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Transcript of interview with Judy Smith by Suzanne Becker, November 22, 2008


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Judy Smith was a teenager when her family relocated from Barstow, CA to Las Vegas in 1958. It was a wide open setting, an ideal location for riding her horse. It was also an era of growth as the city became a gambling destination and the Strip became dotted with early casinos and hotels. Judy attended Las Vegas High School, worked for the Las Vegas Sun and earned a scholarship to UNR. By 1967, she was married and moving back to Vegas with her young family. They chose the John S. Park Neighborhood as the place to call home. For Judy living in John S. Park is about a "sense of place" and "a sense of timelessness." She describer the evolution of the neighborhood and the greater Las Vegas community from the pioneers to the contemporary leaders. In 2006, Judy's home was gutted by a fire. Her life was saved by an observant neighbor. She could have relocated at the time, but chose not to move from the area that she has called home for over 40 years.

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Smith, Judy Interview, 2008 November 22. OH-01719. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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An Interview with Judy Smith An Oral History Conducted by Suzanne Becker Voices of the Historic John S. Park Neighborhood Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas © Voices of the Historic John S. Park Neighborhood University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries 2010 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries, Director: Claytee D. White Project Creators: Patrick Jackson and Dr. Deborah Boehm Transcriber and Editor: Laurie Boetcher Editor and Production Manager: Barbara Tabach Interviewers: Suzanne Becker, Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White • • 11 Recorded interviews, transcripts, bound copies and a website comprising the Voices of the Historic John S. Park Neighborhood Oral History Project have been made possible through a grant from the City of Las Vegas Centennial Committee. Special Collections in Lied Library, home of the Oral History Research Center, provided a wide variety of administrative services, support and archival expertise. We are so grateful. This project was the brainchild of Deborah Boehm, Ph.D. and Patrick Jackson who taught at UNLV and resided in the John S. Park Neighborhood. As they walked their community, they realized it was a special place that intersected themes of gender, class, race/ethnicity, religion, sexuality and gentrification. Patrick and Deborah learned that John S. Park had been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and that original homeowners, local politicians, members of the gay community, Latino immigrants, artists and gallery owners and an enclave of UNLV staff all lived in the neighborhood. Therefore, they decided that the history of this special place had to be preserved, joined with the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries and wrote a grant that was funded by the Centennial Committee. The transcripts received minimal editing that included the elimination of fragments, false starts and repetitions in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the narrative. These interviews have been catalogued and can be found as non-circulating documents in Special Collections at UNLV's Lied Library. Deborah A. Boehm, Ph.D. Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholar 2009-2010 Assistant Professor, Anthropology & Women's Studies % Patrick Jackson, Professor John S. Park Oral History Project Manager Claytee D. White, Director Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries • • • 111 Interview with Judy Smith November 22, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Suzanne Becker Table of Contents Introduction: born and raised in Barstow, CA; moved to Las Vegas, NV in January 1958. Parents met in Las Vegas and married in 1931. Family background and history. 