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Newsletter 2011

Goodsprings Historical Society

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Goodsprings Historical Society
Newsletter #11 Spring 2011


The Goodsprings Historical Society invites all old friends from Goodsprings, Jean, Sandy Valley, Erie, Potosi, Roach, Sloan, Stateline (Primm), and all new friends to join us for conversations about the past and future. See the Goodsprings School historical collection, tour the smallest and oldest school in Clark County, enjoy a potluck meal and meet some old timers, walk or drive the town and see some old buildings, visit the 98-year-old Pioneer Saloon, and stop at the town cemetery on your way out of town. Please mark your calendars and enjoy these 2 special days in Goodsprings.

SATURDAY, April 30, 2011

8:00: Donuts and coffee - Community Center
Registration: Please pay your membership dues before the GHS meeting.

10:00: Historic school displays at the old clubhouse
The Goodsprings School will be open on Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm.

12:30 Potluck Lunch (bring your favorite meat dish, salad, or dessert

2:30 Goodsprings Historical Society Annual Meeting

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2011

8-11:00 Traditional Miner's Breakfast - Community Center

1:00 Potluck Lunch

Please remember to sign the register. Add your email address which will cut down on postage costs. Don't forget the donation can which helps to fund breakfast, condiments, and paper goods. We look forward to seeing you.

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of the following Old Timers: Corky Poole, Pat Cash, Cal Farley, John (Tiny) Kemple, Jane Fleming, Bill Russell, Mary Ellen Schwartz, Phill Rawlinson, Amy Kemple Ballance, and Pat Koch.

28th Old Timers Reunion 2010 Report

2010 Reunion Pictures

Jane Fleming and Frances Hamilton
carolyn-jane-julieCCSD School Trustee Carolyn Edwards, Jane Fleming, Julie Newberry annette-mickey-donnAnnette, Mickey, Donn


Stephanie Stephens and Ruth Rawlinson in the kitchen.
dana-bonnieDana and Bonnie c-maryKitchen Help, Carolyn, Mary


group1 group2GHS Meeting group3


elaine-lesElaine and Les liz-george-bonnieLiz, George, Bonnie laura-jane Laura and Jane


The Fayle Hotel
The Goodsprings Hotel

fayle hotel


In April, 1916, the Las Vegas Age newspaper reported on the planned opening of the Fayle Hotel: "Mr. and Mrs. Fayle are inviting the people of Clark County to make merry with them upon the occasion of the opening of the Fayle Hotel this May 13 in Goodsprings." The article goes on to say that the Hotel was built at a cost of $20,000 and was two stories in height and 41 X 120 feet in size. The woodwork throughout was slash grained Oregon fir. Both stories were surrounded on 3 sides by 8' wide verandahs. The building was planned and constructed by contractor I. J. Turner under whose supervision the Clark County Courthouse was built. The hotel featured all modern conveniences: electric lights, hot and cold water, full bath areas and even speaking tubes connecting upstairs rooms to the desk clerk. The furnishings were selected from Barker Bros. store in Los Angeles at a cost of $5,000. The Age noted that the hotel marked the passing of the mining camp of Goodsprings into a busy, modern little city.

The hotel remained the center of town for 50 years, passing through many owners until it was destroyed by fire on Dec. 23, 1966. David Lowe, a Goodsprings Historical Society Trustee, whose parents owned the hotel for the last 20 years, has contributed 2 articles on the hotel for this issue.


"Deke" and Celesta Lowe bought the Goodsprings Hotel in 1945. Dad had been working for several years on his first stint as a train dispatcher in San Bernardino.

What with the heavy troop and materiel traffic in support of the Pacific Theatre during World War II and with 4 children at home under the age of 8, the stress on this couple in their late 20s was intense. And, furthermore, both missed life on the desert.

Celesta's brother, Phillip, just back from building airstrips with the CeeBees on New Caledonia in the South Pacific, collected his haggard brother-in-law and the two took a week long sight-seeing trip to Ely. On their way back to San Bernardino they stopped for a beer at Jean. Learning that the Goodsprings Hotel was up for sale, "Deke" swung a deal to trade the equity in their lovely San Bernardino home for the hotel property.

