By Joan Burkhart Whitely
not available on audio
A very good friend of mine told me about this book, and seeing as him and I were both born and raised here, I figured that I would check it out. I am second generation Las Vegas native. You don't find many of us here anymore. I will tell you a few reasons why you don't find us here. Because most natives learn early on, that Las Vegas is a really hard place to be happy 12 months out of the year. It is ridiculously hot here in the summer. This book describes when the original auction for land was held it was in March, and by August of that year, most of the residents had left due to the heat. I don't blame them. Without AC Vegas is almost impossible to bare. Pools weren't build here until sometime in the 20's. And they created "AC" by putting ice blocks in front of fans.
The best part about this book was that so many of the people mentioned have buildings named after them. William Beckley was a prominent man in society with his chain of clothing stores, and the elementary school I went to was Will Beckley. Another prominent figure K.O. Knudson was shown in a picture performing a play in Lee Canyon, and the middle school I went to was K.O. Knudson.
I was able to see pictures of the high school that my dad, uncle, aunt, and husband all went to as it was being built and read stories about Mrs. Frazier that was on the school board and she was the one that pushed to get the school built. There was many of days that my dad would drive my brother and me around his old high school and he would point out Frazier Hall.
It is just so amazing to read of all the different parts of town and their evolutions. I totally recommend this book to anyone that is native to Las Vegas, well hell, anyone that wants to learn about it. Las Vegas is an incredible town, but honestly, how this town was able to flourish with this heat I will never know.
I can't wait for the next book about Las Vegas that I put on hold at the library.