On November 15, 1974, James M. Greene interviewed Ruth Dieleman (born 1908 in Searchlight, Nevada) and her husband Jake Dieleman (born 1904 in Axel, Netherlands) about their lives in Southern Nevada. Ruth first talks about her life in Searchlight while growing up, her experience as an educator, and her various residences in Southern Nevada. Jake first talks about his immigration into the United States and his eventual move to Nevada to get into construction rigging for the building of Hoover Dam. He discusses his work as a rigger in detail but also discusses his work on various Las Vegas casinos as well as his work in the state legislature.
Dieleman, Ruth & Jake Interview, 1974 November 15. OH-00459. [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 Ruth and Jake Dieleman 1 An Interview with Ruth and Jake Dieleman An Oral History Conducted by James M. Greene 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 Ruth and Jake Dieleman 2 © Ralph Roske Oral History Project on Early Las Vegas University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2018 UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 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 Ruth and Jake Dieleman 4 Abstract On November 15, 1974, James M. Greene interviewed Ruth Dieleman (born 1908 in Searchlight, Nevada) and her husband Jake Dieleman (born 1904 in Axel, Netherlands) about their lives in Southern Nevada. Ruth first talks about her life in Searchlight while growing up, her experience as an educator, and her various residences in Southern Nevada. Jake first talks about his immigration into the United States and his eventual move to Nevada to get into construction rigging for the building of Hoover Dam. He discusses his work as a rigger in detail but also discusses his work on various Las Vegas casinos as well as his work in the state legislature. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 5 [Audio starts midsentence] Dieleman on November 15th, 1974 in her home in the presence of Mr. Dieleman. We are going to be discussing her life and times as it began in Searchlight in 1908 up until the future time. We are going to be particularly concerned with her education, her family, Searchlight County Township. We’re going to be concerned with Nelson Township in Boulder City and also Las Vegas up to date. Mrs. Dieleman, I would like to know how big Searchlight was, do you think, around your early school years? How many people were in Searchlight, do you think? About 5,000. About 5,000? Because my father came to work in the mines. Yes? In Colorado, and he worked at the Quartet Mine in the duplex until they lost the veins of silver and gold. About what year do you think this might have been, Mrs. Dieleman? This— [Audio cuts out] Mrs. Dieleman, you mentioned that your father homesteaded some land; where was this? This was on the Colorado River, below Searchlight. And how much land did he homestead? 160 acres. Did he ever intend to live down there? Yes. We did live down there for a while. You did? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 6 He raised lots of vegetables, cantaloupes and watermelons. And were there cattle down there or other people that had homesteaded the land and were using it? Other people raised cattle and pigs, and my father raised pigs, too. He did? Did the floods that came periodically every spring damage the farms or were they far enough back from the river that they were not flooded? Many times they were covered with silt, but it was always good to plant after the flood went down. Yes. I can remember him planting cantaloupe seeds in the cracks— Is that right? Do you recall any of the other people’s names that farmed down there? [Audio cuts out] Do you remember your schoolteacher, Mrs. Dieleman, when you were in grade school in Searchlight, or is that where you attended grade school? Yes. We moved to Searchlight so that I could go to school. And we had a one-room schoolhouse. I don’t remember the teacher’s name. I see. That’s about all I remember. She was always good to me, but she really had it in for some of the bigger boys. (Laughs) (Laughs) What did a young girl at that age have to do with her time besides go to the school? I imagine plenty of chores was helping mother and father, were there not, besides schoolwork? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 7 Well, yes, I was taught to help at home. We used to ride burros, the wild burros came through Searchlight. How did you capture them? Well, that didn’t seem to be any problem. With food and (unintelligible) probably? The problem was to get them to go after you caught them. They’re (unintelligible). Were they hard to train to ride or brake, so to speak? No. I don’t remember that they were. Of course, they were probably tamed— They must have been, yes. They were used to coming into town. They come in to eat garbage, anything they could find. What was your family’s use of the automobile about that time? We had a horse and buggy. Horse and buggy? In Searchlight. I can remember when the first car—Jim Cashman had the first car that came in through Searchlight. Well, now, did Dad use a horse and buggy down from Searchlight down to his farm on the river? Yes. He had it tamed, and he called it a buck ford wagon. Right, that was quite a trip. Yes, it was. That was fourteen miles. In order to get down to work in daylight, he would have to start before sunup, wouldn’t he? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 8 Well, at that time, we lived on the ranch until I went to school. So, he didn’t really do it every day; he wouldn’t have done that. It took too long. I’m just curious, Mrs. Dieleman, about your father’s method of farming down there. Did he divert any of the waters so as to have a, say, form of irrigation? Yes, he did. He had a pump that pumps water out of the river, and then it went to the irrigation ditches to his farmer. I see. And then back into the river again, or how would he do it? I— He just soaked into the ground, probably. And were those cantaloupe marketed in Las Vegas, or where did Dad sell his farm produce? He could sell it in Searchlight, and at times, they made the trip all the way to Las Vegas, but that was, well, some fifty miles from Searchlight. Oh, yes, a long way. Did he grow corn or just cantaloupe and watermelon? He had a nice garden. I see. But I don’t remember. But nothing was drawn up home in Searchlight up on the plateau? No. It was such a scarce (unintelligible) water. Where did you get your drinking water for household uses? All I remember is they had a big tank on the hill that served the town. Right. How many brothers and sisters did you have? I have two sisters, both younger than I. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 9 Do they live in the area? Yes. Violet, my second sister, lives in Boulder City. She’s Mrs. Track. Mrs. Track? She and her husband operated Central Market over on— Right. Yes, okay. Soon after, did you have a brother or just a sister? No, just two sisters. Just the two sisters. When was it that you went to Reno to school, then became a schoolteacher? I graduated from high school in Las Vegas in 1926. Yes, ma’am. And then I went to Reno for two years, and then I taught a year in Ursine, right out of Pioche. Ursine? Yes. For a year— Were those elementary grades? Yes. Little one-room schoolhouse, too. I see. Then when I graduated from the university, I applied for a job in Las Vegas, and I was lucky enough to get a job in Las Vegas. And were you in the elementary school here, too? Fourth grade. And what school did you teach at? It is now where the federal building is. The Fifth Street Grammar School. I see. And how many children did you have in your classes then? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 10 When I was teaching, Boulder Dam was beginning, and we had between thirty and forty-five—we’d have many new students every week, and they would take them to different classes afterwards, but it was very difficult to teach because our school, the number in our class varied, so. How many teachers did you have in the Fifth Street School, do you remember? Let’s see. We had at least two for each grade, so that would have been at least sixteen. Sixteen—do you remember your principal’s name? Yes. Mr. Knudson, K. O. Knudson. Mr. Knudson. When you were teaching, Mrs. Dieleman, I understand that Mr. Dieleman came into Las Vegas? Yes. And his work was probably associated with the dam in some respect, is that true? Yes, he was working on the dam seven days a week. But we still had time to go out to places. Destiny had to be fulfilled, did it not? (Laughs) (Laughs) And then—your marriage, you went to Parker for a while, did you not? Yes. And what did Mr. Dieleman do there? We worked on Parker Dam. Parker Dam. And did you teach school there? No. I was a housewife. You were a housewife. But you were in the library. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 11 Oh, yes, we had a library. And you were in the library? A neighbor and I started a library. In Parker, Arizona? Got books from San Bernardino. And were they government books, or did you have to borrow them from the State of California? We borrowed them from the state, in the library in San Bernardino. In San Bernardino. And how often were you able to replenish your supply of books and get new material? We could just about anytime we wanted. If we sent back one group of books, then they’d send us another. When was Parker Dam finished, Mrs. Dieleman? 193— Eight. No—okay, 1938. 1938. And did you continue to stay, live in Parker? No. We moved to Shasta Dam. You moved to Shasta Dam—real good. Up above Redding. Above Redding. That was close to Redding. And was it there that you started your family? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 12 Yes. Our two oldest sons were born while Jake was working on Shasta Dam. Shasta Dam. And after that was finished, you came back to this area? Yes. At that time, we moved to Boulder City, and Jake was working for, what do you call that, Basic Magnesium? Yes, BMI in Henderson. And he would commute, he’d stay in Henderson and Boulder City? Right. And the first two children went to school in Boulder? Yes. Right after we came to Boulder City, he had two more; our daughter and our youngest son were born in Boulder City. What were the names of your first two children? Richard and Roger. And they were born in Shasta? Yes. And the original Nevada Dielemans were what name? Catherine Dieleman and Robert Dieleman. Catherine and Robert. Do they still live nearby, or have they migrated? They all live in the area. They all live in the area—well, that makes for a fine family, doesn’t it? Very closely knit. They can’t seem to get away from Mother and Dad. Mrs. Dieleman, having a growing family must have created some problems where you had to be inventive and ingenious about the—what would you do with their spare time? What recreation did you see that they enjoyed? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 13 They all belonged to Scouts, and they had music lessons and they swam at the lake. At that time, that was the only swimming pool we had. And of course, the theater was there at that time? That’s right. We’d go to the local theater every Saturday. Did the desert area attract the children? Very much. They liked to hide, and then their father had a jeep, so we used to do a lot of exploring along the river and around the Las Vegas area. Okay. And you had horses? Yes. We had horses, and all the children learned to ride. Was there a community stable at that time? Everyone just put up their own little pens for their horses, and then later— Was this south of Fifth Street or east of Fifth Street? Yes, it was next to the cemetery first. Then, as time went on, the city wanted that area, so we were forced to form the horseman’s association. I see. Then we developed some land—this was also east of Boulder City. I see. Of course, you had all services in Boulder City, clothing stores, and of course the Central Market, and there wasn’t really much that you wished for living in the small town? It was a very good place to raise children. They could go to their meetings by themselves. The only time that we had to take them was when they went to the lake. I see. But they had lots of activities. The boys played football. So, they were busy. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 14 Oh, fine. During their teenage years, do you recall who was the chief administrator of Boulder City, the man’s name, perhaps? Albert Edwards, superintendent. The superintendent of the school? Right. And about what year was that? Now, this made the children almost high school age, did it not? (Unintelligible) He was the superintendent of all the schools. Then, McCormick was over the grade schools for a while, and then later he became the— The high school superintendent? Yes. Well, thank you very much, Mrs. Dieleman. That brings us pretty much up to date, and I think on another occasion, after we listen to this tape playback, that we’ll have an opportunity to fill those spots that you feel that you’d like to have mentioned. I also want to mention here again that these tapes will be in the sole possession of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; it will be for your use, they’ll be for your heirs, your children’s use, your family’s use, and historical researchers from now on until the end of time, so to speak, in perpetuity. They will reclose in the Special Collections of Nevada History at the university’s library. [Audio cuts out] After listening to the tape playback, Mrs. Dieleman has thought of some additional significant information that are going to be valuable for this project, and Mr. Dieleman, UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 15 I’m sure, can be helpful in recalling these events. Now, Mrs. Dieleman, did your father have a dairy? It seems to me that I remember you mentioning that. Yes. While I was going to school in Searchlight, he had a dairy just below Searchlight a few miles and served milk to all of Searchlight. How did he cool the milk or preserve it? [Audio cuts out] It was brought in every day? Yes. It was fresh milk. That’s right. And it was not spoiled, and it’s brought in to where? To Searchlight. Into Searchlight. And delivered at the door. How many animals did he have? How big was his herd, do you think? Oh, I don’t think he had over about a dozen cows. I see. That’s fine. I was asked where the drinking water came from, and I since thought, it came from the mines and was pumped into the tank that served the city. Was it pure water? Yes. Right out of the mines, it was pure enough to drink? (Unintelligible) UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 16 It was pretty deep—it wasn’t surface water anymore; it was deep. Well, that’s surprising, because in another area close by in Nelson, today, I know, for an example, that the Murl Emery family have a windmill down there providing them a small amount of water for household use. But they can either cook with it or they must drink coffee—they cannot drink this water directly from the mine. Now, I’m supposed that in Searchlight, this was not the case. And the way we cooled our water for drinking, we had it in a large oya, we called it. Yes, Spanish oya. Which had burlap around it to keep it cool. Keep it cool. [Audio cuts out] No, your maiden name was Updike, and you had a sister. Had two sisters: Violet and Nelda; Nelda’s my second sister. Yes. Now, and they were the Updike sisters, right, your Updike sisters? Right. And where is Nelda now? Nelda lives—they lived in Santa Monica a good many years, but they’ve recently moved to— [Audio cuts out] Your sister lives in California, is that correct, Mrs. Dieleman? Yes. She was superintendent of schools in Santa Monica for a number of years, and when they retired, they moved to Laguna Hills. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 17 I see. Mr. Dieleman, you were mentioning to us something about Mr. Cashman and Searchlight and commuting back and forth between there and Las Vegas. What was the purpose of that? All I know is what Mrs. Cashman told me himself, that he started the (unintelligible) with a Model T from Searchlight to Las Vegas and back the next day. He would buy material and groceries for people in Searchlight—he’d buy it in Vegas if he could—took them to Searchlight, then he bought stuff in Searchlight and brought it to Vegas for people that wanted certain things over here. There were really no stores, then, in Searchlight at that time? Well, there was stores, according to him, but they didn’t have everything the people wanted. Yes, very good reason for a stage sign. Did he recall for you the year this might have been that he was operating, or the years of this stage line between Searchlight and Las Vegas? He did other things, too. He had a ferry where Boulder Dam is now to take people across the river. I see. A ferry that he built himself. He always got into things and made a goal of what— Did he ever mention who worked for him? Well, he had a couple kids at that time who worked for him at the ferry in the name of Swartz, and I believe they’re still in the area. But they’re not spring chickens anymore either now. Right. There were some other illustrious— Murl Emery worked for him, too, on the ferry. I recall him saying, there were some other ferries down on Searchlight that have become prominent; was there any family there, Mrs. Dieleman? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 18 Yes, they were. And what was the father’s name? I don’t remember. I know that— Is this the family of Lieutenant Governor— Yes. Harry Reid? I see. [Audio cuts out] Going to school in Searchlight. You were going to school in Searchlight now, okay. My mother died when I was seven. My sisters and I were sent to live with my grandmother in Dubuque, Iowa until I was ten years old. And then we returned to Las Vegas to live with my father, who had a dairy in Las Vegas at that time, the Updike Dairy. And where was that located, on Vegas Wash? No, that was on the West Side. On the West Side, over toward the springs? He had forty acres of land, raised most of his own alfalfa. That was irrigated then, wasn’t that? Yes. Forty acres of alfalfa. Another thing that you recall, Mrs. Dieleman, I think perhaps with some trepidation here was the trip from Las Vegas to Reno while you were in the university. You said it was quite a trip. Yes. The roads weren’t like they are today. It took us two days to make the trip. Most times, we spent the first night in Tonopah. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 19 Would your dad be the driver, your father? No, we were old enough to drive ourselves then. What kind of car did you have? I remember making a number of trips with Allie Lawson. Allie Lawson? Allie was—his father owned the power company. I see. And he was going to the university at the same time. So, he had a, seems to me it was an Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile? Mm-hmm. Really? That was classy transportation. (Laughs) (Laughs) [Audio cuts out] From the university in 1931. I think from the standpoint of a teacher, Mrs. Dieleman, Mr. Dieleman made a significant observation about the varying size of the classes that you mentioned earlier in the tape, and that was for what reason? That was because, at that time, they didn’t have any schools in Boulder City. Then, the first school in Boulder City was a grammar school, and then later, they had both the grammar school and the high school. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 20 I see. Well, Mrs. Dieleman, we certainly want to thank you for recalling these significant facts to add to your tape. This will be the end of this segment of the Dieleman family’s tape, and now we will hear from Mr. Dieleman. [Audio ends] Interviewing Mr. Jake Dieleman in his home on November 15th, 1974. The subject of this tape will be Mr. Dieleman’s work around Boulder City and Las Vegas with an introduction to how he arrived in the United States and how he got into the work that eventually became his business in Las Vegas. These tapes will be given in perpetuity to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for their Nevada History and their Special Collections section. Now, Mr. Dieleman, I understand you were born in the Netherlands? That’s right, the little town of Axel, A-X-E-L, in the province of Zeeland—that’s from the (unintelligible) comes out of Belgium and runs into Holland and into the North Sea. I was born in February 1904. After going to school, I found out that Holland was too crowded—at least I thought so—too many people, not enough jobs. So, I decided to go somewhere else. I wanted to come to the United States, but I was told that the quota was full for at least two years or more. So then I tried to get into Canada, and they said that the only people that could enter Canada at the time was agriculturists. I see. So, I took a quick course, six months, in agriculture, and that made me an expert. (Laughs) I had permission to come to Canada providing that I would work on a Canadian agriculture experimental farm for a year at the salary of thirty dollars a month, and I thought that was better than nothing. So, I had to stay in Canada a year before I could come to the United States. So, UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 