For the duration of the war, the U.S. Government had placed premiums and subsidies on the mining of essential materials, including lead and zinc, so the Yellow Pine mine and others were going full bore.

The hotel was actually more like a large resort/boarding house. It had about 20 guest rooms on the second floor. Each housed two or three men and the hotel was full. The ground floor was divided by a hotel lobby, which had a large staircase to the second floor. On the west side were family and VIP quarters, an office, a toilet and bath, a maid's work area and small stairs to the second floor. The East side housed a large ballroom, the kitchen and a scullery porch. The kitchen was fully equipped and employed a cook and dishwasher. The hotel employed a maid to clean the rooms and another woman to do the laundry. Upstairs there were two toilets but no shower or bath facilities. Guests ate at two long tables along one side of the large ballroom. During the workweek, the cook also prepared sack lunches for the miners. Along the opposite side of the ballroom was the bar. In the basement under the kitchen was the laundry, storeroom for the kitchen and bar. The showers were also in the basement.

Of course the signature feature of the hotel was its double wrap-around verandas. Each upstairs room's French doors provided access to the veranda, as did most of the rooms on the ground floor.

Every morning the miners would climb aboard a flat bed truck at about 6:30 for the ride to their work. At about 3:30 p.m. they would return to the hotel. And none of them would have been recognized by their own mothers! Every pore of their bodies and every stitch of their clothes would be impregnated with a red and dirty dust. They made red footprints wherever they stepped. The truck delivered this unlovely bunch to the basement entrance where they went directly to the showers where they kept a fresh change of clothes.

The only boarder who had a private room in those days was Sam Jones, a mining engineer. Although he was a very nice man, whenever he was around, the miners lowered their voices and acted as though they were in the presence of the High Priest. In some ways, I guess he did play that role for the miners.

In addition to the miners, the Hotel became the temporary home for several divorcees who had come to Nevada for 'the cure'. After living in the hotel for six weeks, they qualified as Nevada residents and could sue for divorce. Usually, either "Deke" or Celesta would stand up with them to witness that they'd fulfilled the residency requirements.

Shortly after taking over operation of the hotel, Celesta decided to make the place a retreat for Southern California writers' groups. She ran a small advertisement in the Los Angeles Examiner announcing the availability of the place and its attractions, such as its quietness, privacy, its history, pure air, horseback riding, "rock hound" expeditions and 'Vegas floor shows. The ad attracted a few small groups and it continued to elicit inquiries for years.

Of course the signature feature of the hotel was its double wrap-around verandas. Each upstairs room's French doors provided access to the veranda, as did most of the rooms on the ground floor.

When the War ended there was quite a celebration. The miners all took the day off to get drunk and play in a softball game on the dry lake at Whiskey Pete's. That night a huge dynamite charge was set off on the hill high above town. It was all very exciting. It seemed like the next day that the government lifted the price supports off lead and zinc. Consolidated Copper, the operator of the Yellow Pine, shut down. Miners disassembled the water and air lines at the mine and loaded them, along with 'slushers' and jacklegs onto the ore trucks. The foreman offered some of the men jobs, driving the loaded trucks down to a mine in Arizona. They might find jobs down there. But, no guarantees. Goodsprings folded up quickly.

The Goodsprings Hotel emptied. "Deke" went back to railroading to make ends meet. In about 1951 the family moved into Las Vegas.

"Deke" and Celesta continued to own the property for about ten more years. "Deke" said he made more money from selling the hotel repeatedly, receiving a down payment, "keeping the paper", and they taking the property back when the new buyer was unable to 'make a go of it'.

After the hotel burned down in the late 1960s, the amount of ash and other material left at the site was pitifully small.


The Hotel was a grand old lady. Only a little older than our parents, her aura was that of a well-mannered and jolly old individual who loved being right where she was and doing just what she was doing. A grande dame. She seemed older than she actually was.

