Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Fred Houghton Papers (MS-00204)

Abstract

The Fred Houghton Papers (1909-1998) consist of Houghton’s legal and personal files on his Blue Chip Ranch property in Las Vegas, Nevada. The materials include legal cases, maps, reports, and correspondence concerning water access on the property, and his work with the Las Vegas Well Users Association, which primarily contains correspondence in conjunction with Las Vegas's water politics. The collection also contains court cases during the 1930s when Houghton worked as a lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, as well as legal files for his time as a public defender for the State of California. The personal files in the collection primarily consist of correspondence, banking records, diaries, and notebooks.

Date
1909-1998
bulk 1950-1975
Extent
9.72 Cubic Feet (15 boxes)
8.13 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Papers
Creator/Contributor Links
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research, with the exception of materials that are restricted to protect personally information. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory, and will be open for research use January 1, 2025.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Scope and Contents

The Fred Houghton Papers (1909-1998) consist of legal cases, maps, reports, and correspondence concerning his Blue Chip Ranch property, located just west of Las Vegas, Nevada on Smoke Ranch Road. The collection also contains court cases during the 1930s when Houghton worked as a lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, as well as legal files for his time as a public defender for the state of California. The collection also contains correspondence, banking records, diaries, and notebooks. A majority of the collection is focused on Houghton's membership in the Las Vegas Well Users Association, which contains court cases and correspondence in conjunction with Las Vegas water politics.

Biographical / Historical Note

Fred Houghton was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 27, 1894. Houghton attended the University of Chicago Law School, and passed the Illinois State Bar examination at the age of 25. He received his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 1919. The next year, Houghton opened his own law practice and maintained the law firm until 1943, when he moved to California.

Houghton worked as a public defender for the state of California from 1943 to 1950. He lost the only case of his career there, and subsequently decided to retire. Houghton retired to Las Vegas, Nevada, and on April 17, 1951 he purchased property just west of the city, and called it the Blue Chip Ranch.

The City of Las Vegas attempted to prevent citizens from drawing water from underground wells, and this policy galvanized Houghton to join the Las Vegas Well Users Association (LVWUA), an organization that contested Las Vegas’s water politics. The LVWUA fought to secure well water access for private properties throughout Las Vegas. Houghton spent the rest of his life living on the ranch, and died in November of 1977.

References:

Johnson, Nell. “Desert Ranch Brings Peace to Attorney.” The Nevadan. June 7 1964.

Arrangement

Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Preferred Citation

Fred Houghton Papers, 1909-1998. MS-00204. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NVLN:MS00204
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were received periodically from 1978 to 1989; accession numbers 78-044, 89-076, and T135.

Processing Information

In 2018, as part of a backlog elimination project, Lee Hanover rehoused and arranged the materials, wrote the finding aid, and entered the data into ArchivesSpace.

Finding Aid Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English