1 Father transferred to Barstow, CA in early 1940s: owned an Oldsmobile agency and gas station, became mayor of Barstow, had financial difficulties, worked for Southwest Gas, transferred to Las Vegas (January 1958) 2 Memories of first home on Bracken Avenue, and personalities who lived in the neighborhood 0J Description of Las Vegas in 1958. Riding horses and exploring in Las Vegas in the 1950s. Beginnings of UNLV. Schools and convention center. Learning to drive on the Strip. Memories of hotels on the Strip in the 1950s. 4 Las Vegas Rhythmettes 7 Work for the CCSD (summer 1960) and meeting Harvey and Thalia Dondero 8 High school activities: hanging out at Sills Drive-In and the Blue Onion Drive-In; swimming at the Rocking Horse Ranch, cruising Fremont Street 9 Played clarinet in the Las Vegas High School band, band trip to Disneyland, worked on Desert Breeze (school newspaper). Work as assistant society editor for Las Vegas Sun 10 Wins Las Vegas journalism schSoulanr ship, attends UNR, marries (June 1964) and returns to Las Vegas, graduates from Nevada Southern University (later UNLV) 11 Son born July 1966 at old Sunrise Hospital, attended Las Vegas schools, husband Steve Smith opened Smith Printers 12 Returns to teaching, moves into John S. Park Neighborhood (1967), eventually buys home, leaves teaching to help with Smith Printers, returns to teaching after divorce (1968-69), leaves to work full-time for Smith Printers, becomes involved with horses again 13 More high school memories: swimming and horseback riding at Lorenzi Park 14 Changes in the John S. Park Neighborhood since 1967: streetlights; cycles of home ownership, rentals, and renovations (history of the Gibson house); demographic changes (arts, professionals, blue-collar workers); neighborhood watch; transients 15 Various occupations of people who lived in John S. Park Neighborhood: railroad engineers, professionals, Nevada Test Site workers, Strip employees, businessmen 19 Businesses in the downtown area: Vegas Village, Thrifty Mart, Skaggs Drugstore, White Cross Drugs, El Portal movie theater, department stores, banks 19 Significant events in the history of the John S. Park Neighborhood: ageing of the neighborhood and rediscovery of the downtown area by artists and professionals 20 Impact of Arts District on John S. Park Neighborhood 21 iv Changing ethnic makeup in the John S. Park Neighborhood: Hispanics, young professionals 22 Turning John S. Park Neighborhood into a historic district 23 Greatest impact of the John S. Park Neighborhood: the lasting impression that people have when they walk down a neighborhood street 25 Political makeup and participation of the John S. Park Neighborhood: blend of Democrats and Republicans, Mormons who tend to be Republicans, neighborhood has become more Republican over the years 26 Important people in the history of the John S. Park Neighborhood 28 Relationship with neighbors in John S. Park 29 Favorite thing about living in the John S. Park Neighborhood: "a sense of place," "a sense of timelessness" 31 Holocaust survivors living in Las Vegas; the importance of doing an oral history of "the two Las Vegases" 32 Defining moments in Las Vegas history: advent of Howard Hughes, original pioneers such as Benny Binion, the Mafia 34 Continuing "small-town feel" of Las Vegas. Enduring popularity of Luv-It Frozen Custard, White Cross Drugs, Huntridge Drugs. 34 Historical importance of Huntridge Theater, Red Rock 11 Theaters, Green Shack, Hoover Dam 36 Similarity of old Las Vegas to Boulder City 37 Final comments 38 Preface Judy Smith was a teenager when her family relocated from Barstow, CA to Las Vegas in 1958. It was a wide open setting, an ideal location for riding her horse. It was also an era of growth as the city became a gambling destination and the Strip became dotted with early casinos and hotels. Judy attended Las Vegas High School, worked for the Las Vegas Sun and earned a scholarship to UNR. By 1967, she was married and moving back to Vegas with her young family. They chose the John S. Park Neighborhood as the place to call home. For Judy living in John S. Park is about a "sense of place" and "a sense of timelessness." She describes the evolution of the neighborhood and the greater Las Vegas community from the pioneers to the contemporary leaders. In 2006, Judy's home was gutted by a fire. Her life was saved by an observant neighbor. She could have relocated at the time, but chose not to move from the area that she has called home for over 40 years. vi Interview with Judy Smith November 22, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Suzanne Becker Judy, thank you so much for taking the time this afternoon to talk with us. If you could just begin by telling us a little bit [about] where you were born, when you were born, what it was like growing up there, and a bit about your family. Well, I was born in Barstow, California, and that's where I was raised. We moved here when I was a teenager, back in January of 1958. But my dad came out to southern Nevada and Las Vegas in the late 1920s, before gaming was legalized. Where did he come from? He came from Pennsylvania—that's where he was born—by way of Commerce, Oklahoma (which is the burial place of Mickey Mantle). So he came out and was hired by Atlantic Richfield Company. And he met my mom out here, and they began dating, and when he was refereeing the high school basketball tournaments, she would be very embarrassed because he had one of these