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Transcript of interview with Isabella Jessie Curtis by Andrew B. Levy, February 15, 1979






On February 15, 1979, Andrew Levy interviewed Isabella Jessie Curtis (born 1922 in Monroe, Wisconsin) about her experiences in Southern Nevada. Curtis first talks about her career in waitressing at several restaurants and casinos in Las Vegas before describing some of the early businesses in the Downtown Las Vegas area. The interview then moves to discussions on Curtis’s involvement in politics, her early recreational activities, and the atomic testing. The two later discuss the first telephones in Las Vegas, the Helldorado celebration, and her work at the Tropicana Las Vegas. The interview concludes with Curtis’s description on living in Sandy Valley, Nevada, and some of her first memories of the Union Pacific train depot in Las Vegas.

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Curtis, Isabella Jessie Interview, 1979 February 15. OH-00466. [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 Isabella Curtis i An Interview with Isabella Jessie Curtis An Oral History Conducted by Andrew B. Levy 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 Isabella Curtis ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2018 UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 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 Isabella Curtis iv Abstract On February 15, 1979, Andrew Levy interviewed Isabella Jessie Curtis (born 1922 in Monroe, Wisconsin) about her experiences in Southern Nevada. Curtis first talks about her career in waitressing at several restaurants and casinos in Las Vegas before describing some of the early businesses in the Downtown Las Vegas area. The interview then moves to discussions on Curtis’s involvement in politics, her early recreational activities, and the atomic testing. The two later discuss the first telephones in Las Vegas, the Helldorado celebration, and her work at the Tropicana Las Vegas. The interview concludes with Curtis’s description on living in Sandy Valley, Nevada, and some of her first memories of the Union Pacific train depot in Las Vegas. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 1 The informant is Isabella Jessie Curtis. The date is February 15th, 1979. It’s 6:30 p.m. The place is 319 North Sixth Street in Las Vegas, Nevada. The collector is Andrew B. Levy of the same address. And this is a project for a local history project, an oral interview with a Las Vegas not-so-old timer. Granny, please tell me about when you first came to Southern Nevada? Did you come to Las Vegas, first off? Yes. I came in 1947 to Las Vegas, Nevada. Why did you come to Las Vegas? I come to live, and my husband was working here at the time. I see. What kind of work did he do? He was a cook in a restaurant at the White Spot. The White Spot? White Spot. Is that restaurant still here? No, it’s gone, a long time ago. What part of town was it in, where was it? It was right Downtown where the Bingo Club is Downtown, where they play bingo. I see. What kind of a restaurant was it? It was just a family restaurant, and owned by a Greek man. Do you remember his name? John somebody—no, don’t remember the name. So, your husband, did he already have the job when he came here? No, he came down for the job; I mean, he got the job after he was here. I see. And did you work also when you got here? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 2 Yes, I worked at Cory’s Fine Foods, and I worked at the Roundup, and I worked at the Westerner Club, and I worked at the El Cortez, Showboat, and Tropicana. That’s a lot of places. Oh, not for a waitress in this town. I worked for sixteen years at the Tropicana, five years at the Showboat, two years at the El Cortez. Well, let’s start at the first place you worked; you seem to have had a lot of experience with the restaurants in Las Vegas. The first place you worked was? Cory’s Fine Foods. Cory’s Fine Foods, and that was when you first got here, right? Yes. About thirty years ago? Yes. And is there anything you’d like to say about the place? Can you tell me where it was? It was on Fourth and Fremont—it’s not existing anymore—and John and Hellen Cory had it. Fourth and Fremont? Mm-hmm. Let’s see, what’s on Fourth and Fremont—that’s right in the middle of Downtown. Oh, yes. And when I came here, the population was 47,000. Do you happen to know what’s on Fourth and Fremont right now? A drugstore. A drugstore. It was a local restaurant with a hardware store next door that Jimmy Fords owned, and he was a commissioner later on in Las Vegas. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 3 I see. Did you know him at all, or did you just know that he—? No, I knew him. It was a local restaurant where everybody came and ate. Oh, really? Mm-hmm. Did any—tell me about some of the people who came in? Oh, Trailer Bill, he owned Trailer Bill’s across the street. He ate their every day. And all your—Brad Shaw and Joe Bush and— Who were some of these people? Joe Bush and Brad Shaw are presidents of First National Bank. Oh, I see. Now. What were they then? They were just coming up in the rank; they weren’t presidents then. I see. So, you waited on their tables? Oh, sure. Is there anything that stands out about any of these people that you think might be interesting? No. That they were—we were just a small town then and everybody knew everybody then, and we had a man that had a used car lot called Ed Pessinger’s Used Car Lot up the street between Fifth and Sixth, and it was all local people that came in there. They came in there from the courthouse because it was so close, and it was a good place to eat. And all the other people would come around at supper time. I worked a split shift so I could take care of my children during the day, and my mother. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 4 Is there anything that stands out about the other places you worked, any interesting things that happened with interesting people that came in or—? Well, I worked at the El Cortez in 1950. Was it relatively new then? Oh, no. The El Cortez was owned by J.K. Houssels, Sr., and he also had the Showboat and the Tropicana later on. And Rex Bell, he used to be our lieutenant governor, he used to come in both Cory’s Fine Foods and the El Cortez. Is that right? Yes. And, well there was a lot of people who came in thirty years ago; the town was just getting started, like Johnny Lane that just passed away. He came in and he started to work at the—and he had a racehorse book for a long, long time here. And him and his wife at with me. And there was quite a few of them just came in at that time because they started to build the Desert Inn and the Sahara changed from Club Bingo to the Sahara Hotel, and that was just getting on their road. Was there a bar in the El Cortez at the time? Oh, yes. It was a small bar at the El Cortez, and it was locals—all locals went there. And then, any time that I would stop after work and have a drink, there was two bartenders that was there for years and years and years. And you never had to be worried about anybody bothering you, because they knew that you were just in there to have a drink and go on home, and they wouldn’t let anybody bother you at all. Since a lot of locals went there, was there ever any violence or any rowdy things going on? No, mm-mm. Let’s see, I’ve got some more questions here that they want me to ask. Did you attend any schools in Southern Nevada? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 5 No. Okay. And what addresses have you lived at here in town? Well, I just lived at 229 North Ninth Street; it was rented house. I rented that for $65 a month. In order to get it for $65, I had to buy the furniture off this girl, cocktail waitress uptown. She was moving to a better place, and then we lived there quite a while, and then I got a new Cadillac. And the people found that out, so they raised my rent to $67.50. Tell me about the house you lived in? Oh, it’s just a small rented house with a—it was two bedrooms with the bath in the middle, and it’s still there now, and small living room with a nice yard. And then we moved over here to 319 North Sixth. I see. And this place had grape arbors all over with white grapes all over. Grape arbors? Grape arbors—backyard was just one grape arbor. They were edible? Oh, yes, they were very good. They were good, huh? Tore ‘em all out. Okay. Someone did a historical structure study of this house on North Sixth Street, and they called it the Curtis House, because apparently you did a lot of the improvements on it, right? Yes. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 6 You’ve read the paper—is there anything in the paper about the house that you’d like people to know or that you’d like to tell me that wasn’t in the paper? That wasn’t in the paper? Mm-hmm. No, I don’t know. I know that this well we have out here, the neighbors that was living next door later on, it’s in the paper that—took care of the water for, I guess, two blocks. It ran down their driveway and onto the back. And I know the people in back of me, back of the alley, used to own a whole half a block back there, and they had sold it off. And this one lady that sold her house lately, they just built a shack, she told me, so that they could come to Las Vegas and dance on Saturday night. They lived out quite a ways, and they just built one room. Oh, this was nearby? Yeah, it’s right over here, that one where the driveway’s right back there. So right in the backyard in the alley back there? Yes, it goes off on Mesquite. But they said that they built this one room so they could come—they danced on Saturday night and didn’t want to drive back, and so they’d stay overnight in the shack there, I mean, just one room. That’s neat. Yeah. And then, of course, now the sisters have a big home on the other corner. Can you remember their names? No, I don’t know their names. Oh. So, where did they live before? I don’t know. She didn’t say where she lived. They lived out far, so they couldn’t go home, you know? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 7 Uh-huh. See, everything was years ago, everything involved around the railroad. Las Vegas had a roundhouse; that’s how it comes, it started like that—besides being the meadows. The meadows is Spanish for—I mean, Las Vegas is Spanish for meadows, and they had water here. From the well? No, I meant uptown. And now you live? In Sandy Valley. In Sandy Valley. Tell me about Sandy Valley; I’ve never been there. Sandy Valley is the lower part of Death Valley, and it runs alongside of the border of California. And they have two borders; one’s Von Schmitt line, and the other’s their border, Nevada and California border. But it was original Von Schmitt line that they did. And they raise a lot of alfalfa out there. When did you move there? Seven years ago. Seven years ago. And you live on a farm, is that right? No, I lived in—well, I call it “Granny’s Utopia.” I have a trailer there, it’s five acres. And my property is sand. I got a couple sand dunes in the back of my property. I had three, but I took one away. And I have three trailers that I rent and one I live in. Do you know what the property was used for before you were there? Property was vacant—wasn’t anything on the property. It’s bare land. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 8 Let’s go back to the house. The people in the library are pretty curious about banking in the area. When you bought the house, what kind of arrangements did you, if you don’t mind me asking, go through to buy the house? I bought the house from a man in Midland, Texas—Mr. Elder from Midland, Texas. He had the mortgage on the house, and I bought it from him. And I traded—I had a Cadillac, and he took the Cadillac as a down payment, and I paid him four percent, and it was $14,000, I think. Did you go through a bank in town here? No, it was a private loan. Privately financed? Mm-hmm. I see. And your Cadillac, did you buy that through a dealer? Yes, I bought it from the Friendly Irishman, and he was located on South Fifth, where the Pioneer Bank is now. So you financed it through the dealer? No, I paid cash for the Cadillac. Oh, you did? Mm-hmm. Was it pretty easy to save money? No, I had an inheritance come. No, it wasn’t easy because the wages were nothing. I worked for $4.75, split shift. I don’t understand— $4.75 a day, split shift. Oh. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 9 And that’s the reason why I got a little bit more because I worked in the mornings and I’d come home, not at noon—I mean I worked at noon and then come home in the middle afternoon and come back at night—worked lunches and supper. Oh, I see, the heavy hours then. Yes. Okay. So when you came to Las Vegas, you were already married, right? Mm-hmm. And did you attend church here in town? Yes. What church did you go to? I went to the Baptist Church on Ninth Street and Carson or something over there—Ninth Street. Was church life a pretty important thing to you? Yes, we always went every Sunday. You and your husband and your family? Yes. The children and I mostly. Do you remember the visits of any of the presidents or other important people to the Las Vegas area, such as the—I understand President Roosevelt and Hoover visited, or I understand it was in 1942, there was Carole Lombard’s plane crash here, or important persons who came here to be married or anything? My mother-in-law shook President Roosevelt’s hand over on Bonanza Road when he went down there and over on Westside mostly. Oh yeah? Yeah. She lived over there for years. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 10 Your mother-in-law, oh did she come—? Mrs. Emma Curtis. Did she come to town at the same time you and your husband did? Oh, no. She lived here. Oh, I see. So, your husband had family here to begin with? Yes. And did they come here log before he came, before you came with him? Yes. They were here, I don’t know how long. Do you know why they came to Las Vegas? I think to survive, because she had a boardinghouse to feed her children. She used to feed the construction people and the railroad men that were working so she could feed her children. Where was this boardinghouse? Over there on Bonanza right where the Salvation Army house is now. Is it the same house? No, they tore it down. That’s interesting. How about when Clark Gable was married, were you in town then? No. I lived out in Sandy Valley, and he stayed in the Goodsprings Hotel before it burnt, and that’s what made Goodsprings quite famous because, besides the ore that they had there. Have you ever been active in politics in town? No—campaigned a lot. Oh, for who? For the Democratic Party, although I did Campaign for List this time. So, this has been quite some time that you’ve campaigned for the Democrats? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 11 Yes. Only just to maybe put out pamphlets or something like that—nothing, you know, really. Where, when you put out pamphlets, what kind of places would you put them in or hand them out? Oh, hand them out at work and talk it up at work and the neighborhood. Does any campaign that you worked with stand out as being especially exciting or important to you? Well, yes. We had a campaign for Bill Peccole when he run, and we were very active in that. WE were very active with Rex Bell’s campaign for lieutenant governor. Did you go to any functions? Oh, yes. And we went to all the campaign parties or whatever you call them. Do you want to tell us about—no? Okay. I don’t remember. I see. Were you a member of any kind of social club in town or interest group of any kind? I belonged to the Eagles. Oh, really? Mm-hmm. What kind of activities did you engage in with the Eagles? Well, they have meetings every month, and they have their charities that they keep up, that they sponsor. How long ago did you first associate with the Eagles in town? About ten years ago. Ten years ago? Let’s see, is or was gambling an important recreational activity for your or your family? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 12 No, nobody ever gambled in my family, and I don’t. Not even a coin in the slot machine? Oh, yes. If I got company coming to town and the company is playing, then I will buy a roll of nickels or something like that, but outside of that, I never gamble. If I’m sitting there and we’re in a restaurant, we might mark a ticket, a keno ticket to the first couple of games that were there. But none of the family ever gambled much. What kind of recreation do you engage in? Like, I know you watch TV a bit. Well, yes, but years ago, I used to take the children to Twin Lakes, which is Lorenzi Park now, and we used to horseback riding there, and then we used to go to Rocking Horse, and the children used to go horseback riding, and they used to go swimming at Twin Lakes—that was a regular. And then every day off I had, I would go to Lake Mead and take a picnic lunch and go to Lake Mead every day off I had. And that was when the children were small. And then, well, you know how it is when they grow up, one goes one way and one goes the other. Right now, my hobby is gardening, fixing up the property up there. So, you mentioned horseback riding—what kind of facilities did they have out there? You could rent a horse out there, and right now, you can still rent a horse at Rocking Horse Bar. And that was the same place you went to? Yes. Has the place changed a lot? Oh, yes, it’s all changed completely over there. Lorenzi Park belongs to the city now. Tell me how it used to be. Oh, they had a place where the kids could fish in the fishing pond—I don’t know if that still exists or not—and they had a great, big body of water which ducks would come and we’d feed UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 13 the ducks. And it had big trees around the swimming pool, which still exists. The pool has changed. And we used to have picnics out there. We used to go to Red Rock Canyon and have picnics, and we went to Valley of Fire and had picnics, too. There’s a lot of things to see in Southern Nevada—lots of picturesque things—we went to Mt. Charleston in the summertime when it was so hot down here, which was really nice—which people still do. Do you remember anything about the aboveground atomic tests that they had? Yes, I was working at the El Cortez the first one, or the second one maybe, and they had, Sears Roebuck building was across, and I was just standing there watching it, and it blew the window right in. Is that right? Yes, the window just shattered and went right in—great, big bay window. Was there a lot of noise, or was it just—? No, we didn’t have any noise—just the air trembled, you know. And every time they go off, I watch the chandeliers move. I see. They still move. Were you worried at all about—? Oh, the first one, we went up there to see it. You went up there to see it? Oh, sure. How far away were you? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 14 Well, we were on the highway, parked on the highway about, I think it was four o’clock in the morning we went up there. It was nice weather, I think. And we just sat on the highway to see the smoke go up. And did you? Oh, yes. Was there— Just like— Tell me about it. Just like a big mushroom, very interesting. Everybody was up there watching it. Just drove up—well, it was only about sixty miles. So you drove sixty miles? Oh, sure. Up in Sandy Valley, I fly the American flag all the time. I see. What changes have you noticed in the area since you first arrived? First of all, tell me about the economy. Tell me what changes you’ve seen. What changes? Mm-hmm. Well, the town is growing. It grew way northwest—no, I mean west—it grew up way to the—the town is way up to the west and way up to the east. And now it’s grown south clear out, and they’re building a lot of homes before you get to the Henderson turnoff. When you first came to town, did a lot of people have cars? Oh, yes. And most of the streets were paved? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 15 Oh, yes. Right now, I’d like to start a big campaign to clean up the place. Everybody’s—it’s just getting just like Stockton; it’s just too much debris around. Nobody cleans up the yard—they got garbage all over. And the alley, you go down, there’s things piled so high that stay permanently there, not in garbage cans, just stays permanently there. People—they’re not making them do anything anymore, cleaning up, you know? They used to make people clean up a lot, or do they do it on their own? No, well, they did it on their own. They had, you know, I mean a lot of them weren’t so much—a lot of stuff Downtown is rentals now. And people use to own their own places Downtown a lot? Well, this isn’t only Downtown. You just drive Las Vegas and see all these vacant lots with all this stuff they just piled all over—trash all over. Go down the alleys and there’s alleys that are only a block off of Las Vegas Boulevard that are just cluttered—they just throw the garbage right out of there, everything—cans. Let’s go back to television. Were you in town when they first had television? Yes, but we didn’t have it. We didn’t have any television for years. I don’t know, I guess I always thought it didn’t come in good enough to have it. And we didn’t have it for years. What prompted you to get your first TV set? Oh, I guess I just, you know, advertising. Advertising? Advertising—we always get the paper, read the paper every day. The same paper? Well, yes, Review Journal. How did you buy your first TV set, was it for cash? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 16 Oh, yes. [Audio cuts out] You’ve done several improvements on the house. Why don’t you tell me about that? Well, I put about, improved it, about $10,000. We took all the old windows out, put new windows in and made them smaller. They were clear to the ground old-fashioned windows, wooden sills with the rope and the weights inside and we took them out and put aluminum windows in. And then we stucco’d it up to that and painted. And then we put all the paneling in. And then I had a closet that we made bigger in the bedroom, and then we took all the old kitchen cabinet out and put all new kitchen cabinets in. What made you decide to do all these improvements? Well, I was just tired of it being an old hou—you know, it’s an old house, but it’s—just to clean it up, freshen it up. You financed these improvements through the bank, is that right? Yes, First National Bank. First National Bank? Mm-hmm. And do you remember what year it was you did this or how long ago? Oh, about fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago? How hard was it to get the loan? Did you have to fill out a lot of forms? Did you have to put up some collateral? Well, we had to have clear title—I put the house up for collateral, you had to have the title of the house, the house was paid for. So, that’s what I put up for it. They took the title to get the loan for the house to remodel it. It was a home improvement loan, like. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 17 I see. How long did you have to pay it off? What kind of terms? I don’t remember. But it’s all paid off now, the improvements and stuff? Oh, yes. That’s great. Tell me about the telephones in Nevada, in Las Vegas. When you first came to Las Vegas, they had telephones, right? Yes. But I didn’t have one for a long time. You didn’t? No. How come? We didn’t have the money, and we didn’t know anybody, so we didn’t have the telephone. Did it cost a lot to have a telephone put in? No, not at that time. When you finally got a phone? Well, the children were getting older and going to school, and my mother wasn’t well, so I had to have a phone. Was it a dial telephone? Yes. It had a dial in it? No, no, wait a minute now. No, we didn’t have dial telephones when I first got a phone, no. Oh, really? Uh-uh. So, when you went to place a call, how did you do it? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 18 Just call the number through an operator. Talk to an operator? Yes. Do you remember when you first got a dial phone? No. It’s a long time ago now. Yes, I don’t even know. I might be wrong, I might be thinking of my hometown. I see. Well, is there anything else that you’d like to tell me about Las Vegas or your times here? Oh, we used to have some good times when Helldorado was young. Everybody participated in Helldorado. Helldorado is a celebration we have every May where the Elks put it on. We have a big parade—we used to have three great, big parades Downtown. We had a beauty parade, children’s parade, and old timer’s parade. Oh, really? Now, they got it put all in one, so it’s just one parade. Were you ever in any of these parades? No, my children [have] been. They’ve been in the school parades, in the children’s parade, they were always in that. So, can you remember the first time that you participated or that they had a Helldorado here in town? Oh, yes. I was working at the White Spot. And, see, if you don’t have a pin on—you buy a pin for a dollar—and if you don’t have a pin on, they’d put you in kangaroo court, and they hold kangaroo court on you. So these Jaycees usually are and the Elks—and so they had the cage and UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 19 everything up on Fremont Street right where the Nugget is, and the White Spot was up a little ways. And the men came out and took me bodily out of the restaurant, put me in jail. (Laughs) Did you know these guys? Oh, yes. But I— Do you remember who they were? Oh, it was Tom Campbell and George Von Tobel and a few others. George Von Tobel? Mm-hmm. Is he the same Von Tobel who—is he involved with the lumber? Yes. They were Jaycees at the time—Elks, too. Oh, I see, so they threw you in jail? Mm-hmm. Then I got a pin and I went back to work. But that was fun. That seems like fun. Then when we first came here, we all got our Western clothes on every Helldorado—kids on down—cowboy hats and boots. What is the Helldorado supposed to celebrate? We have a rodeo, and we have a fair, and we have our parades—it’s the celebration of Las Vegas, it’s our big celebration. How about the freeway? Were you here when they first put the freeway, Interstate 15, in? Oh, yes. How did people in the town feel about that at the time when they first put it in? What kind of road was it at first? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 20 Well, there was no road there. The only way we could get to North Las Vegas was from Las Vegas Boulevard. How did people get here from L.A.? Well, they come up the old L.A. Highway through Sloan and through Jean. I see, and that’s not the way Interstate 15— Interstate 15 runs alongside, it comes up right up alongside of it. When did they first—long time ago? Mm-hmm. I can’t remember. Twenty years ago, maybe. Maybe not that—twenty-five, twenty years ago. The first overpass they put in was Blue Diamond, clear out there. They started out there first, worked their way up. Granny, tell me some more about some of the places you’ve worked. I worked at the Roundup; that was on the corner of Main and Las Vegas Boulevard where they come together—used to be called Fifth Street, and I worked for Bob Baskin, and all the locals went out there for breakfast, most of them did. And it was a very popular place. And then when I went to work at the Showboat, I didn’t go to work for the Showboat till it was open six weeks, ‘cause the Desert Inn had the Showboat when it first opened. But you were in town when it first opened? Oh, yes. Was that a big event? Oh, yes. Just before it opened, we had a great, big rainstorm, and then the Review Journal had a picture of it, and he just showed the boat with the water all the way around it—looked like it was a float—rain came in and ruined all the carpets before it was over. So, the Showboat—more like a boat than they wanted? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 21 Mm-hmm. And I went to work a year after the Tropicana was built—it was the Tiffany of the Strip. Is that right? Yes, it was very well-managed, and a lot of local people went out there. It was an exciting place to work? Very exciting. Shecky Greene opened up, Press Prano was there. I mean, he opened up—when he opened up, this was lounge shows. Press Prano played so loud that they had to put up glass from the casino to the lounge ‘cause it bothered the players. And we had lots of people—Jerry Colona, Guy Lombardo, they all played there in the lounge. You told me earlier about people coming to visit you and checking out the town. Have people always done that? Have you always had people coming to see you and staying at your place or letting you be their tour guide in town? Oh, yes. I’ve had lots of people—I used to get 300 Christmas cards just from customers. Of course, I, you know, just friendly I guess. And, of course, the Tropicana had the best food in town, too, at the time. And I stayed sixteen years, and you get to know—people come back, come back at the same place all the time. They wouldn’t even think of going anyplace else at the time. And my girlfriend was telling me that this new section of the Tropicana, the elevators are out of this world. It’s the most gorgeous elevator in town, to go up to the new high rise. Is that right now? Right now. So, I’m anxious to see it. So, the Tropicana has changed quite a bit since you worked there? Oh, yes—built a high rise, and while I was there, it built a section on, but not a high rise—a new addition on. Well, Sandy Valley, they used to have a gold mill there in the town of Sandy’s, and UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 22 the used to have a schoolhouse and everything—they used to have a post office, schoolhouse, and everything. But they don’t have it anymore. So, when you first moved out there—? We didn’t have telephones for over a year after I moved out there. Nobody in town did? Nobody in Sandy Valley had telephones; then, Centel put telephones in. And how long ago was this? Seven years ago. Seven years ago? And now every phone call that we have is long distance unless we’re calling in the valley. If I call town, it’s all long distance. Is that right? So, has Sandy Valley grown since you’ve been there? Sandy Valley, they used to be, when I moved out there, was thirty-seven lights, we had nightlights, and now there’s over 300. Streetlights? No, no. Nightlights? Nightlights, like streetlights—I paid four dollars extra to have a telephone pole with a light—on the telephone pole is my nightlight. It goes on when it gets dark and goes off in daylight. So, are there more people there now than when you first went there? There was only about a hundred people; now, there’s way over 350, way over. Oh, really? They’re coming in there—for a while there last summer, we were getting a trailer a week. UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 23 It’s mostly trailers? Yes. Well, people are going to build, but they’re living in trailers now just to get started, ‘cause you have to dig your own well. WE have surface water at forty-five feet, you can get good well water at 150, and— Has the water table changed much since you were—? No. We have real good water. And we have clean air, we’re kind of in the valley, like, we have clean air. So you haven’t noticed the environment change much? No, it’s more healthier out there than it would be in town. When you first moved out there, you say there are a lot more nightlights out there now; is there anything else—tell me about how the place has grown since you’ve been there. Well, we have more streets, they put in more streets, they’re keeping up the streets more. They have paved the part of the way up there from the Goodsprings road over to Sandy Valley, they remodeled that, took a lot of curves out of the hills to get there. And they have paved it real nice, and there is quite a bit of action going on at the mills, the gold mills that they used to have years ago. Oh, people are mining the mills again? Yes. They’re getting them ready to do it. Is that right? Mm-hmm. Is this the first time since you’ve been out there that they’ve done that, or have they done it in the past? UNLV University Libraries Isabella Curtis 24 No, they’ve done it in the past. Once place has done it in the past, but they quit, and then they start up again, d