Random Access Memory
Droll, odd, poignant, and awkward moments from the many Januaries of Las Vegas history.
January 1, 1982: Sally Palmer, 29, gives birth to the first local baby of the year, five seconds after midnight — a feat she accomplished the year before, in 1981, one second after midnight. What are the odds?
January 2, 1937: With 383,294 tourists the previous year, the newspaper editorializes that the Las Vegas-Boulder Dam area “has everything to attract wealth except one — a great resort hotel such as those found in other places.”
January 3, 1952: The state tax commission reports that more than a billion dollars, or “three times the value of the entire state, was wagered in Nevada casinos during 1951.”
January 4, 1953: Cuba announces its withdrawal from the legalized gambling field, leaving Nevada “with a virtual monopoly in the industry.”
January 5, 1939: Eleven years after a brief visit to Vegas and saying she would like to live here someday, aviatrix Amelia Earhart is declared legally dead, two years after going missing in the South Pacific.
January 6, 1995: For $50,000, the city council has hired consultants from Cleveland to study the feasibility of turning Cashman Field into a 60,000-seat domed stadium.
January 7, 1960: National advice columnist Abigail Van Buren, “Dear Abby,” speaks to Rancho High School students about “going steady, courting in automobiles, girls in slacks, and teen marriages.”
January 8, 1913: The Consolidated Power and Telephone Company reports the first street lamps in town should be installed by February.
January 9, 2009: The Business Women’s Club says Nevada’s slogan, “One Sound State,” is discredited by our lack of needed tax revenues.
January 10, 2002: With $1.47 million in tax revenue spent so far to keep it from being torn down, the historic Huntridge Theater’s future still remains “uncertain.”
January 11, 1995: Our semi-professional hockey team, the Las Vegas Thunder, defeats the Cleveland Lumberjacks, 5-0, in its second season at the Thomas and Mack Center. During its amazing first season, the Thunder tallied the best record in the IHL with 52 wins and 18 losses.
January 12, 1924: Industrial engineer H.E. Davis from Los Angeles predicts the Las Vegas Valley may become one of the world’s “garden spots” — with an estimated population of up to 25,000 people someday.
January 13, 1910: In a meeting at the schoolhouse to better understand “difficulties confronting teachers,” parents are urged to support instructors “in all action necessary to preserve order” in their children’s classrooms.
January 14, 1962: Two local parents have been arraigned in court after ordering two of their sons to beat up their other brother when he refused “to give up his babysitting money for his parents to buy liquor.”
January 15, 1929: The population of Vegas has hit 7,000.
January 16, 1932: Actor Rex Bell, husband of movie star Clara Bow, is robbed of $800 on Fremont Street by two thugs.
January 17, 1983: Nevada Power Company boasts of record profits, more than $42 million, for the previous year.
January 18, 1969: After two months studying the situation “of the extremely isolated Negro Westside ghetto in Las Vegas,” sociologist Louis Vitale has surmised that “people who live under segregation build up fantasies about the other side. Whites don’t know what the Negroes are yelling about, and Negroes don’t know how the whites think.”
January 19, 1974: The Spook Who Sat by the Door, directed by Ivan Dixon, is playing at a Downtown movie theater. It depicts an all-out black revolution in America led by a former CIA agent.
January 20, 2005: KTNV-TV Channel 13 investigates how its white weather-forecaster Rob Blair’s racial slur made it onto the airwaves, when Blair, a day before the MLK holiday, said, “For tomorrow, sunshine, 60 degrees, Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day ...”
January 21, 1981: At a convention of firefighters, Clark County Fire Chief Roy Parrish compares the MGM Grand Hotel fire this past November to science fiction, saying, “As the fire raced through the football-field-sized casino at 17 feet per second, temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit; 6,000 occupants were sleeping upstairs.” The fire killed 87 people.
January 22, 1969: District Attorney George Franklin announces: “A Mod Squad of teenagers will be formed to help uncover narcotics peddlers in our schools.”
January 23, 1932: Four area children have been stricken with infectious spinal meningitis the past week.
January 24, 1950: The Union Pacific whistle sounds curfew at 9:45 p.m., weekdays, and 11:45 p.m. on weekends for kids under 16.
January 25, 1929: Boulder Dam Park, “the logical residence for Boulder Dam workmen,” is offering residential lots, 25 by 102 feet, for $98 each.
January 26, 2005: Twenty-six-year veteran Rod Jett has recently been promoted to assistant sheriff, becoming the highest-ranking black police officer in Metro’s history.
January 27, 1951: “Must be an A-bomb,” one player at the roulette table in The Golden Nugget says casually at 5 a.m. as the sky outside suddenly lights up while the floor trembles during the first nuclear blast on American soil in six years, 100 miles away at “the Las Vegas proving ground.”
January 28, 1995: A recent study reports that fallout from nuclear testing during the 1950s in Nevada “dumped a lifetime dose of radioactivity on North Dakota and its children.”
January 29, 1950: The first suicide attempt at Hoover Dam is thwarted when paroled murderer Jake Jaramillo is restrained from jumping by three dam guards.
January 30, 219,998,312 BCE: A mile above the Vegas Valley, gigantic deep-diving dinosaurs, or ichthyosaurs, swim in this tropical sea while lunching on a buffet of large cephalopods, called belemnites.
January 31, 1948: Two cans of sardines in our valley cost 19 cents.