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Transcript of interview with Elmore Curtis by Judy Curtis, March 1, 1975






On March 1, 1975, collector Judy L. Curtis interviewed fire department captain, Elmore B. Curtis (born December 17th, 1896 in Minnesota) in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. This interview covers life in Southern Nevada since 1942, including Mr. Curtis’s personal history and the early development of the Nevada Test Site. During the interview Mr. Curtis also discusses early tourism and socio-economic progress in Southern Nevada.

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Curtis, Elmore B. Interview, 1975 March 01. OH-00463. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis i An Interview with Elmore B. Curtis An Oral History Conducted by Judy L. Curtis 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 Elmore B. Curtis ii © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2019 UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. 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 Elmore B. Curtis iv Abstract On March 1, 1975, collector Judy L. Curtis interviewed fire department captain, Elmore B. Curtis (born December 17th, 1896 in Minnesota) in his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. This interview covers life in Southern Nevada since 1942, including Mr. Curtis’s personal history and the early development of the Nevada Test Site. During the interview Mr. Curtis also discusses early tourism and socio-economic progress in Southern Nevada. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 1 The informant is Elmore B. Curtis. The date is March 1st, 1975, at one p.m. The place is 2121 West Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada. The collector is Judy Curtis, 3800 South Decatur, Number 129, Las Vegas. The project is Nevada History 117, Interview Project for Doctor Ralph Roske. The informant is my father, so there will be personal references. You were not born in Southern Nevada, you came from—you came down here just as—? From Minnesota. Okay. And what other occupations did you hold in Southern Nevada besides the cab company? Nothing until I went to Mercury, to the Test Sites. Okay, we’ll get to that later then. What addresses have you lived in Southern Nevada? What areas of the town? When we bought the house where you were born in Pico Way before it was finished. Yes. It was just—some of the houses in that district were finished. And that was Mayfair Number Two, they called it. And Mayfair Number One was over on the other side of Charleston, you know. Okay. Where John S. Park School is. Mm-hmm. That’s Mayfair Number One. And when you (unintelligible) right across Fremont, where we lived, (unintelligible) some of the houses were completed but the one that we picked out wasn’t completed. It was still a framework when we bought it. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 2 Okay. Why did you move into this area? Uh. Better money. And you moved from where? Ah, I came from Minnesota to Los Angeles, we picked up Thick. And then, Thick and I came up here from Los Angeles. Okay. Where you married in southern Las Vegas or Southern Nevada? Yes. When and where? Las Vegas in 1945 or six, I’m not sure of that. Is or was church activity an important part of your life? Not mine, no. No. Do you remember visits of any of the presidents or other important people to Las Vegas? Ah. Like the 1942 crash of Carole Lombard’s plane. Any of the pertinent (unintelligible)? Oh yes. Other than the—when President Truman was here, well—he was a senator at the time. You better make a note of that. It’s on the recorder. So I (unintelligible). And— President Truman was a senator, he came out here on some kind of a senatorial investigation. Mm-hmm. And I saw him in the hotel. I didn’t meet him but sometime later, Eisenhower, when he was campaigning the first time to run for president, he came through here and I was at the airport and UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 3 they introduced us as we came along and I met Senator Russell and Eisenhower at the same time. Governor Russell I believe, he was governor or senator at the time. I’m not sure which. Of Nevada? Yes. Okay. What about President Roosevelt or Hoover? Were you— were they before you came here? Hoover I—I saw Hoover in San Francisco but I never seen him here. Okay. Where you active in politics in the area? Not active but participated. But not actively. Which party? Democrats. Okay. And were you a member of a social club or any other special interest group? No. What about the Teamsters? Who were they? I belong to the Teamsters since they started. Mm-hmm. I helped start it. I’m one of the—I have belonged to the Teamsters longer than anybody in Las Vegas. When was the Teamsters founded? ‘47. 1947? ‘46. 1946, when the Teamsters started. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 4 Yes. And what do you remember about the early development, I mean, and people involved and that type of thing? Well, there were only ten thousand people in Las Vegas when I came here. Ten thousand two hundred and fifty was the last read in 1840 and it just seemed like you knew everybody in town. You go Downtown you meet all kinds of people and you knew them all. Where now you go Downtown and don’t know anybody. Yes. And take Charleston Avenue. Charleston Street. The pavement stopped at the Memorial Hospital. Oh really? It was a dirt road from there on out. And coming up the other way from Fremont—the pavement went down as far as Tenth Street from Fifth and it stopped there. And one night I was coming back to town from out, I was out in Henderson. I was driving into town and just coming up that slight bridge on Charleston, I got stuck in the mud and couldn’t make it up. I had to go and get a tow car to pull me out. What were the (unintelligible) how about the economic changes, have you noticed, since the early days up to now? Well, the trends been the same all the way through. That is based on gambling and casinos but there’s nothing on the Strip. The only hotels on the Strip when I came here was the El Rancho and the Last Frontier opened up just after we came here. Both of which are now—? UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 5 The El Rancho was burned down and the Last Frontier has been replaced with the New Frontier. And that was the—they were the first two on the Strip. What were the major hotels Downtown? The Apache and El Cortez. And then there were some little dinky hotels around like The Overland and one of them named (unintelligible) I think it was on the corner of Sixth and Fremont. Do you remember them tearing these buildings down and making the new (unintelligible)? Yes. They replaced a lot of them. The old Blakely building. And along where Pop Squires had a home between Third and Fourth and—Penney’s store was next door to it. And Penney’s moved—they build across the street where Penney’s and Woolworths are now. Or, and where Penney’s and Johnson’s and Woolworths, between Fourth and Fifth. And Pop Squires, he was the first, the original editor of the Review Journal. He started it and he called it, The Age, way back in, long before I came here—back in 1910, along in that time. And he was editor of the paper for many, many, many years. And they finally persuaded him to sell his home there on Fremont Street. Oh, they gave him a tremendous amount of money for those days for it, just to get the land. And Senator Cannon had a walked up second story office. He was—was he senator at the time? No, no. He was a lawyer. Mm. And he was his dad’s lawyer, or his dad had some little deal he had to have and he got a hold of Cannon in some way and—so that’s where I met Cannon. Because he was a lawyer, but I remember he was in a, just an ordinary walk up office, walk upstairs office. It was the second floor. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 6 Do you remember anything about any of the other prominent people now that are prominent now, in those days? Well, there was the (unintelligible) see, Al Riddle who owned the tours, he passed away about two years ago and Kell (unintelligible) was our competitor and he had a cab company but he didn’t run tours. We ran tours, you see, to Boulder Dam, Death Valley, and passes Zion Canyon and down the Grand Canyon and I—pioneers have set up the rates for all of those tours. I did the first rounds on all of them. Because I was running a company and (unintelligible) had me make up what we call the tariff law. The tariff were these trips to Death Valley and the Grand Canyon and the Grass of Zion. How’d you run the tours, by car? Oh by limousines. Limousines. We had the—I had rented Cadillac limousines. And that’s a beautiful car, it is, for those days, that’s the best that there were. How was the tourist trade then, you know, for your tours? Were they (unintelligible)? It was very good. Very good. And we did a lot of business. And we did a lot of tours. ‘Cause this was—Riddle was a very fine tour man. He was a good speaker. He was a good public relations man and he went to all the conventions all over the country and advertised extensively. What about social changes here in the area? How you noticed a difference in—? Not much. It’s been pretty gradual. The same as it’s been in any other town. Well taking a comparison from like when you first got here to now—? UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 7 Well, it was more of a small town community when I first came here because as I say, you knew so many, such a big percentage of the town, you knew who they were by site, you know. And all the grocery stores were right Downtown. (Unintelligible) was down between Second and Third and Levi had a market over at Second and Carson where that big parking facility is, he had a big market in there. And then, there was a market over on Main Street, just to the side of Bonanza. And the way that started was a by carious situation. The fellow started to Los Angeles with a load of watermelons, see, up in the Virgin Valley someplace and his truck broke down. So he got some (unintelligible) and planks and set up shop there and started to sell watermelons and when he came back from Virgin Valley, he thought, well, this is a pretty good thing. So, that’s where he started a market there, just an outdoor market. He sold potatoes and vegetables and melons and (unintelligible) up around, where was it? And then, he got some money back off of them and he set up what they call the Dollar Market. And that was down at, almost to the corner of Bonanza and Main Street and all the Westside is straight over there. But there were no out, there were no big markets in town at all. That was the first supermarket that came up in town. What about—is gambling or was gambling an important recreational activity? It was all there was. For you and your family though, were you involved in that? Well, theaters, there was only one theater and that was the only building that’s still remaining between Main Street and Third Street—as it was when I came here. It was the theater building. What’s the name? It’s Fremont Theater, isn’t it? Yes. That’s right. It is. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 8 Uh-huh. I think that was the name. And that’s the only original building. Every building between the regular tracks and Third Street is different than what it was when I came here. They’re all new buildings. And the White Cross Drugstore was very popular (unintelligible) in those days. It was kind of a congregated place. They had a big lunch counter in there and everybody ate lunch at the White Cross Drugstore. That’s where the Four Queens Hotel is now. Yes. And across the street where the Golden Nugget is, there was a (unintelligible) bar and then a, and an Oasis restaurant. And then, above that was the Frontier Club and finally up the street next to that was a (unintelligible) and across the street was a Boulder Club. There all gone and been replaced by a different (unintelligible). Nevada—the Bank of Nevada was on the corner where the (unintelligible) is. And that was moved over on Carson Street many years later and one time when I was on Carson Street we drove it over to check my account for something and she came back and she says, “Do you know that you’re one of our oldest customers?” Because I started an account there in 1842 and there were very few people who stayed with him in the main bank all the time. They branched out into the other branches, you know. And— This is Bank of Nevada? This is Bank of Nevada, yes. So she told me that I was one of the oldest customers they had. Oh gee. So I had (unintelligible) one of the oldest customers they had in that bank. Because I started when they were over on Fremont Street and they put ‘em where the (unintelligible) is. Mm-hmm. What other kinds of recreation did you seek? Games, radio, do any sightseeing? Horseback riding? That type of thing. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 9 Well, I didn’t have any horses, when I came here or never have had any since I’ve been here but Howard always had horses. Any riding that was done was done out to his place but I didn’t ride. I needed a place where I can have a horse. In fact, I didn’t want one. Okay. Then they want to go into—what about any environmental changes. Do you remember anything about that? No. Not a great deal except—it used to be when we had a downfall, when we had a flash, when we have a heavy rain, we have a flashflood, and it would just drown you out all over town. There was no sewage that would carry off the water, you see. And the water would flow down Fremont Street and why, sometimes you—you couldn’t drive through it at all. Because you didn’t have the facilities to dispose of the water, to haul it, take it off, like they have now. Do you remember when they started putting in correct sewage and correcting these problems? Oh. Be kind of hard to say, I suppose along in the fifties or sixties. Have you noticed any weather changes since you came here? Seems to me it’s getting colder. I don’t know if I’m right or not but I remember in 1946 we had a heavy snowfall and we had eight inches of snow on our front lawn. Okay. Lemme see. What else did they—one of the things that they are very interested in is the Test Site, which I know you know a lot about. Would you like to start from the beginning and kind of bring it through to the present, about that? I’m trying to think what year the Test Site started out here. It must’ve been about forty six or seven, but it started out very slowly and there wasn’t much development out there. And the first crews who were sent out there were surveyors and road builders and they constructed roads just the main highway through the site and there were two or three surveyor outfits that went out UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 10 there. And it didn’t stir up much of a commotion around town because we didn’t know anything about it. It was all knew to us. And there was very little said about it. And it was kind of a hush-hush thing. And yet we all knew about it and it was no big secret but it was just something that we didn’t understand, we didn’t know what was coming or what it was going to become or what it would develop into. It was this new idea. So it was just, something that started out west of town here, and just kind of let it go at that for a long time. And I find the—I didn’t go out there until after—many years after, well, a few years after it started. And the way I happened to go out there was that I took a leave of absence from the tour company and my wife went back to Minnesota for school. She went back to summer school in Valley City and I knew she was gonna be gone all summer. And while she was gone I went down to, went up to San Francisco and went out to sea, and I made two trips to the orient. And she went with me to San Francisco until I sailed and she went back to Valley City, and I made two trips to China and Japan and Manila while she was going to school and her school let out—just coinciding the time that I came back from