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Nanyu Tomiyasu interview, April 12, 1977: transcript






On April 12, 1977, collector Mark French interviewed Nanyu Tomiyasu (born May 28th, 1918 in Las Vegas, Nevada) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In this interview, Nanyu Tomiyasu discusses growing up and working on his father’s (Bill Yonema Tomiyasu) farm in Las Vegas, Nevada. He also discusses how his father came to Las Vegas and being one of the few Japanese families in Las Vegas as a child.

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Tomiyasu, Nanyu Interview, 1977 April 12. OH-01835. [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 Nanyu Tomiyasu 1 An Interview with Nanyu Tomiyasu An Oral History Conducted by Mark French 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 Nanyu Tomiyasu 2 © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2020 UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 3 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 Nanyu Tomiyasu 4 Abstract On April 12, 1977, collector Mark French interviewed Nanyu Tomiyasu (born May 28th, 1918 in Las Vegas, Nevada) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In this interview, Nanyu Tomiyasu discusses growing up and working on his father’s (Bill Yonema Tomiyasu) farm in Las Vegas, Nevada. He also discusses how his father came to Las Vegas and being one of the few Japanese families in Las Vegas as a child. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 5 The informant is Nanyu Tomiyasu. The date is April 12th, 1977. The time is seven p.m. The place of the interview is at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, Humanities Building, Las Vegas, Nevada. The collector is Mark French, 5216 Mountain View Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the Local History Project Number 2, Oral Interview. Nanyu? Yes? To start this interview, I’d like to find out a little bit about your family background. When you first came to Las Vegas or when your family first came to Las Vegas. Well, my dad first off I’ll say he came to the United States in 1898. And he settled, well he landed as far as the North American continent is concerned in Victoria, British Columbia. Then he came on down to the San Francisco area. And actually his port of entry, as far as the United States was concerned, was San Francisco, California. He worked around in that area on farms and agricultural work, nursery work for several years, and each time that he moved, he moved farther south. He worked in Santa Barbara for a couple of years at a large nursery there, then he moved on down to the San Bernardino area, and it was about 1910-1912 that he was in the San Bernardino area. And he was a (unintelligible) at the Elks Club there at San Bernardino. One of the oldest members by the name of M.M. Riley came to Las Vegas, oh I guess after the town was formed in 1905, and he had come up into this area on several occasions, and he finally told my dad that he ought to go up to Las Vegas and see for himself what holds as far as the future is concerned, holds for him. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 6 So in 1914, he first set foot into the Las Vegas Valley, coming from San Bernardino. And he liked what he saw. So he wound up his affairs in San Bernardino in the next two years and then came on up to the Las Vegas area in 1916. And my mother came from Japan. She was one of these picture brides, and she came to the United States in 1917, about August I think it was. July or August of ’17. And I was born on the 28th of May of 1918. So, the family has been here, and particularly my father has been in continuous residence in the Las Vegas valley from 1916 on. Did he start a nursery when he first came or did he continue cooking as a chef? No. He started right in the agricultural field. He worked for—there was a Tom Sakai, a Japanese fellow that had a farm close to where the Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital is now. Actually, it would be on, I guess, Shadow Lane. Close to where the Clark County Health Department there on Shadow, they had some farms in there, the early farms in Las Vegas were centered pretty much there. The old Hefner property was down there, practically in the corner of Rancho and Charleston—West Charleston area. And then there was a couple of other farms over in North Las Vegas and went out close to the Bonanza Village area that Bob Owens had years, well, about that time. And then there was another farm, a small farm that a man by the name of—his nickname was Chicken Williams, was in the North Las Vegas area. (Unintelligible) where the Golden West shopping center is now, on Owens and Eighth Street was about the extent of the farms at that time. But my dad started working for Mr. Sakai in 1916, and then I guess about the latter part of that year, he had a chance to buy up the lease that Dan Potter had on the properties out in the valley where he farmed for some forty years. And when he—when this opportunity came about, UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 7 well, Dan Potter wanted to get out of the farming business, so he asked my dad if he didn’t want to buy his farm implements, and what he had there, and the balance of the lease. And he wanted $1,200 dollars for it. So my dad went to Mr. Parks, who had the First State Bank here in town and borrowed