big, rough voices and she would like to hide under the seat when he was yelling his calls. They were married here in 1931, in Las Vegas. What are your parents' names? Leonard and Ada Zagortz. His dad, my grandfather, was a stowaway in a freighter from Yugoslavia, which is how they came over to this country. And on my mother's side, there's a lot of Bohemian ancestry on her side, but her roots are in Kansas, where she was born and raised. But they met and married here in Las Vegas and my brother was born here in Las Vegas in 1932 at the old Las Vegas Hospital, and he was delivered by Dr. 2 Woodbury, who was one of the pioneers here and on the Board of Education. So that's where my brother was bom. And they stayed here for some years, but in the very early 1940s my dad was transferred by Atlantic Richfield from Las Vegas down to Barstow, and that's how he ended up there. And he had his own Oldsmobile agency and gas station. Where did they live when they were here, do you know? I am not sure where they lived. I do know that they were married in that old Methodist church down by Third Street, down by the courthouse, which is still functioning today. So I know that. I know that when they moved to Barstow, they lived on Main Street before they built their own house for $8,000, which was a lot back then. And they had it done the old-fashioned way, and the guy who built it would walk across the hardwood floors to see if everything was settled and even, and that's the way they did it back then. But anyway, my dad and his Oldsmobile agency, it flourished for quite a while. And one of the things he had was this old 1901 Oldsmobile, which was the horseless carriage, and it had one little handle for the steering. And so every year when they had the rodeo parade in Barstow, he would get that thing out and ride in it. He was kind of like the Andy Griffith of Mayberry, except at Barstow, and he helped to get the town incorporated in 1948, and he was elected mayor and was mayor for many years, and the fire commissioner. He wore all the different hats. But he eventually ran into financial difficulties and so he went to work for Southwest Gas. So in January of 1958, they wanted to transfer him back up here, where he became the right-of-way agent for Southwest Gas. And so he traveled all over the Southwest, opening up areas where they could extend their pipelines and business and all. I remember when we came up here, the house that they were looking at, which is the one that they bought, was just two blocks over on Bracken [Avenue]. And one of the first things I remember is, when we walked in, and walked into the master bedroom, there was a panel [with] little red lights all over it, and it turned out that the previous owner was a gaming executive, and of course they lived in somewhat dangerous times, shall we say, and he wanted those buttons, if he heard a noise in the house he could hit a button and the lights would go on immediately. And I thought, that was strange, coming from Barstow. But our next-door neighbor was Major Riddle, who was the vice-president of the Dunes [Hotel and Casino], and his wife Norma, who was a showgirl. He was never home but she was there a lot. Did you know them well? My mom knew them pretty well. Norma was a very down-to-earth gal who had some medical problems. But yeah, they were good people. And right across the street from them were Ted and Monte Brent. They were the original owners of the White Cross Drug down here on Las Vegas Boulevard. So when they would go to Europe in the summer I would go over and clean their swimming pool. Their daughter and I went to high school together, so that was fun. So you came here when you were in high school. Had you been to Las Vegas prior to that? Had your family come back and forth? Yes. When I was very young, and this is back in the forties, my dad, having lived here before, still had friends and connections, so I remember we would travel up to Las Vegas, and there was one couple that we visited, that lived on the outskirts of town, which is 4 right to here on Maryland Parkway. They were way, way out. And my brother, who is ten years older than I am, was in the band, and the football team from Barstow would come up and play the football team in Boulder City [Nevada], and so we would come up and go to those football games. Las Vegas was just a very small town and not much going on. Can you describe a little bit what it was like at the time that you arrived back here and you were in high school? When I came out, Barstow was a very small town, maybe of about twelve, fifteen thousand. And, to me, coming up to Las Vegas in '58, was like coming up to this huge cosmopolitan area. There were 60,000 people in the entire valley back then, which to me was huge. And Sahara Avenue was not