went at all. So it wasn’t even true. No. I mean, they were—it was beautiful and it was well done, just as well done as one of the grand openings now. Then there was that, the—where the, The Thunderbird is at now at the present time, was the Club Bingo, which Milton Prell came in here and built that, which was just this side of the El Rancho Hotel and F.W. Hall used to be next door to Milton Prell’s place. No. Wait a minute. It’s across the street from where the El Rancho was. Yes. Yes. That’s what I said. You said— Next door. Right next door. It was across the street. It was across the street. It’s where the Sahara was built. Right. Now? UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 17 Sahara at Thunderbird. But next door to it there used to be the F. W. Hall. Oh yes. It was just a big Ferris wheel (unintelligible) there. Just a big (unintelligible) then. That was another place we used to go and dance. But there was the—Milton Prell built the first Bingo, on the Strip. There was a Bingo Club, that was all there was, just Bingo. Yes. They didn’t have slot machines. Didn’t have slot machines. No gambling. That was all Bingo Club, that’s all it was and a dance floor, and I knew Milton Prell very well. Because he was a good friend of the fella I was working for at the time, which was Lou Early. Okay. We’ve talked quite a bit about, meanwhile, the influence of the tourist traded in general, including the influx of money, whether good or bad. Another question that should be asked is if there was any other type of industry, that might had provided an alternative to the tourist trade for support of the Vegas Valley economy, or was that really all there was to us right there? Is that all we can depend on, was the tourist trade? At that time. Well, Stafford Chemical was out there at that time. Well, you had Henderson plants at the time, which was—they had Three Kids Mine running at that time, and they had Stafford Chemical, which has changed now, I mean they have Jones Chemical and they have the U.S. Lime and they have Kerr-McGee and they have BMI and Stock—and Stafford’s out there also. But those things all came in later. This was—and (unintelligible) they came in later. But at that time—because in 1946, Bing (Unintelligible) and UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 18 myself, we bought the building that was really put in out there when they had the building of the—what was it? (Unintelligible)? I don’t know. No. That was Three Kids Mine were making that—anyway, we bought the photographic building out there, photography building, and we tore it down. Because we were building houses at that time and— There was a shortage of lumber. (Laughs) There was a shortage. Lumber companies were on strike, which was the only one in town at that time was Old Pekoe Lumber and Home Lumber. Well, what year was this, roughly? What? That was in 1946. Forty-six? (Unintelligible) Right. There was the biggest strike you ever heard of in this town. We had houses under construction and no lumber to build ‘em with. So we had to buy these buildings from out there at the Henderson plant, and put men out there and tear ‘em down and build ‘em, in order to finish the building. That brings to mind another question on unions and labor in the valley area. The small town environment obviously shows that there was no (unintelligible), there was no defined unionization in the area at this time. Oh yes there was. Oh yes there was. Was there? Oh my. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 19 Oh yes. Yes. But even though— Right. Could you still cross the line and do your own thing? Well, you could do your own— You could do your own—you could build your own home. But you still was under union jurisdiction, I mean, because we were here—we were hiring union men to work for us. Yes. But you were working with a builder. Oh yes. We were builders. But the union were real strong in here because of Boulder Dam. When Boulder Dam was built, that was all union labor. My uncle was the master electrician here in town and he—the electrical union was real strong. And when Herb first came, why, he went into the—after he quit that building with his friend of his—well, in fact, mainly, when he was in the service, why, they came here to—to build. That was why they settled here because it was a rowing town. And he discovered he didn’t like building that well, and that’s when he went right into the Butcher’s Union. Well, they had a real strong union here, then, butchers, and they still do. But you—you’re talking about the Right to Work Bill and all that stuff. Right. There wasn’t really a great deal of scabbing or anything like that. They— most people came in and joined the union and went to work. Because there was a lot of work, you know. There was no—there was no need for any organized, not, non-union, you know. Mm-hmm. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 20 Because the unions were good and they were doing their job and everybody just came in, joined the union, and went to work. There was lots of work. No need to stand around and wait for a job. So. Was the Culinary Worker’s Union as strong then as it is now? No. Oh my, no. That’s one of the ones that was not—not nearly, in fact, that—that’s only been in the last few years that they’ve really got a good—good foothold. In fact, there’s lots of places now, though, that—that are non-union, you know. Little independent stores that—and restaurants out on—in fact, on Decatur, there’s a couple that I know of that are not—that are still not union. Well, the biggest change. And nobody gives them any trouble. The biggest change in union— Or hasn’t up until this time. (Laughs) (Unintelligible) The biggest change in union was in 1951—when they started to build the Desert Rock. They called it originally, it was Desert Rock. That’s when things changed completely. What year was that? Nineteen fifty one, it was. One. Mm-hmm. Nineteen fifty-one. Okay. The kind of change that occurred, would you care to elaborate on that, if you would please? UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 