the Orient. So she went to North Dakota for the summer and I went to the Orient. I went on a foreign ship and so when I came back, why, even though, they had given me a written guarantee that I wouldn’t lose and seniority and would get my old job back, why, they contested it. The union—between the union and the cab company, there was a disagreement there where what was to become of me. So Bill Carter with the union said, “Well.” He says, “I’ll get you a better job than that job over there.” So I went up to the Test Site to drive a truck and I never knew really a truck in my life, at that time. What was the year? Do you remember? Huh? What year was this? UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 11 Forty six or seven. It must’ve been forty seven. So I went up there to go truck for a while. And then, I went into warehouse, and I worked in the receiving at the warehouse, for a long time. Do you remember anything about the early above ground atomic tests there? I saw the first shot that was ever shot, set off at the Test Site. In fact, it was—the first experimental shot that was shot off there, and we called it Area Ten. And I worked on that and they had two great big runways. One they call the major runway and one the minor runway and they ran eight thousand feet. The major run—eight thousand feet. And it was like a great highway. And it was—they had instruments every few hundred yards, all the way away, to see what affect the bomb would have on it. And he dug a hole in the ground. It was only thirty-two feet deep and about fifteen feet across and they picked that up and an army officer by the name of Captain Stowe was in charge of the project, and I was a pretty good friend of his. So I was there when the first bomb was brought out there. And I helped pushed the thing into this hole. It was put up on a big (unintelligible) and all of us were around there, and we all helped steer the thing into this hole. And then, that was about two or three days before they shot it off. And it was shot off by remote control. And we were clear back about fifteen miles away. We didn’t know how close we dear to get. Because radiation and we knew a little bit about radiation then but not much. It was such a new thing that hadn’t been delved into and everybody was in awe of it and in pure cold ignorance. We didn’t know anything about it. So we all backed off to what we call the Central Place, CP point, and the thing was shot by remote control from CP, seventeen miles away. And all of us who had been working around the test site getting, preparing for this thing, were back at CP to see it go off. Well, they did a tremendous amount of work around there. They put up structures that would simulate bridges, and others simulated underground subways. They dug great trenches and building regular subway covers out of concrete. And it was—a UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 12 tremendous amount of work was done on it. Preparing for this test to see what would happen. And there was one thing that I remember about fifty feet from the—what we call ground zero, that’s where the bomb was. That was ground zero. About fifty feet from that they put up slabs of concrete about the size of a mattress, a bed mattress. And there were a half a dozen of them put up there. And they were all different colors. And it was red and yellow and blue and black. With these colors were going to see how far, or what became of this debris after the shuttle was shot off. Well, Captain Stowe and I went back out there to even a distance of a mile from ground zero. We couldn’t find any of this common concrete. It just, the ridge range, the whole thing, it just blew it to nothing. There was nothing there. It was—everything was gone. Well, Captain Stowe says, “I’ve been in radiation a little bit.” Keep going. He says, “And I’ve got two Rankins to go.” And Rankins is the unit contamination is measured by and anybody that got five Rankins were pulled out of the site. The—weren’t allowed to work around there anymore and were put on other jobs. And he told me, he said, “I’ve got three Rankins.” He says, “I have taken three Rankins.” And previous experience, he was at Oak Ridge, and back in Tennessee prior to that. He says, “I’ve got two Rankins to go.” He says, “Let’s go up and take a look at the (unintelligible).” So he and I—well, this bomb was blown up, well, they blew it all up so it looked like an ant hill with a crater in the middle. And we went up to the top of that and the thing was, oh, it was higher than a one-story house. There was a rim all the way around this thing, and about ninety feet across. And he and I ran up to the top of that, looked down in the hole where this bomb had been and it had blown a hole supposedly about fifty or sixty feet deep. At that was the first shot, shot off in the Test Site. And that was in autumn, in was along late in the fall because I remember it was shortly before my birthday. And then, they UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 13 continued on, they shot two or three more underground shots before they started the continuous testing and later the testing went on and on and on until they were shooting sometimes every day for a week at a time. And sometimes as many as two in a single day. I’ve seen ‘em shoot two shots, an hour apart, in different parts of the Test Site. How large