called Sahara Avenue; it was called San Francisco [Street]. And then Tropicana [Avenue] was not called Tropicana; it was called Bond Road [Avenue]. I had horses while I was growing up, and so we brought my half-Arabian up here, and we boarded him out basically at the intersection of what is now Tropicana and Eastern [Avenue]. There was nothing out there. It was all desert. The ranch that we kept my horse on, his name was Chick Sayles and he was a deputy in Las Vegas. And so I spent many of my weekends back in the late fifties, early sixties, riding in all of that Paradise Valley area, long before Wayne Newton ever got there. And one of the things that was in existence back then was the Joe W. Brown Racetrack. And it was a regular, bona fide racetrack, right next to where the convention center is now, right on the site where the Las Vegas Hilton [Hotel and Casino] is. Where Joe W. Brown Drive is. Exactly. So I would ride my horse from Eastern [Avenue] and Tropicana [Avenue] area, over to the racetrack, and I would race him around, and they had all the stables and everything, and they would have like gymkhanas there and I would compete, and that kind of a thing. And then I would go out in the other direction, what is now Sunset Park, and at that time it was an old thoroughbred ranch. And I would ride out there and take some laps around their training track and all. And further out, with some kids I was riding with, we would explore the artesian wells that they used to have, which would be on the site where Wayne Newton's place is now [approximate vicinity: corner of Pecos Road and Sunset Road]. I mean there was nothing out there at that time. And then driving out, going out on Maryland Parkway, the Flamingo Wash, we had to go down into it. There was not [a way] where you could go across the top. And so whenever there was a big rain and there was flooding, you just couldn't get through. But from Flamingo Road on out, it was all basically dirt roads. And UNLV was just getting started and they didn't even have the first building up yet. The classes were conducted over at Las Vegas High School. So the first building that went up was the Maude Frazier Hall which I understand they're going to tear down right now. So I spent a lot of weekends horseback-riding out there. [Bishop] Gorman High School was where Margaret's [McGhie] kids went to school. That was a small private school that no one really paid any attention to and it was way out in the boonies over here on Maryland Parkway. So I remember when we first moved up, what was under construction was the Rotunda, which was the original convention center. I don't know if you remember that. It 6 was a circular building, and from a distance, it looks like a flying saucer. So shortly after I moved here, one of my friends from Barstow wanted to come up and visit me. So we went down and brought her up. And when we came up over the rise where you could oversee the valley, we pointed to that great big saucer disc and I said, That is a flying saucer. [Laughter] And she believed us. But that is where I learned how to drive. My dad took me up to that parking lot. He sold Oldsmobiles, so we still had our '56 Oldsmobile, and he told me that you had to be a defensive driver and not an offensive driver, and he taught me how to shift gears and everything, and without any warning he told me to go out on the Strip. And that was my baptism of fire in driving in Las Vegas. And I had taxicab drivers going up and over my bumpers and all that. But back then, I know in the summers, I was a little bit too young to go out on the Strip, but we did go out to the Desert Inn [Hotel and Casino] and they had what they called dancing waters. And the poolside, just as the sun was going down, they would turn the lights on in the pool, and they would play music, and the waters would [dance]. It's like the precursor to the Bellagio [Hotel and Casino]. Exactly. And they had these different songs and the waters and everything. But that's what we would do in the summers. And the old Hacienda Hotel [and Casino]. What was the Strip like when you had just come back here? Well, it wasn't really very big. The El Rancho was still up, before it burned down. And we had the Desert Inn, we had the Flamingo [Hotel and Casino], and the Tropicana [Hotel and Casino]. Dunes Hotel, and the Hacienda. It [the Strip] had a quaint feeling. The Dunes Hotel in the summers would have barbeques by the poolside, and that's where 7 a lot of people would go out. The Rat Pack came in but mostly I remember the lounge acts: Louis Prima and Keely Smith and all that. A lot of my classmates at Las Vegas High were children of workers on the Strip. And did they live down in this area also? Yeah. That's about the only place you could [live] because it [Las