Her roof was of wood shingles and the siding pressed metal, the same as the Pioneer Saloon, just down the street. In fact, the Pioneer and the building right next door to it and The Hotel were all built to the design and specifications of Jean Fayle. I heard that all the buildings were ordered from a catalogue but I don't know it for a fact. Eddy Fayle, her grandson, did tell me that the decision to invest in these buildings broke up the partnership his grandparents had with Sam Yount. I believe Mrs. Fayle was related to the Yount family.

The shingle roof was dry as kindling when we lived there. There were lattice-works on both sides of each column on the ground floor veranda. Many of these laths were broken or missing. The floor boards of the veranda were worn thin by more than 30 years' foot traffic. Walking across the porch produced the same springy sensation one receives when walking across a trampoline! The outside wood could have been better preserved by an occasional coat of gray paint.

Inside, the plumbing and wiring were in surprisingly good condition. An interior paint job would have enhanced the place as would patching of several breaks in the plaster of the upstairs hallway.

And, finally, in today's world the old cesspool between and behind The Hotel and the Pioneer would not have passed muster.

The ballroom was a large space. Going only from memory, I would estimate it was 50' x 50', supported by 4 massive columns of polished red-brown wood.

The ballroom was a large space. Going only from memory, I would estimate it was 50' x 50', supported by 4 massive columns of polished red-brown wood.

Bob and Stella Reid, Bill and Sylva Frazier, the dapper truck driver Jimmy Alexander and others were my favorites. The couples would whirl around the floor so fast and their feet would move so quickly that I was sure there would be a collision or a crash! But it never happened.

Another favorite of mine was George Bardwell, a WWI veteran who owned a place between the two mills in Sandy Valley. He drove an old hermaphrodite car that had been chopped into a make-shift, slanted, kitty-wampus flat-bed truck. George's mean little dog would ride on top of the load of junk on the flatbed.

George could dramatically recite from memory many of the poems of Robert Service and Rudyard Kipling. He had his own way of dealing with hecklers, too. When someone would make a comment or snicker at the wrong time, George would slowly turn to the source of the interruption and fix the person with his eyes. His posture and demeanor seemed to say, "I know this may sound quite impossible to you, my friend, but .....listen..were YOU ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear, and the icy mountains hemmed YOU in with a silence you most could hear; With only the howl of a timber wolf, and YOU camped there in the cold, a half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold..........". All the while George had never taken his eyes off the mischief-maker. He weaved a magical spell with his voice. In a short time the astonished loud-mouth would be hypnotically transfixed by the poetry. There were seldom any second interruptions and I write from personal experience!

Another time the featured entertainment was a sort of quiz game conducted by a colorful and amusing couple from Las Vegas. Participants were invited to answer questions on current events. The first to provide the correct answer won a place in the next round. The person finally standing at the end won the grand prize. There was much laughter, whooping and hollering. As we listened from a secret hide-away, we children tried to answer the questions to one another, because we were not allowed to be heard, much less participate. Most of us were unable to answer all the questions, except for one slightly older girl. I was really impressed with her mental prowess and fund of knowledge, until the next day when Mother revealed to me that my cerebral Amazon was the Las Vegas couple's granddaughter. She had heard their show many times before!

My favorite event in the ballroom, however, were the political rallies in which candidates for office would make speeches, tell jokes and spread news and gossip from all over the State, shake hands, distribute cards........and sign our autograph books. These rallies always took place in the years when there was a General or a Presidential election.

At two rallies, my feelings were whipped back and forth, one way and the other. This was the year in which Big Money battled Big Labor over the questions of whether or how Nevada's labor force would be organized. The Capitalists called their cause "The Right to Work" and it carried the day.

U.S. Senator Pat McCarran attended Democratic Party rallies in Goodsprings but my favorite political personality was Nevada's Lieutenant Governor, Cliff Jones. He was tall and imperially slim, always wore cowboy boots, never a cowboy hat, a turquoise bolo tie and sport coat. He never played "the hayseed'. Although his face and hair were right out of Hollywood and he was a drugstore cowboy, he was also a real Nevadan. He and his brother, Herb, and sister, Florence, had been brought to Southern Nevada from one of the Dust Bowl states when their dad came for work on the Boulder Dam project. Cliff embodied the cowboy virtues, The Code of the West; courage and bravery, save the women and children first, courtesy, modesty, your word is your bond---or is it your handshake?---whatever; when people met Cliff Jones, they immediately thought of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne. McCarran, on the other hand, was short, fat, unhealthy-looking and all politics. Not to say he wasn't charming, they all had charm and I loved hearing them work the crowd for votes. Others I recall include County Commissioners Frank Guzewell and Rodney Colton and Assembly candidate Jimmy "Sailor" Ryan.