21 after I was there a year, I went to the consul in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and had my Visa fixed so I could come in the United States, but they didn’t say when. So, I got on the train, and the train stopped at Newport, Vermont, and when they examined me, they said that, just too bad, that the quota of Dutchmen is full. So, they turned me around and I went back to Canada. While on the train, there was an immigration officer by the name of Bervort, and I told him, I said, “That sounds like a Dutch name,” and he says, “I am,” and I said, “Let’s start things over here and find out why I can’t come in.” He said, “Very simple: the quota is full. But if you come over the first day or two of the month, we don’t have a report on the quota.” So, the next month at 12:06 midnight, I was on the train on the 1st of the month. So, they couldn’t stop me, and my papers all cleared up, and I was in. All I did is stop some poor guy from getting off on the boat, I guess, later on. Right. Where were you headed for then? Well, I didn’t know. I see. As long as I could get in the United States, which I did then. I stayed in Newport, Vermont, which is a beautiful little town. And then worked your way down to Boston? No, then I worked my way down to Barre, Vermont, which is the granite center of the world, granite quarries, and Rutland has marble quarries, and I got the job in the granite quarries right away. And the first week that I was working there, I went up to the courthouse in Montpelier, Vermont and got my first papers; you have to be in the country at least five years before you can get your full papers, so I thought I’d have the first ones, and I went to work at the quarries there UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 22 and I made up my mind, I was going to stay there till I could get my full papers and have the same witnesses that were on my first papers. Certainly. I thought that would have made it easy. So while I was working at the quarry—first I had to work with a muck stick and a pic, and I thought there was very little future in that. Then I found out that we’re always wanting riggers and operators, because it was pretty tough on them, especially the riggers. So I got in the rigging gang. That was pretty high pay, too, compared to what you were doing, was it not? That’s right. You got more money, and there’s more fun, little more excitement, you know? Sure. So, I worked in the rigging gang and operating in between, and I’ve learned a lot and made good money and quite a bit of overtime for those days. It was better than working for $30 a month—I was making $40 to $50 a week over there; that was big money. So after I got my five years in, in the same spot—I had the superintendent stand up for me as a witness—and I was naturalized in Montpelier, Vermont. What year? In March of ’29, and I didn’t have no trouble whatsoever. I see. And it was then when you started—? That’s when I said, “No, I’m footloose and I can fly.” (Laughs) So, I went from there to Conowingo, Maryland. They were building the Conowingo Dam; that just about ten, twelve miles out of (unintelligible) on the Sasquehanna River, and I went to work for (unintelligible) Webster as a rigger and operator, and stayed all during the job. When that was UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 23 finished, I went back to Vermont to St. Johnsbury in the (Unintelligible) Fifteen Mile Falls job on the Connecticut River, which was a dam, and I had a good job over there. When that was finished, I went to the Safe Harbor Dam in Pennsylvania out of Lancaster, and that was a big job for those days, too. All of this was good training for your rigging work when you came to Nevada, was it not? That’s right. So, when that was finished, things were getting pretty bad—that was during the Depression—and we were making bets about this and that, and finally, the guy says, “Well, it takes a tough guy to work under compressed air.” I said, “All right, let’s try it.” So, I went to work in Boston in a tunnel underneath the Charles River from Decatur to Washington Street, and (unintelligible) and Mason at the time—they had the contract—and we were allowed to work only three hours in—three out and three in, because we working on those thirty-two pounds of pressure. In the state of Massachusetts, (unintelligible) stay under pressure longer than three hours. How old were you then, Mr. Dieleman? Well, that was in the latter part of ’29. Now you’re twenty-five years old—that was hard work even for a young man, wasn’t it? Yeah, but—and this was during Prohibition, so when we went in, we always took a little snipper. (Laughs) How did that work under compressed air? Just fine. That made it—you were very comfortable, huh? That’s right. (Laughs) UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 24 It numbed your senses a little bit. See, the way you did, it took, you’d take the pressure as fast as you can when you go in the tank. Yes? In about a minute, you take thirty pounds. With coming out, being decompressed, the state law says a pound a minute; so you had to sit there for thirty-two minutes whether (unintelligible) warm, so you wouldn’t get the (unintelligible), see. Oh, yeah. So, then, we run into the shower house, took a hot shower, and then a cold one, and then we just had a bathrobe on and played pool for a couple hours, and then go back in again. Well, that job didn’t last— It lasted about a year. About a year? And then was that when you came to Nevada? Then, the only construction job that I knew of at the time, and everybody else, was Boulder Dam. And the company that I worked for lost—they were second. What was the name of that company? The Arundel Corporation from Baltimore, Maryland. I see. I worked for them on the Safe Harbor Dam. Did you just come out to Nevada hoping to get a job, or did you have a job before you left the East Coast? Oh, no, no, no. That was impossible in those days. You couldn’t get a job unless you was there, see. I see. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 25 And the way I felt, wherever I’d go, I’d meet some of my old cronies— Yes? And I’d get on anyways (unintelligible). Did you take a train to where out west? No, I had a Model A. You had a Model A? And I (unintelligible) out west right away. How long did it take you? Oh, only about three days, three or four days. And where did you arrive in Nevada? Las Vegas? Las Vegas. And there was, oh, hundreds of people laying on the courthouse lawn looking for work and didn’t have any money, and I felt discouraged when I saw that, you know. Yes. Did you ask to apply for work in Las Vegas, or did you have to go down to Boulder City area? No, the government did have an employment office right where the city garage is now, across from the courthouse. And everybody would line up in the front of that window in the morning and go to it, and they said, “Well, we need”— You’re talking about the federal courthouse or the county courthouse? The county courthouse. County courthouse. “We need ten muckers, and we need fifteen drillers and”— They did their recruiting here, then? Oh, they had to, yes. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 26 Yes. Of course, it was near the railroad, you know— That’s right. And a lot of people, like you say, laying around looking for work. They didn’t allow anybody to loaf in Boulder City. No. Furthermore, that was on a federal reservation; that wasn’t an open town like (unintelligible) it was. When did you get your first job? Well, right away because, that evening, I met a fella that I used to work with back in Pennsylvania, and he says, “Just stay tight because,” he says, “you know several of the boys out there, and we’ll get you on.” So I went to work right away. What season of year was this? Well, that’s the bad part of it. That was in June or July, and just coming from the East Coast and working underground where it was cold and chilly, and then come into this— It was in the summertime when it was hot, then. Hotter than Hell, I thought. I didn’t think there was any place in the world that could have been hotter than it was here. Well, anyways, at that time, all they were doing was high scaling the walls before they could work in the canyon and getting gravel stockpiled for the dam. Now, high scaling was not a rigger’s work, was it? No, they hired anybody that didn’t have enough brains to be scared, because you was 900 feet up in the air— And they were drilling holes to blast the rock down? Yes, and (unintelligible) all the loose ones down. UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 27 I see. Well, it took a lotta guts and— Were you working for Six Companies then? Yes. Now, they are the ones that actually hired you in Las Vegas? Yes. Did you become a rigger right away, Mr. Dieleman? Operator. Equipment operator? Equipment operator, and because they were just starting into stockpile all the gravel and the sand to build the dam out of, because their gravel pit was in the future lake. Did you operate—what kind of equipment are you referring to now? Well, I was running a dragline in the gravel pit—we called ‘em 490s, they were yard shovels—that was the biggest they made in those days. And that was down in the bottom of the canyon, I see. Up above the canyon. That’s where the gravel deposit was. And they had to dig the gravel out and stockpile it up high on dry land because, when the lake starts filling up, it’s filled up the gravel pit, see. I see. And then, as you will realize that it took over four million yards of concrete. So, they had to have plenty of gravel stockpiled. Well, what was most of your rigging work consisted of? Of course, I imagine, even from the beginning, you had started doing rigging work after you got off the equipment, didn’t you? UNLV University Libraries Ruth and Jake Dieleman 28 Oh, yeah. When the gravel pit was finished, as far as we were concerned, they had enough stockpiled, then we went to work on the dam and had the string tables across to— Transport things back and forth? (Unintelligible) Over the chasm there. That’s right. That was the rigger’s job? Yes. To put up the cableways then? Mm-hmm. How long did that take you? That didn’t take too long. We had, oh, about twenty, twenty-five riggers, and it kept us busy for almost a year to string them all up, see, because we had five large cableways spanning the canyon. Did you work three shifts, Mr. Dieleman? They worked three shifts, seven days a week. And where did you get this power to illuminate the canyon, where’d you get the electricity from? Oh, that’s the trade deal. The Edison Company built a power line— What Edison Compan