Vegas] wasn't really that big yet. But Louis Basil was the conductor of the Sahara Hotel [and Casino] orchestra, and I went to high school with his daughter, [entertainer] Toni Basil. I don't know if you've heard of her, but she was in [the film] , with Peter Fonda, and she's mostly known for her dancing, and she's been Bette Midler's choreographer for the past thirty years. She had a song in the eighties, I think. Yeah. Mickey. I remember when she was announced as the cheerleader, it was an election, and she came running out on the gym floor. And back then we had the Las Vegas [High School] Rhythmettes at Las Vegas High School, and I don't know if you've heard of them, but it was a girls' dance team based on the Rockettes, and they were quite famous in their heyday, and it was run by one of our PE [physical education] teachers, Evelyn Stuckey. And they became so famous that they appeared live on the Ed Sullivan Show, they traveled to Europe to perform. Very precision [dancers]. Just a wonderful thing. And Evelyn Stuckey and Joyce Shanley, the other PE teacher, just lived over here on Eighth Street. And right around the corner from where I am right now was—now I can't think of his name, but he was one of the first principals of Las Vegas High School. Not Dondero? No. I went to school with the Donderos. In 1960, in the summer, the original Clark County School District [CCSD] was based down here where the site of the old Fifth Street School is. OK? You wouldn't know it now. But they have renovated a little section of that. OK, well, right next to it was the old gymnasium and all, and that was their headquarters, and I actually helped. I went to work in the Graphic Arts Department. And they built their new building out on Flamingo [Road], and I helped them move. I helped them move into the building, and that was what? Forty, fifty years ago, whatever. Harvey Dondero was one of the guys that I worked with out there. He was one of the assistant superintendents. In fact, a lot of these people I actually got to rub shoulders with. And his wife Thalia [Dondero] would show up. Over at UNLV, when I got out of high school, some of the original professors I had have buildings named after them now. The Hendrix Building, he [Holbert H. Hendrix] was one of my professors, and that kind of a thing. It sounds like a really fascinating and interesting place to do your high school years. A lot going on. Once we got up here, people that would come to visit actually believed that we had slot machines in the high school corridors. [Laughter] And there are those people who think that nobody lives here in Las Vegas, that they just commute to and from Los Angeles. What kinds of things did you do? In high school, right down here on the comer of Las Vegas Boulevard and Charleston [Boulevard] was the old Sills Drive-In. [It was] circular. And we would hang out there. Right catty-comer from Las Vegas High School on Seventh Street was an old burger stand that we would go to. And you've probably heard of the Blue Onion [Drive-In], 9 Well, that was our hangout, down there. And we would go out, past the railroad tracks and Paradise Valley to the Rocking Horse Ranch, and that was quite the thing to go to back then because it was so far out of town but we would go out there and we would swim and have fun out there. And then on the north side of Las Vegas, going towards Cedar City [Utah], was like a hot springs, and they built it into like a swimming pool and it was surrounded by palm trees and that kind of a thing, and we would go out there and swim. It was just off the Paiute Indian Reservation, I think it was. I can't remember the name of that either, but that's where we would go on weekends. But a typical weekend, we would hang out, especially on Fridays after a football game, at the Blue Onion. But cruising Fremont [Street] was the big thing. And it was only like two or three lanes wide at the time. And I remember one of my girlfriends, K.K. Babbs, had literally an old Model T, with the jump seat in the back, and after a game we would go down and we'd get in the jump seat and, if we'd played Rancho [High School] we would jump out of the cars and all that kind of a thing. But, where the Union Plaza Hotel [and Casino] is, that was the original train station. And it was like a little park area, it was like a circle park, so you would drive down Fremont [Street], and then you'd go around the circle in that park where the train station was and you'd come back out and you'd go back down the opposite direction, and then make our run down to the Blue Onion. But that was our route, typically. So, we had a lot of fun doing that. Tough to do that now, I think, now that they've put the roof over it and closed it off [to create the Fremont Street Experience]. Don't know what