was the Test Site? How large? Well, the second fire station I worked in was fifty-two miles from the base camp, from Mercury? And Mercury itself is five miles in off the highway and Area Twelve, where the shots were fired, plum Twelve, was fifty-two miles out farther than the main camp. What other jobs—or whatever jobs did you do in the Test Site. You talked about the trucking and the warehouse. What else? Then I went in the fire department. And what was your function there? I started out as a fireman and I wound up a senior captain and relief assistant chief. I was assistant chief and relief assistant chief and senior captain of the whole fire department. ‘Cause I stayed there the longest. I was on the ground floor and there were only eight of us in the whole department when I started and the first time I was assistant chief I had a hundred and five men. That was a—the height of the fire department, we never had more men than that. A hundred and five was the most we ever had and they were scattered out all over the Test Site. We had the main station and Jackass Flats in Area Twelve, with the CP. And I wound up with a new station. I opened up two new stations, being the senior captain I was sent out to open up the big station at Jackass Flats. And then, when they opened up Area Twelve, I went out there and opened that station and got that going. And then, I went back down to CP, Central Point where it’s the UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 14 control point. The reason they called it CP was, that was the control point. All shots were fired from CP. By remote control? By remote control. And how far away were the shots from CP at the time? Anything from five miles to seventeen. What were the functions of the fire station of the area? Well, anytime that there was a shot above or below ground it didn’t make any difference. We were out on the front line. The medics were out there with an ambulance and a doctor, always. And the fire department was out there with the ambulance. (Tape cuts out and begins again midsentence) Fires of the, in the area that you remember? Oh, there was just one big fire that we ever fought in the twenty years I was out there. And that was a warehouse burned down, right in the camp. And that was—along late in the evening and that was the worst jumble that they ever saw in their life. We were all new we were all fresh and half of us didn’t know anything about fires. In fact, the captain, who was captain at that time, he’d never been to a fire in his life. But he was still captain because of his seniority and a good foreman. And the (unintelligible) the fire department is to me a Mormon and know a bishop. How’d you get on? (Laughs) Through the union. Oh. But there were only the two brush fires that you remember, started by the bombs themselves? Yes. Okay. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 15 That very seldom happened. What about the above ground tests, were they different than the underground? Yes. The above ground tests were set two different ways. They were either in towers five hundred feet high, which were made out of very fine steel, five hundred feet in the air—and the bombs were shot off in them, or they were dropped from airplanes. And the airplane drops were spectacular, because the airplanes would come in so high and so far away that we couldn’t even see them. But they were— Okay. Unless we had glasses. Binoculars? Huh? Binoculars? Yes, binoculars, yes. And I remember one shot in particular. We were—I knew the details about. They made a target about the size of a baseball diamond and this plane came in from Albuquerque carrying this bomb and of course it was all computed out by computer. And all—all the data was computerized or it was all mechanical. So there was nothing done by site or guest. But the plane came in from Albuquerque and he was at such a tremendous height and at the speed he was going that he had to drop the bomb six miles before he was over the target. And the bomb arched down in to the target and they came within fifty feet of hitting a baseball diamond. And they were six miles away and six miles in the air. So that bomb travelled on its own. Its own trajectory was twelve miles. Wow. UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 16 So we were all but excited about that. We were all guessing and some of ‘em were betting how closely the thing would hit to that target that came down and almost hit it. Do you remember any of the environmental problems connected with the bombs, here in Las Vegas or in Southern Nevada? Well, some of the bombs that were shot were enough so that they rocked chandeliers and rocked the highest buildings here in town. But up there where we shot them, we didn’t feel any effects— there’s one shot—the closest shot I was ever to, was four miles. And that was a tower shot, shot from a five hundred foot tower. And there are different kinds of bombs. Some of ‘em were detonation type that would destroy anything that it hit. And others were thermos, we called it thermonuclear. And they were heat bombs and they threw out a tremendous, oh a tremendous heat wave and four miles away, we felt the earth tremble, oh, just a matter of seconds after the shot and the earth reaction was much faster than air reaction. And we waited about two or three minutes and it was like when you stand in front of an