During the phony oil exploration boom of the late 1940's, the infamous "Dangerfield" Jack was in Goodsprings, promoting stock in one of the ventures. Years earlier he had been saved from execution by hanging by the governor of Idaho. He was later killed by a taxi cab as he stepped off a curb in Las Vegas.

Late in the '40's, the Campbell family (which still owns the central part of Goodsprings and several mines in the area) found themselves with a family problem on their hands. Allan, the eldest of the Campbell sons, seemed to Byram, his younger brother, to have been an imprudent overseer of the family interests. So the family exiled him to Goodsprings. He lived at The Hotel. His board and room were paid in monthly checks from the family in Los Angeles. Although always dressed in a sport coat, slacks, shirt, tie and oxfords, he was the quintessential hippie long before there was such a thing in the Haight-Asbury district of San Francisco. His clothes and grooming were sometimes in need of attention. He didn't drink alcohol or use drugs, to my knowledge but enjoyed the use of snuff and always wore streaks of reddish-brown dust in the whiskers of his moustache below each nostril. The four Lowe children loved "Mr. Campbell". He was always ready to listen or play a game of checkers. He told us stories that were sometimes funny, always odd.

Concerning the physical structure, I have several memories:
The first occurred when we had only been in town a couple of years. It must have been winter because the pot-bellied stove embraced a merrily burning fire. I was walking down the street toward The Hotel when I spotted smoke seeping out of a gap between the stove pipe and the roofing material. I ran inside to report this to Dad. He hot-footed it up into the attic and sprayed water on the smoldering material. He then fashioned a shield to insulate the combustible materials from the hot stove pipe. Later, he gave me a $5 reward!

To have insured the building from fire, I'm sure, would not have been possible. It was composed of wood so old and dried that it was a virtual pile of kindling. There was no firefighting capability in Goodsprings at that time. If The Hotel had started to burn, there would have been no stopping the blaze........as future events would later show.

Once I was crawling around under the building, places where nobody ever went, when I came upon a trap door in the floor of the building----right over my head! On entering I found a small, dark, empty room with a rack of drawers on one side, that is, the built-in drawers served some room on the first floor. Later, I pushed a drawer out and crawled through to the office which was just behind the lobby. The secret cubby-hole was in the dead space under the landing of the stairs.

Another time in about 1950, Mother and I had arisen before dawn so that I could catch Mrs. Kemple's bus to Las Vegas High School. As we sat there visiting, talking about our plans for the day, an awesome flicker of light illuminated the outside world. It was just a flicker, then it was gone. The period of illumination was remarkable because it was extremely brief, but it had a memorable quality, a strangely vivid black and white character, almost as if the main street had undergone a massive x-ray! While we marveled at the occurrence we had just witnessed, we heard a squeaking, creaking and groaning sound. The Hotel acted like a wooden ship on an olden sea. Then the action stopped. Probably 30 seconds later, there was another brief period of the same creaking, moaning and squeaking. We were later reminded that there had been an above ground nuclear test about 100 miles North of Goodsprings in Nye County. The Hotel's bizarre behavior was the result of some kind of shock wave that traveled out from the test epicenter and then later returned back toward the explosion.

Finally, once when Dad was getting into his truck outside The Hotel, his eye caught a movement. He looked up to spy his youngest child, 6-year old Dale, walking atop the wall of the balcony 20 feet overhead! Dale was surveying the desert vista, admiring all he could see, blissfully ignoring the long drop to the ground below. Not wanting to startle Dale, Dad began a loud conversation with an imaginary friend on the veranda, "I have three boys and a daughter, David, Lisle, Janet and Dale. Dale is the youngest. I wonder if I can find him. I believe I'll take him up to the store for an ice cream cone!" Before Dad could go look for him, Dale had jumped down onto the balcony from the wall, scampered around the second story, down the stairs and out of the building. He was sitting in the truck, ready to go for his treat-----as quick as a wink.