they would do for fun. 10 But I was in the Las Vegas High School Band. I played clarinet. And, like I say, at that time there was only a couple of high schools, so when there were music festivals we would go out of town. I remember going down to Lancaster [California]. I remember, we went down to Disneyland, three years after Disneyland first opened in 1955. We went down in '58. That was a big deal for us. We marched down Main Street and all that. But we had a great band and we always made superior ratings in everything. When I moved here, that was where I made my friends. To me, Las Vegas High School was huge. So I did that. And I worked on the Desert Breeze [high school newspaper] and so on and so forth. And so you obviously stayed in this area. Yeah. When I was in high school, I was really interested in writing. And Bemadine Young was our adviser and she was the person who helped us with the Desert Breeze, which was the high school paper, and it had won many awards over the years. So, at the end of my junior year of high school, she helped me get a job at the Las Vegas Sun. And so I went down and interviewed with Geri Appleby, who was the society editor, and I showed her some of my work and she hired me as her assistant society editor. So I got to go to weddings, go to fashion shows, and those kinds [of things], which to a sixteen-year-old was a big deal. But I'll never forget, my very first day on the job, I forgot what event was happening but it was a big story and they were putting out an extra edition, which they don't do anymore these days. And Vince Anselmo was in charge of the entire [thing], editors of the society thing was just off in one little comer, and I mean it was absolute chaos, and I didn't know what to do. They were still doing the old-fashioned 11 typing and everything. But I just remember loving the whole thing. It was just like one great big room and all this stuff was going on. So I had a lot of fun doing that. I remember at the end of my senior year, I put in for the journalism scholarship. I didn't think I had a chance. It was a county-wide competition. So, graduation night they announced my name as the winner. And I was stunned and I was thrilled because it was a full four-year scholarship. So, the next day, on the front page of the Las Vegas Sun, there was an overview picture of the entire graduating class, but next to that was a picture of me, announcing me as the journalism scholarship winner. So my dad, who was from the old school, had told me, You sit down and you write a thank-you letter, and I said, Why? You know, there's not really much point to it. They give scholarships all the time. And he said, You write the letter. So a few days after I mailed it, I opened up the Sun and there was my paper published in Hank Greenspun's "Where I Stand" column, and his comment was that in all the years that they'd been giving the scholarship, this was the first time anyone ever thanked them. So I went from there on up to the University of Nevada, Reno [UNR] and pursued that. How long did you stay in Reno? I was there basically three years. The end of my sophomore year, I realized that I wasn't really cut out for doing the hard news beats and so I switched into teaching. My dad's sister was an educator, and my brother's wife was an educator, so it kind of runs in the family anyway, so that's what I switched to. I got married at the end of my junior year and came back down to Las Vegas, and I graduated from UNLV, which at that time was called Nevada Southern University, and that's what my diploma says. So you came back down to Vegas, and you were married at that time? 13 So what is it that drew you back into this neighborhood? Well, when my son was born, this was two years after we were married, the house really was too small. It was only one bedroom and all. And I went back into teaching, but we needed a good babysitter. And so, we were looking at houses in this area because my parents were just two blocks over and they were going to watch my son. This house, we found out from a next-door neighbor of my mom's, was up for rent. And it was owned by Stuart Leslie, who had four children that lived here before they moved out. And they rented it to us, and we signed a lease. And about three or four years later, some things started going wrong and Stuart Leslie decided that he wanted to sell it. We didn't have the money for the down payment, so he helped us with the down payment, and we bought the house for $ 16,000 back then. So I got out of teaching and mainly helped with my husband's business. I worked out of the home here, and my son was in school and my parents are nearby. Then I went back into teaching after we were divorced. And where did you teach? Well, my first job was at Will Beckley Elementary School, which