21 Well, at that timing everything was solid union then. Because at that time I was working—I went to work for McNeil Construction. And I was the blueprint man and I had a man that walked with me, behind me, that carried a gun, for the blueprints for the buildings, the original buildings of the CP at the Desert Rock. (Unintelligible) explain what the Desert Rock was? Well, that’s just— Well, that’s where Mercury was. That’s where Mercury is now. That’s where Mercury is now. But there was originally called Desert Rock. Okay. And that’s when the Army started going into Indian Springs. And that’s when the 82nd Airborne moved in here and the Army moved in here, which we owned a club on the—(Laughs) (Laughs) Tonopah Highway at that time, where they came—the Army came and they used our property, they put all their howitzers on, and their halftracks, and all their Army equipment was put on our property. Was that called ninety-five? No. Or (Unintelligible)? No. no. Oh no? Neither. It was the, we-squeeze-them-in. (Laughs) UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 22 We-squeeze-them-in. (Laughs) We-squeeze-them-in? (Laughs) That was the original one on the Tonopah Highway. Yes. Right. That was the first one of the club that was built out there. It was—in fact, it wasn’t even a club at the time. It was only a small restaurant. We used to—well, for one thing, we used to give free coffee to all the servicemen. (Laughs) That was—I think that was one reason they stopped there. Because. We had a— It was the last stop on the way out. We had it coming and going. The buses were coming to Las Vegas from Desert Rock to Las Vegas with sixty men on the bus and when the bus driver would come in there I’d give him free coffee, a free beer, and cigarettes, every stop. And he dropped every load, coming and going. Right there? Right there. Okay, well that brings up another thing that we should bring up, I think. We’ve indicated that the tourist trade caused a change and this begins the change of the involvement of the Federal government and the testing area— Oh. Oh yes. Definitely. Caused another change. Big change. Biggest change of all. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 23 That was in ’51. The big—when the big growth, and of course what they started to do then, was to build houses for the people who were coming here to work up there, too. Well, this was important, then? So, it wasn’t actually the tourist trade that caused this spurt and growth— No. No. I don’t know if it ever was. Because the involvement of the Federal government in the area. That’s right. Right. I believe it. It was that Desert Rock was the whole beginning. When that broke open, that’s when the whole thing became open here. Because they had something like eighty thousand troops up there, wasn’t it? Yes. Well, I be the records will show, too, that there weren’t that many people who were even touring Boulder Dam, at that time. (Unintelligible) You know, during this per fifties season. They did come through there and tour it but, if you, if you’ll—I bet if you could check the record, and then it started to make a big surge, then, when this— After (unintelligible) Desert Rock started opening. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 24 They changed it from Desert Rock to Mercury. And is the thing is that now, you know, the little funny things we’re bringing up, is that, General Dean, was it? I think it was General Dean at the time was a general up there at Desert Rock, and we always gave free coffee to any man in the uniform. All you had to do was walk in, and you had free coffee and cigarettes. So General Dean came in with two of his aides one day, and I didn’t know him from Adam. And one of the girls that was working for us as a waitress, why she said, “This man over here, he said, he wants to pay his bill.” ‘Cause he had coffee and the cigarettes. You know, I said, “No.” He said he would like to talk to me. So I went over and talked to him. He said, “I’m General so and so.” And he said, “I want to pay for my coffee and for my aides and myself and cigarettes.” And I said, “I don’t care who you are.” I said, “The rule in this place is any man in the uniform gets free coffee and cigarettes.” And from then on, they kept sending the coffee from Desert Rock. (Laughs) Every day, we got coffee from then on. You’re gonna end up— (Unintelligible) (Laughs) With this tape recorder, you’re gonna end up in jail. That was government issued. (Laughs) You were taking. (Laughs) But—I didn’t take it. They was giving it. (Laughs) (Laughs) (Laughs) (Laughs) They were supplying their own men with it. (Laughs) Yes. And all we had to do was make it. UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 25 Just make it and give it to ‘em. Yes. We used to make gallons of coffee. But that was— Another thing at that time—we, there was still a lot of open land out there, by, near Tonopah Highway. And we had a lot of horseback riders, would come out and they used to square dance out there in that same lot, where the Army tanks park now and then. Why, we had square dancing on horseback. Square dance. They used to square dance on horseback, at that time. That was in the fifties. In the fifties? Okay, that brings to mind another question. The question is going revolve around recreational activities—both for the people who are residents of the Valley area and both for the Feds, when they moved in, and for the tourists outside of the Strip. What kind of recreational activities were there, I mean, yes, there was Lake Mead, because the Boulder Dam was built was built quite some time ago, and that kind of thing, but was it less an organized get dressed up and go out to dinner and fancy yourself thing? Or was it homely? Most homely. Still homely. In fact, the major recreation was Lorenzi Park, which is, was at that time, we called it Twin Lakes ‘cause there were two— Pools. Two pools there. Lakes, (unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Herbert and Erma Holtam 26 And both of them were fed by artesian water. They weren’t—one of t