The Hotel was sited on just enough land for its 'footprint'. Several years after buying the place Dad felt he needed another acre to comfortably operate the business---on his own land. He went to the bank in Los Angeles used by Sam Yount for Yellow Pine business. Dad could find no one who knew anything about Goodsprings property. One vice president finally guessed, "That's old estate stuff and Mr. White has been here an awful long time. He usually knows about that sort of thing." Dad was led into a cool, dimly-lit basement area and introduced to an old fellow, wearing elastic arm bands and a night shade visor. They chatted a while. Mr. White told Dad some stories about the late Mr. Yount and his dealings with the bank. Finally, he thought a while and mused, "No one has called for those files in many years, Mr. Lowe. I think the material was all put together in one bundle just before the War and it is in the back". So Mr. White retrieved the exact papers needed and sold Dad the necessary land without bickering, argument or further discussion.

Fayle Hotel-east end


GHS is considering an event late this summer which may include a parade.

Bring your ideas to the annual meeting.

Membership dues are payable in May of each year. We thankfully acknowledge the following members:

Gold: C. Gail & Donna Andress, Charles Brown & Maria Laffelmacher, Edward G. Fayle, Ram & Tarja Lamb, Bob & Ann Osburn, Corky & Bobbie Poole, Ruth & Phill Rawlinson, Claude & Elizabeth Warren

Lead/Zinc: Mike & Christine Cartwright, Russiano Decaro, Annette Fisherman(Ellis), Steve Fleming, Joan Lapan, Carolyn(Pack) & George Patchin, Carl & Mari Robinson, Robert Stoldal, Blanche (Kemple) Wimer

Membership Dues: (check one)
Individual_______$5.00;    Gold Member__________$50.00;
Family__________$10.00;   Lead/Zinc Member____$100.00;

Name______________________________ Amount_____________



Send to: Goodsprings Historical Society, 
         Box 603, Goodsprings, NV 89019

Goodsprings Elementary School Book

The Goodsprings Historical Society is in the process of making a book about the Goodsprings Elementary School, including pictures, facts and as many memories and names as we are able to collect and have room to include. If you were a student, or teacher at the school, please share your memories and pictures. You may e-mail pictures as jpeg or stories in Word to Julie Newberry at julievegas at yahoo dot com or to Bobbie Poole at bpoole81 at embarqmail dot com. Or you may mail items to Julie at 1419 Angelbrook Ct, North Las Vegas, NV 89032 or to Bobbie at 7841 Heather Glen Ct, Las Vegas, NV 89123. If you send pictures, please include all dates and names and let us know if you need the picture returned. Thank you for sharing and preserving the history of the Goodsprings Elementary School.

Ragnar Event

Imagine 3500 visitors arriving at the Goodsprings School in the middle of the night. That was what happened on Oct. 25, .2010. The visitors were part of the Ragnar Relay Race, racing from the Valley of Fire to Red Rock Station and passing through Goodsprngs on their way. GHS had chances on a beautiful quilt created by Bonnie Castro. S'mores and a pancake breakfast were available to the race teams. (See the display in the Community Center of winner Randy Robinson and the Ragnar quilt.) A total of $2897 was donated through the efforts of the GHS team. All funds will go to the Public Education Foundation for the Goodsprings School.

Help the School

The Goodsprings Historical Society has opened an account with the Public Education Foundation. All money donated to this fund will go toward helping Goodsprings School with its expenses and is controlled by the GHS. If the school should close, this money will be used toward preserving our historic school building. All donations are tax deductible. If anyone wishes to donate, please send a check to Public Education Foundation, 3360 West Sahara Ave., Suite 160, Las Vegas, NV 89102 or go to www.ccpef.org. BE SURE TO MARK IT GOODSPRINGS SCHOOL OR ACCOUNT #6725.

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