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Before Building the Dam

Mary Ann (Vaughn) Merrill at Smith’s rootbeer stand
Courtesy of the University of Nevada at Reno Oral Histories

Mary Ann (Vaughn) Merrill at Smith’s rootbeer stand

Copyright University of Nevada Oral History Program 2002
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Mary Ann Merrill:
K: So, you came in 1933? So you would have been 18 years old at that time.

M: Yes.

K: And did you have any difficulty adjusting?

M: Well, no, I got along pretty good. I know that I can remember wanting to buy a dress down at the company store, and my dad said, “Well, we can’t afford that right now.” And he said, “I just can’t afford to buy it for you.”

I said, “Well, I sure do need a new dress.”

And then he said, “Well, why don’t you find yourself a job, then?” So I went downtown with my brother, and on the way back we stopped at Smith’s root beer stand. The girl that lived in the apartment next to me had worked there. Her name was Ruby.

“You know,” I said, “my dad told me that I should get a job if I wanted to buy this dress down there.”

And she said, “Well, Mary Ann, we need somebody to work here.”

So I said, “Do you think I could do it?”

She said, “Well, it’s car hop, [but] I’m sure you can.” So I talked to Mr. Smith and I got a job and I went home and told my dad.

I said, “Well, I’ve got a job. I can buy that dress.” And that’s what I did. So then I started working there and met a lot of the younger folks in the town. And every Saturday night they had a dance. It was at the Legion Hall, which was where the Park Service building is now on the corner of Wyoming and Nevada Highway. Everybody went to that dance on Saturday night, and we met a lot of the younger folks. And working, I found out more about Boulder City, I think, than what I had known before.

Before You Build the Dam
Controversy over Naming the Dam

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