the $1,200 from him and bought out Dan Potter’s lease. How large a parcel was that? Well that’s one hundred and sixty acres. It was one hundred and sixty acres, but it was only about twenty acres that was open and developed, that is, for farming. Of course, in the meantime, I guess about 1910, 1909 or 1910, they had—it was Jim (Unintelligible) who was an engineer on the Union Pacific Railroad. Actually, the Union Pacific now, but at that time, it was a Los Angeles, Salt Lake, and San Pedro Railroad. He was an engineer on it, and he had to run from here to Yermo. And he homesteaded that property, and he had a well built on it. The second well that was drilled was the one that my dad used for some forty years to irrigate the crops that he raised. They produced something like forty three or forty gallon a minute over all those years. So the land was there, and the well and the water was there. It was artesian? Artesian. Artesian water. So the, everything, all of the facilities so to speak were there, you know, for farming. What kind of crops? UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 8 Well, my dad raised everything. There wasn’t anything in the seed catalog that he didn’t try. He raised well, just to give you an idea: lettuce, he raised cauliflower and cabbage, and parsley, parsnip, turnip, beets, carrots, (unintelligible), onions, those green onions, dried onions, everything. Wow. Almost everything, including the grains, your corn, (unintelligible), lots of alfalfa because the years when he first started farming, there was all horses that did the heavy work in the fields. You were far away from town when you say horses, that your main means of transportation (unintelligible) into Vegas? Yes. It was ten miles out of the vicinity of the center of Las Vegas at that time. What about farming and the alkali? Was that ever a problem out there? It was a problem, but my dad finally overcome the problem. It was a problem and it was a problem as far as that was concerned. Actually, he faced two problems. One was the alkali problem and the second was that there was no experience here in Clark County on how or when to plant crops. So he had to go through a series of experiments and finally he developed a time table where he could plant the crops and harvest them successfully, which was considerably different than the planting seasons and the times that they had for Southern California or California as far as (unintelligible) Utah. So once he developed these time tables and the periods where the plants and seeds were to be planted, then he became successful in his work. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 9 Okay. When you were young, I’m sure you worked on the farm. Can you remember like, the period when Hoover Dam was being built? Was there a big demand for more vegetables during that era? Was there any peak periods in the early years? Oh yes. The—my dad supplied what he raised, crops, for the Las Vegas Market. Of course in those days, Las Vegas wasn’t that big. There were two or three other farmers in the area. One of them was this Mr. Dutton who ran a piece of property over there close to Charleston and about Seventh Street, back there is Mary E. Dutton Park, and that is part of the old Dutton properties. And he used to pedal produce that he raised there in a little horse drawn wagon all over this town. My dad didn’t pedal, except to the grocery stores, restaurants. And some of them was shipped by railroad to Cedar City and St. George. I remember he used to ship a lot of asparagus to Cedar City. Several crates at a time were sent and several times each week. Three times each week. And also, produce was sold and shipped to Kingman and other points, possibly up in Beatty and Tonopah. But they basically, he tried to raise sufficient quantities of produce for this local consumption. Of course, when Boulder Dam, or Hoover Dam the construction started, well, he had additional markets. How old were you during that era about? Well, Boulder or Hoover, Hoover Dam and Boulder City was formed I guess right at about 1920-1929, 1930. It was completed about 1936. I was—if it was 1930, I’d been twelve years old, eleven, twelve, thirteen. I know during my high school years, and I graduated in 1935 from Las Vegas High School. I was driving the trucks out there and delivering produce to the wholesale outlets there in Boulder City. The big Six Companies, Anderson Brothers Supply was—they UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 10 were the commissary and they produced, well they made the boxed lunches and fed three thousand men there that worked at Hoover Dam. So you’ve seen Las Vegas grow from actually almost the beginning? Well I can remember back when I was a youngster, I—oh five, six, seven years old, that the Fremont Street was only paved down to Second, possibly the Third Street. Third and Fremont. And just beyond Third and Fremont, the—well, I guess it was in the late ’20s, ’27,’28, ’29, along in there, Ernie Kragan built the (Unintelligible) Theatre, and at that time, at the time that theatre was being constructed, J. Warren Whittick had the Chevrolet agency across the street. And they had an old boardwalk there and it was a covered boardwalk, and they had these hitching posts for the horses that people used to come on into town with from the outlying areas. And there was—all the roads that led right here from the city were nothing but glorified wagon trails that the Model T’s and the old time Chevrolet trucks and cars travelled. And they weren’t anything like the super highways that we see here threading through this town today. Okay. You said you were educated at Las Vegas High School. Yes. What did—how did you get back and forth? That was a long ways, ten miles. Did you have, what? Model A Ford. Model A Ford. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 11 Two door sedan. I remember my dad bought it from D.C. Graham, Archie Graham Ford Agency. As I recall, he paid a grand sum of about five hundred and twenty-five dollars for a 1930, it was either a ’30 or a ’31 Model A two door sedan. Okay. Change of subject. What do you think was some of the most difficult problems to overcome in your younger years, that was just difficult in the town? Was there anything in particular? Nothing in particular. What about like, the hot summers? Did that affect you in any way or (unintelligible)? They were hot. They were hot, but there was (unintelligible) and the water we’re using today, and though the humidity were down around three or four percent, we could always find someplace that was cool. Now the humidity is up around twenty-five or thirty percent, if you don’t have air conditioning, you’re gonna suffer a little bit. But in those days, well, there wasn’t—people sure, I mean, we liked to have a cool place and all that, but they had the desert coolers, which is actually a very primitive form of a swamp cooler that we have today. They used gunney sacks instead of these aspen pads that they use today but—and they had no electricity. That is, they had no fan (unintelligible) just let the air, the wind, the breezes just blow through the gunney sacks, and it was really nice and cool on the other side. But as far as difficulties or concerns, you know, you never really feel that you have adverse conditions until you’ve tasted something better. You don’t—if the horse and buggy’s the only thing you ever knew and ever had, you like, of course you get the best horse you can get or the best buggy, but as far as convenience, you know that it’s going to take you so long to get someplace. Now once you have a vehicle, an automobile that can travel a good many times faster than the horse and UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 12 buggy, then a horse and buggy becomes an obsolete thing. It becomes a hardship if you have to go back to a horse and buggy. But as long as you don’t have these other modern or more modern conveniences, you don’t really feel that you’re being abused. That’s true. Do you remember the Depression era? Yes. Was that—did it stand out any different than any other time? Well, money was hard to come by. I remember that we—my dad used to sell to the big Six Companies and Anderson Brothers Supply out in Boulder City thirty-pound lugs of tomatoes for fifty cents. This was the wholesale price. That meant that it wasn’t even two cents a pound. I don’t recall what the grocery stores were selling it for, but I would say they were probably selling them for four or five cents a pound, for tomatoes. But you pay like, today, something like seventy-five or eighty cents a pound. Cantaloupes, the crated cantaloupes sold for around anywhere from seventy-five cents to a dollar and a quarter a crate. And that was about sixty or seventy pounds, so that was about two cents a pound. Watermelons I know— Excuse me, did the price go down during the Depression and then come back up? Or was that just—? No. That was just the—almost the going price. Now prior to that, if tomatoes were fifty cents a lug, it was pretty much the going price. The prices I don’t think dipped any lower, because they were—it just cost just so much to produce. (Unintelligible) my dad had to give stuff away. But by that I mean that he might say like, tomatoes were selling fifty cents a lug, he might’ve taken twenty-five cents for it just to get some money. But, by and large, he raised a lot of poultry and UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 13 hogs and that to take up the surplus of produce, rather than flooding the market here in town, he fed it to hogs and livestock. And that way, well, he was able to pretty much maintain a wholesale level at a reasonably profitable price. Okay. Let’s talk about you some more. Now, you said you graduated from Las Vegas High School. What about elementary school? My first seven years was spent at Paradise District School. I just remember it was a two room schoolhouse. They had—it was oh, ten, about twelve to fourteen children going there. The six—there were six children from the Blake family and there was four from our family, and then I had a cousin, and then there were generally, there was a full Negro girl there by the name of Natalie Mitchell, that lived fairly close to the school. And then there occasionally would be some other children that would—one or two—that would come into the area. But basically, it was a, say, the twelve children—the Blake family, our family, my cousin, and little Natalie Mitchell would be the school. And we had about five grades as I remember. The two oldest Blake children were in the highest grade, then well, it was Ray and Grace was in the highest grade, then Heber and myself was in the next grade under Ray and Grace, then there was Alvin and my brother, Kuyo, would be in the third level, and I had a sister and (unintelligible) and Helen Blake was in the fourth level down, then I had a sister (unintelligible) and Edith were in another grade, but they were down probably two grades below (unintelligible) and me. That would make what? One, two, three, four, five, and then the other kids generally were—there might have been one grade in there in between some of these other grades that, where some of the other children were in there, either that or there’d be three in one class or one grade, and then three or four possibly in one grade. But there was about five or six grades that the district, the teacher there, would have to teach. So it was generally just one person. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 14 And one of the first teachers I had was a Miss Feiner, who married Pat Miller, and I don’t know whether to think that this time that she is alive. I think she still is. She would be an elderly woman if she were living. Then the second grade teacher that I had was a Miss Gentry, who came down from Caliente, Nevada. And she eventually married this Bruce Barnum, who was a (unintelligible) secretary for Governor Grant Sawyer. Of course, they—the Barnum’s now are retired in Carson City, and she would be probably close to seventy two or seventy three years old now. But my eighth year, they closed the Paradise District School, so I had to come into Las Vegas, and I started—well, I went to the eighth grade at the old Las Vegas Grammar School, which used to be the Las Vegas High School, and which like today houses a lot of the county offices. But from that point on, I went up to Las Vegas High School, which was constructed about 1930. And I spent my four years there at Las Vegas High School, graduating in 1935. And then did you go directly into college? Yes. I went one year to Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena, and then I went on, had four years, four additional years at the University of California, Berkeley. And then you returned to Las Vegas and? Yes. I’ve been here—I’ve been here from 1940, I’ve been here in Las Vegas farming and raising poultry, a lot of basic farm work all these years. Okay. Can you first recall the first time that you went on the Strip, you know where the hotels are? Yes. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 15 I don’t know if it was called the Strip then. No. Can you remember then? Was there anything there? No. There actually wasn’t too much there. Where the New Frontier stands now, or about where the Silver Slipper is now, Guy McCaffee came in from Los Angeles. He built the Paradise Club. It was a nightclub there. Prior to that, I think there was, about where the Castaways is now, there was a Red Rooster Club. And Walt Butterly owned and operated the Red Rooster, which was a—they served delicious food and mostly I think fried chicken and steaks. And the early Las Vegas people were entertained there or they had—there was a Negro woman here that catered to a lot of parties to the elite of Las Vegas in the early day. But as far as the Strip as we know it today didn’t get started until Tom Hull built the El Rancho Vegas at the corner of Sahara and the Las Vegas Boulevard South around 1940. What was the main means of transportation into the city then? Back in the earlier times. Well, Las Vegas—the people came in from Los Angeles, and the first Los Angeles highway was a grated road. It came in on, it would be Paradise Road as we know it today. That was the original Los Angeles highway. And where the Hilton Hotel stands right now, or just north of it in that vacant lot, used to be the Las Vegas Airport. And they—it was just a dirt runway. As I remember, there was—the major runway was east and west, then there was a little short runway that went paralleling Paradise Road north and south. What about the train? Did it bring many people in? Oh yes. The early day transportation—if they didn’t come by car, they used the trains. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 16 The train was a major? The train was a major means of transportation between Salt Lake and Los Angeles and here. Okay. The end of side one. (Tape one ends) When you mentioned our airport, do you recall when the movie star crashed up on Potosi? Yes. Carol Lombard? Yes. Carol Lombard. Yes, I remember that. Don’t remember what year and all, but I remember— Was the airport the one by the Hilton or was it out of McCarran? No. It was out of—I don’t know whether McCarran Field at that time was still out at Nellis Air Force Base, or what is Nellis Air Force Base now. McCarran Field actually was out there at the very beginning. Then Nellis—well, the air force took it over, and for a short time it was used both by the commercial airlines as well as the air force. And then McCarran Field was built, as we know it today, and Nellis took over the old McCarran Field. Okay. Let’s skip to another area. Do you recall any of the Indians in the early era? Some of the—what do we want to call it, the original tribal Indians? Yes. The Paiutes of course are the Indians of this area. They had their tribes mostly in the Moapa Valley. They had this little Indian colony here in North Las Vegas, or just down roughly across from Palm Mortuary at this time. They’ve always been there. They, of course in the old days, the UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 17 Indians