Monday, October 6, 2008

Winterwood Ranch

One of the largest tracts of land set aside for farming in the Las Vegas Valley was purchased by John C. Winters and his Winterwood Land Company. If you go to the Nevada Division of State Lands Land Patent Database, and enter "Winterwood Land Co." into the Patentee field, you will see patents granted in 1914 and 1915 for nearly 5000 acres!

A Google Earth map shows lots that once held the Winterwood Ranch, located just west of the Las Vegas wash, south of what is now Charleston Blvd East and east of what is now Pecos.

The Winterwood Land Company (aka the Clark County Land Company) began efforts to start a farm in Las Vegas around 1911. A 16-Sep-1911 Las Vegas Age article, titled Another Well Rig reported the arrival of a well rig to begin drilling for artesian water on the property. Just a week later, the 23-Sep-1911 Las Vegas Age reported, in the article Land Company Gets Busy, plans for 340 acres to be cultivated the first year.

If you read old articles about Winterwood (Las Vegas Age, 18-Oct-1913, 15-Oct-1913, 15-Nov-1913, 29-Nov-1914, 17-Jan-1914) it's interesting to note how much concern was given to improving the six-mile stretch of Winterwood Boulevard. This is noteworthy, as a search only brings up a very short stretch of road, that is likely not the original Winterwood Blvd.

On 31-Jan-1914, a Las Vegas Age article reported that after an ambitious start in 1911, the Winterwood Ranch property lay mostly dormant. The owners, John C. Winters, John M.Prophet and Charles H. Palmer had just agreed to sell to a "syndicate of Japanese capitalists."

According to a 13-Nov-1915 article, after many months of negotiations, the nearly 5000 acres passed into the hands of Mr. L. Lindsey and associates, of Los Angeles. Their plans were to begin cultivating a large amount of alfalfa. Just a few years later, a 01-Nov-1919 article reported that Charles S. Sprague of Goldfield planned to purchase the Lindsey tract. An 08-Sep-1920 article noted that cotton was being grown there, but it seems that only a small portion of the 5000 acres was actualy being used.

According to a 1954 Las Vegas Valley map in the UNLV Digital collection, by the mid-1950s, the land was well broken up. The largest portion was owned by S. J. Lawson. The Las Vegas Review Journal's list of The First 100 people who shaped Las Vegas includes information on Ed Clark. Among other things, Clark "ran Las Vegas' first bank, its first telephone company, and its first power company." The article mentions that he mentored "S.J. Lawson, who would succeed him as president of the power company." This is probably the same S. J. Lawson who acquired a portion of the Winterwood Ranch.

Archive News Articles

Archive issues of the Las Vegas Age include interesting articles about farming in the early 1900s. They include:

  • 21-Feb-1914
    Clark County is Rich Land

    Overview of farming in the county including a description of irrigating with water from artesian wells, the fruits, nuts and vegetables that are grown, where produce is sold and the early population of Clark County.
  • 18-Feb-1922
    Los Angeles C of C Sends Expert Here

    Dr. George P. Clements, head of agricultural research for the LA Chamber of Commerce visits some of the leading ranches in Las Vegas. The article includes a list of committee members who met with him, and the ranches they visited.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tule Springs

Blodgett, Nay, Hefner, Ward, Goumond and more
Floyd Lamb State Park at Tule Springs is probably one of the largest areas in the Las Vegas Valley that has changed hands several times, and still remains open land. A Google Earth aerial view shows the nearly 700 acres that make up the park.

An interesting Tule Springs article appeared on page 6 of the 26-May-1906 issue of the Las Vegas Age newspaper, noting an abandoned Tule Springs, and encouraging an "intelligent tiller of the soil" to establish a home there. Although it wouldn't stay empty for long, this suggests that no one lived near the spring at the time.

Tracing the history of this land requires following 17, 40-acre parcels that were passed through several different owners. According to an early 1900s map showing flowing water in Las Vegas, the original artesian well was supposed to have been located in the NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of section 9 of Township 19S, Range 60-E

Goumond: 1941 thru 1964
The most recent private owner of this property was Margo Goumond Hines, who inherited around 680 acres of land when her grandfather, Prosper Jacob Goumond died at the age of 70. A 1954 Las Vegas Valley map shows the land he had accumulated by then.

