University of Nevada, Reno




Life Stories by theme: Nevada history














































  1. Seeking water in the desert


    "Well, there was a service station between the Nipton Road and Mountain Pass. ... The owner had a big, oh, I guess it was a two-ton truck, but for me back then, it was a big truck with a tank on it. He would haul water from either Nipton or Mountain Pass for his family and the station. And if a car came in overheated, he would charge 50 cents a gallon for water to fill the radiator. After he got his well in, he used his truck to haul water to the homesteaders and still sold water for 50 cents a gallon to overheated cars, telling them that he had to haul water in. So he has to make a living. Although they were gas stations, the water was the biggest seller. And in the heat of the summer and going uphill, there was always someone with water problems."  Read more.

  2. Life at the Las Vegas Paiute Colony


    "We didn’t have air-conditioning, and in the summer we always slept outside. If it rained, we’d pack up all our stuff and go inside, then go right back outside. My grandmother is the one who when I was young showed me all the stars, the Big Dipper. The early morning star, she said that was the star that was always late. There were three stars and the other stars would tell that one, 'Hurry up. The sun will burn you.'"  Read more.

  3. Excitement of working in Vegas


    "I worked as a change person on the late swing shift, 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. The Stardust was always full of customers. Movie stars would show up and even play the slot machines. I often thought, 'What is a girl from a small town in Illinois doing here?'"  Read more.

  4. First a Wolf, then a Wildcat


    "With great trepidation and fear, I decided to audition for the Wildcat band. As we musicians entered the band room, Mr. Larsen told us to sit in rankings where we thought we belonged. There were three rows of clarinet players, first, second and third, based on skill, talent, and experience. This was the best of the best, and I was awestruck. I didn’t think I even belonged in the same room with these wonderful musicians. So I sat myself as last chair, third clarinet, literally teetering on the edge of the riser."  Read more.

  5. Sailing from Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon


    "Before we turned, I went forward and looked up river into the Grand Canyon. I was struck by its beauty and I wondered if the river could be navigated just a few more miles. I also wondered what it would be like to anchor in the river and watch the sun rise and set.  During the spring and summer I shared with anyone who would listen, my dream of spending a night anchored in the Canyon."  Read more.

  6. Cocktail waitress meets the lounge singer


    "Moving to Vegas in my 20s changed my life. I’ve lived here for 50 years, and the friends I’ve made here are like family. When I met my husband, our lives intertwined and made everything perfect."  Read more.

  7. Typing the nation's secrets


    "The second interview was at the Test Site a week later, and I didn’t have a car to drive Mercury and couldn’t borrow Marie’s because she needed it to go to work. Over the weekend some friends of ours from Espanola visited us and I told them my plight. Anyway my friend said I could use his car to go to Mercury for the interview. I went for the interview and they hired me that day."  Read more.