were all throughout the area. They were always a nomadic people. They didn’t ever settle down to have any kind of a civilization or a structure that I can remember. I’ve never seen—I have never seen a Indian, well a tent, or anything like that. They’ve lived in shantys or little cabins wherever find something like that, but didn’t cost them anything. But I guess in the early days, they traversed this area. I know several rocks that they have used. I used to go out to some of the areas where they camp in their travel between here and the Colorado River, and up north, and I understand from past history of the Paiutes they range as far as into Oregon and Washington. And their principal commodity that they traded with was salt from this area. They took it up into the northern parts of Nevada and Oregon and Idaho and traded furs and other things that they needed down in here. There’s—Paradise Valley has, let’s see, one, two, three sites that I know of: Grapevine Springs, there’s of course, right by Grapevine there’s the old Steiman Springs, which is practically at the corner of Russell and Sandhill Roads now. Grapevine Springs is down at Rawhide and Annie Oakley. The other Indian campsite is at practically on the corner of Paradise Road and Warm Springs Road. It in the northeast corner of that intersection. And there’s another one there just off of Pecos and Sunset, about a block north of Pecos and Sunset. Actually, I think there’s a street that comes in there now called Orlean. O-r-l-e-a-n. Those are the old campsites of the Paiutes. Now they also used the Spring Mountain Ranch area, where old Jim Wilson, (unintelligible) of course today it’s a state park. There’s other campsites that they used up in the Red Rock Canyon, but they—in their travel’s north, they went through the Tule Springs area. And, of course, there’s the old Corn Creek area there that has pastures. I understand the water’s still running there. And that’s I guess one of the points of the old Spanish Trail, or the old Mormon Trail. Because the old Mormon Trail went up from there on up into Hidden Springs, up UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 18 there in the McCullough Range, the mountains just to the north, and then went down from there on into Alamo. Hiko and Alamo. Then across the—it was Southern Utah. That’s to the test site. Hmm? Isn’t that to the test site? The present test site area? No. It’s in that general area but this Corn Creek area and the Hidden Springs is—Hidden Springs would actually be almost directly north of Tule. Tule Springs. But it’s right up in the mountains. I’ve been there and it’s quite a—well there’s not an abundance of water, but there’s fish and water there to have quite a nice green pasture there, and enough water for a good many people to drink, and horses to enjoy. I would say close to twenty or thirty gallon a minute, so that this fish and water, they would you know, to feed your livestock when you travel across there. When you were quite young, did you ever travel into the Logandale and Moapa area? Yes. Many times. Many times. What about—do you know anything at all about the Lost City? Or was that—? I never—I never did visit the Lost City prior to it getting covered by Lake Mead. What—how did you travel? What route was it? Was that before Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam) was put in and the lake was there? Did you follow the Colorado? No. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 19 Or did you go over the range? (Unintelligible) Basically, the route that we go now that I-15 takes was the old route. But everyone took, in those days, to get into the Logandale and Moapa areas. Of course, the railroad was there too. And the railroad was the principal means of transportation, that is, for people and commodities, but the road, the car road or the truck road—the highway pretty much paralleled the railroad tracks. So it basically, what we have today at I-15 that they had in those days too. You get flash floods back in those days and they’d just wipe out everything wouldn’t it? As far as vehicles on the dirt road? Oh yes. That’s right. Because that’s some rough terrain through there if I recall. The California Wash has taken quite a number of people. They’ve died on that wash. When the floods, the rains hit in the Valley of Fire area, and it drains down in that California Wash, just south of Glendale. People don’t realize how much and how swift that water is. And they tried before at that federal wash that I think is not too deep and not too treacherous, and they’ve lost all their belongings in their cars, tipped the cars over, even the Greyhound buses have been turned over and people have been hurt. There’s one thing, one comment I’ve heard over the years, I know some people from back east, and occasionally I listen to their conversation or they ask me some questions at a gas station while their car would be in service. They said, “How come all you people out here want to build a beautiful concrete bridge over a dry wash, when we don’t even build that good a structure over a running stream back east?” And well, you people have never seen a wall of water, and a cloud burst. Even some of these concrete bridges are UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 20 wiped out when that water hits. And they, a good many of them, I know they left here not believing me or some of