oven and jerk the door open real fast. And this heat wave struck us and we just all just kind of staggered back. It was such a sudden shock. The heat was so intense. But here it was four miles away. Just two or three minutes later, it just hit you just like that? No. But it took two or three minutes for the heat wave to hit us. Yes. But the earth tremor from the blast was much faster than the heat wave. And that was so hot. That was a thermonuclear bomb. That wasn’t a detonation bomb and it wasn’t a frozen bomb to blow up a country. It was a heat bomb. And it—it was so hot that you—after it was over and the area cooled off so we could go in, I went out there and you start walking up towards ground zero where the power was. And it was like walking through real thin ice, where the heat had made UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 17 glass out of the Celica sand. And as you got closer to ground zero, you begin to find little pebbles like a (unintelligible). That—were the heat had molded this Celica sand into little forms. Some of them as big as peanuts. And that Celica sand was immediately turned into glass. See, the whole area out there is sand and dirt. It isn’t a heavy dirt, it’s a sand. And this Celica, in the sand, would form into glass due to the heat. Due to that intense heat. It was a (unintelligible) hot that it just tried to— What was the purpose of this kind of a bomb? What was the necessity for testing it there? Well, they wanted to know about all kinds of different kind of bombs. Whether they were detonation bombs or whether they could produce a heat bomb. Or whether they could produce a bomb that didn’t throw off dangerous rays. They tried to clean up the bombs. What they call, clean up the bombs. The first ones they shot off were highly contaminated with gamma rays. And beta and gamma is very, very dangerous, where alpha is not. There are three alpha, beta and gamma, and beta and gamma are dangerous, where alpha is not. Your clothing will stop alpha radiation. Yes. What other kind of testing did they do out there besides bomb? Did they have nuclear reactors or anything like that being tested? In later years they did. What are some of the other installations they had there, besides the fire station? Oh. This CP building, were control was, central control, central, CP we called it. I can’t hardly call it anything else—had walls four feet thick. And the ceiling, the roof was four feet thick of solid reinforced concrete. Just in case somebody made a mistake and shot too close. That was especially used to protect it against the air bombs—the dropped bombs. Because they didn’t know for sure what they were ‘gonna, where they were ‘gonna hit, you know, before they UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 18 experimented. And then, they started to develop Jackass Flats. And I was set out to open up Jackass Flats and I was the first one of the personnel that ever went out to Jackass Flats. And they gave me a fire (unintelligible) and a trailer. And I went out there all alone and I spent as much as four days out there alone and never saw one living soul or the closest living soul to me was twenty-five miles down—‘cause that was twenty-five miles from Mercury. And I was twenty-five miles isolated out there alone, all by myself. And all I did was make two patrols a day, in the morning and evening I’d make a patrol and just check to see that everything was alright, nothing was disturbed or caught a fire or no potential fire hazards were in evidence. What were the (unintelligible) used for? Testing bombs? Bomb testing only? For more sophisticated testing than the bombs. (Laughs) We had liquid oxygen out there, we called lots. Then we had the nitro and had some very sensitive gasses that we used. And we’d have to stand by the fire regions while they unloaded these tanks. And the first tanks came from Florida. Shipped all the way out here from Florida. And then, later the liquid gas was manufactured down the Fontaine just to the other side of the San Bernardino. So we had a shorter run into town. That was nitrogen gas. What were they—what kind of tests were they used for? Oh. For power and utility and to see what they could do with them. And they were terribly extravagant, some of those tests. Do you think that the Test Site was a worthwhile project of the U.S. Government? Oh. I should say so. And what was its good in Nevada? UNLV University Libraries Elmore B. Curtis 19 Well, that was good for the economy because we had eight thousand men out there all on high wages. And it was good for the economy and the town. It made Las Vegas, you might say, but it’s a gambling deal. Because we didn’t have to depend on tourism and the town folks here—the men who had good jobs out there or high paying jobs most of them, because there was always a premium paid out there. Because of the distance from home, you know. Travel pay and things like that made it, all of them good jobs. No matter what you needed out there, it was better than you could do in town, from laborers on up to the top. See, I was out there, not quite twenty years, I was out there seventeen years. Do you think it caused any environmental problems, maybe shaking, you know, the ground to shift or anything like that? No. We’d never heard that it did. But when they take an (unintelligible) test on the amount of radiation, oh, no