was out in Paradise Valley, and it was a brand-new school. And I taught there in 1968 and 1969, a couple of years there. Then I dropped out to work full-time for Smith Printers. But also, during that time, I got involved with horses, again, and got an Arabian, and I kept him out at Don Schroeder's, who had an Arabian ranch. And they had it out, right off of Cheyenne [Avenue] and Rainbow [Boulevard], in that area right now. Well, back then that was nothing but desert. So, I remember driving out there, one time it snowed in Las Vegas. And I was out on Rancho Road [Drive], getting ready to make a 1 14 left-hand turn onto Cheyenne. There were no stoplights back then. Couldn't find the road because it was a dirt road. And I had to use the telephone pole lines to go all the way down. There was nothing out there. And I don't know if you've heard the name [Donald] "Doc" Romeo. Well, he had thirteen [eleven] children [see Las Vegas Sun obituary, February 16, 2009], and they basically all went to Bishop Gorman High School. The night that we had that meeting, he was out there (because I was on the board of directors) and that was the night his daughter [Terry Romeo] was murdered [1973], We didn't know it at the time, of course. It was the next day that she was found in the desert. But I'll never forget that. That was really quite a story back then. So, I used to ride my horses all out in that area, which was all open desert. But I know when we first moved up here back in '58, what is now that big park off of Washington [Avenue] and Rancho [Drive], it starts with an L, I think [Lorenzi Park], Anyway, it's the site of the old Twin Lakes Stables, if you've ever heard of that. It was like a park, but it had the swimming pools, and it had stables, and I remember we rented horses and went riding in that area. The park now is under renovation. It's right down the street from where the Meadows Mall is. It's a great big park. You were asking what I did in high school and that's another thing that we used to do was go out to Twin Lakes and go horseback riding or swimming. Back I know in the 1920s, it was a popular site for dances, and they had live bands. Interesting. Sure, that makes sense, prior to the whole development of the Strip. Yeah, exactly. You came into this house when, 1966, roughly? 15 Well, my family moved back to Las Vegas in 1958, and I lived over there at Bracken [Avenue]. And when we moved into this house, it was in 1967, which was what, forty-one years ago. And what was this area like when you moved into that house? What are some of the changes that you've seen? One of the changes that you probably wouldn't notice is it has streetlights now. And when we moved in back in 1967, the street was very dark at nighttime and you had no streetlights. In fact Margaret [McGhie] was telling me the story that, on this street, it wasn't built as a housing tract. It was built, individual houses, by George Franklin, Sr. And you've heard of George Franklin, Jr. who was the district attorney of Las Vegas for years, but it was his dad. And I know when Las Vegas celebrated their centennial [in 2005], they did a walking tour of Las Vegas [and] they started on this street, and pointed out the different types of architecture, et cetera, and everything. Anyway, when the houses were being built, apparently the homeowners were given options of whether they wanted to put a streetlight in or not, and they had to pay for it apparently out of their own pocket, and they opted not to. And they also opted not to put in sidewalks. The houses basically look unchanged. It's pretty much kept its flavor there. But it's had life cycles. I know, when we first moved in in 1967, across the street from me was one of the old pioneers, Jessie Gibson and her husband [Fred Gibson Sr.]. And he passed away shortly after we moved in, but she was in her nineties when we moved in, and I remember going across the street and literally sitting down on the floor next to the sofa and listening to her tell her stories about their children and how they built all those 16 extra bedrooms. And their son, Fred Gibson, Jr. is one of the politicians or something, I believe, out in Henderson. Anyway, they eventually both passed away, and their children put the house up for sale, and they sold it overnight to someone who turned it into a rental. And they let it go. And [we] had a very unpleasant few years with drug addicts and motorcycle gangs and things. They really let it go. And then it was purchased by a minister, and then a couple who worked for the City, and they renovated it and got it to where it was really beautiful again, and now the new owners keep it beautiful. But those are the cycles that I remember: houses that were rentals, and now are back, going full blast. The people that