the other old timers that verified what I was telling them. And I know they went back probably met a couple of old desert rats out there who were just—the heat got to ’em and they were telling stories. (Laughs) Okay. Let’s talk about the Colorado River a little. Now before the dam was built, what kind of river was it? Was it just a large stream or was it actually a treacherous river? Well, it was a muddy, real muddy river. I remember fishing in the Colorado, catfish and (unintelligible) and they used to have a lot of water (unintelligible) in there too. But that river was—I never did see it clear. It was always muddy. And it was wide enough, and there was enough water coming down through there that I don’t think at any time you’d even want to try to swim it or cross it, unless you had some means of crossing it, like a ferry or a you know, (unintelligible). Was there some log ferries in this vicinity (unintelligible)? There was one at Searchlight and I believe there was one down there around (unintelligible) and then there’s the other ferry that was up north. Pearson’s Ferry? Pearson’s Ferry. There’s several ferry—they had several ferry crossings on the old Colorado, but that river would change. The water course would change and I know that when my dad was farming down there, on the old Cottonwood Island, we used to (unintelligible) and occasionally he would find that the water was way over on the Arizona side and several hundred feet away from where he had said he’s going, on the Nevada side. So they used to have to dig a trench and UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 21 get the water to come back over onto the Nevada side so they could pump and irrigate the crops down there. Did they ever use the river for transportation? Or was it too rough? I think it was too treacherous. I think that as far as I remember, the only man that traversed that river any number of times was old Murl Emery. Murl, I know that he had a little motorboat, a pretty good-sized boat, I’ve been on it several times. I would say it was probably something like thirty foot, but it was a old wooden boat. Reminded me a good deal of what I read about you know, the pilgrims and old (unintelligible) looked like an old boat could withstand those rapids and get banged around pretty well and still come out floating. But it was—it was a very substantial boat. In fact, I know my dad has gotten pictures of Murl’s old boat that used to go up and down the Colorado River. And he was the only man that I know of, of course, I’ve known about Jackson Powell traversed the river (unintelligible) Grand Canyon, been through there, then on down through the rapids. But it was a very treacherous river. This (unintelligible) and in the spring of year, when the thaws or snows would melt up in Colorado and Utah, there was a lot of water that came down that river. Okay. Let’s talk about your heritage a little bit. You’re Japanese descent, correct? Right. Now, has that ever been a factor in your upbringing here as far as being discriminated against or—how did the people treat you in Las Vegas? Very well. Very well? UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 22 That’s right. Occasionally there’d be a little unpleasantness, but by and large we, the whole family, was treated very well here. Very well. Except that in the older years of World War II, there were only thirty-five or forty Japanese people living in Clark County. That would include the Logandale-Overton area and the Las Vegas area. At one time, they had quite a Japanese population here. My dad was telling me about it. It was—there was a strike going on in the ’20s. The railroad workers, I guess they must have been a union or something. Anyhow, they were on strike. And they stroke against the Union Pacific Railroad and the whole Los Angeles-Salt Lake-San Pedro Railroad Company. And they brought in these Japanese people and they built a compound over there, west of the railroad tracks, and close to all the Roundhouse and all the shops. And these people lived inside this compound, protected you know, so they wouldn’t be hurt. They kept the train running. They were the mechanics, they were the riveters, they did all the maintenance work on the old locomotives and all the cars right here in Las Vegas. But as the (unintelligible) the Indians became more advanced, this old steam engine, they transferred all of the mechanic, the maintenance workers to Milford, Utah. And at that time, practically all of the Japanese population, which surmounted as I recall men, women, and children, had to been as many as a hundred fifty of them here. But they all moved away, and two or three families did stay here and they went on to work yard maintenance and that sort of thing. But during World War II, in the Las Vegas valley, the total Japanese population was probably twelve or fourteen, possibly fifteen people. And so we faced no unpleasantness. We didn’t have any problems when we went to school, and so I can truthfully say that we were very well accepted here (unintelligible). Being only fifteen, that is a—that is a minority. And the way minorities are today, it seems like it’s all you hear about. UNLV University Libraries Nanyu Tomiyasu 23 Right. I don’t understand—I guess nobody understands it or we wouldn’t have it. (Laughs) Okay. Let’s back up a little bit, and can you just fill me in on some more experiences that