According to an search Goumond was born in Indiana in December 1876. In 1892, he married Ona Belle Prindle (born in Ohio, June 1878.) They had a daughter, Neva M. Goumond in September of 1998. Soon after the couple divorced, Goumond married Gertrude, who gave birth to Charles Harold Goumond in August of 1900 in Nebraska.

The Goumonds moved to Las Vegas, along with their son Charles (a musician) and his wife, Margaret (Marguerite?) C. Duffy. In September of 1930, Charles and Margaret had a daughter, whom they named Margo Marilyn Goumond. Four years later, Charles died. A search of the Clark County marriage records shows that Marguerite Duffy Goumond was remarried in 1934, to Cliff M. DeVaney, who moved down from northern Nevada. In 1938, Goumond's wife, Gertrude died. The family is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the center of Las Vegas.

According to the Tule Springs Preservation Committee's web page on the community link, Prosper Goumond opened the Boulder Club on Fremont Street in the 1940s. In 1941, after buying the Tule Springs Ranch, he expanded it, eventually acquiring 880 acres. In 1946, Goumond created a man-made lake, and by 1949, there were more than 100 acres of alfalfa planted. To get an idea where Goumond planted his fields, you can go to the Nevada Division of Water Resources web page, click Water Rights Database and then click that you accept the terms of using the database. After doing a Permit Search using Goumond as the Owner Name you will find three records. One is to allow water for a swimming pool, and the other two are for alfalfa fields. The Permit Map shows land Goumond planned to irrigate.

The Goumond's daughter-in-law and her husband lived on the ranch, where Cliff DeVaney became foreman. According to the Preservation Committee's history “Initially, the ranch was a private retreat for Goumond and his friends; eventually, it became a guest ranch with motel-like apartments available. Tule Springs was one of several guest ranches or dude ranches that operated during the postwar boom in the Las Vegas economy.”

In 1946, Goumond died, leaving the property to his grandaughter Margo, when she was just 24 years old. Margo’s stepfather eventually moved to Wells, Nevada, where he became a cattle rancher. She sold the ranch “to a group of businessmen in 1959 for $200,000. For a while it was leased and operated as a working ranch .” In 1964, the Tule Springs ranch was sold to the City of Las Vegas, and converted to a city park.

Early 1910's owners
The illustration below shows owners of what is now Floyd Lamb State Park at Tule Springs, according to an early J. T. McWilliams Artesian well map created some time between 1910 and 1920.

Blodgett: 1916
The original land patent for the parcel claimed to have held an artesian well in the early 1900s was given to Millard W. Blodgett. According to an search, it doesn't appear that Blodgett lived in Las Vegas for long (if, at all.) He was born in Ohio around 1851. His parents were from New York, and he moved there for a while where he met his wife, Viola. They eventually moved to California and perhaps he either purchased the land on his way through, or he sponsored another farmer. At the time that this land patent was issued, John Hebert ("Bert") Nay is reported to have had a ranch at the upper Tule Spring.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Land Patents

The National Archives web page on land records says that Land Patents are "the legal documents that transferred land ownership from the U.S. Government to individuals." Patents were granted only when a transfer was complete. This means that if an individual was not able to complete the contract, a patent would not have been issued.

This information is useful in that much of the land in the Las Vegas Valley changed hands several times before a patent was issued. For example, an early map created by J. T. McWilliams lists owners of section 9 in Township 19S, Range 60E as shown in the following illustration (note that this is a best guess at the spelling of names from a map found here, in the UNLV Digital Archives.)

Much of this land did not receive patents until afer 1912. A search of the Nevada State Land Patent Database shows patents received before 1930 as shown below.

Notice that the first property transfer from section 9, township 19S, range 60E did not occur until 1913 and that by 1930 there were still four 40-acre parcels on the east side that had not been completely transferred.