Commissioner Scow Invites Media to Preview Historic Railroad Cottage, Root Cellar Opening at County Museum
Clark County Commissioner Mary Beth Scow is inviting the news media to preview the historic railroad cottage and root cellar exhibits at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, in advance of a formal dedication ceremony on Saturday at the Clark County Museum, 1830 S. Boulder Highway.
Museum staff and volunteers are putting the finishing touches on exhibit work inside the cottage this week in preparation of Saturday’s 11 a.m. dedication near the front porch of the cottage.
The cottage is the first of only a handful of remaining cottages in the valley to be renovated to historic condition and opened as a public exhibit. It also is one of the most intact examples left of 64 modest homes built between 1909 and 1911 to house railroad employees in a four-block area of downtown Las Vegas. The cottages were built by the Las Vegas Land and Water Company, a subsidiary of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, and represent the first housing division in the community.
“The cottage is a must-see attraction for anyone who appreciates our local history,” said Commissioner Scow, whose Commission District G includes the museum. “It has been a labor of love among hundreds of dedicated professionals and volunteers to preserve and renovate this cottage for public viewing. When you walk inside the front door, you’ll be able to see the living room, a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, and you’ll get a wonderful sense of how families lived here near the turn of the 20th century.”
The cottage was originally located at 521 S. 3rd St. It was donated by the Cram family and moved to the museum’s grounds in 2002. It stands near a caboose and the original Boulder City Depot, built in 1931, which was the first building to move to the museum grounds in 1975. The renovated cottage will feature furnishings from 1910 to 1920, including a claw foot bathtub and rebuilt sinks, toilet and electrical fixtures. Renovations were funded by the County, the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial, the Clark County Museum Guild and the state of Nevada Commission on Cultural Affairs. Four other cottages have been relocated to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Five more exist downtown in varying condition and are in use where the original housing division was located.
The root cellar is buried in a hilltop overlooking the museum’s property. The cellar, used to store food, milk, eggs and other items before refrigerators became common, was part of Bishop Ranch and helps teach the story of historic archaeology. The ranch operated from 1905 to approximately 1917 and was located along the Las Vegas Wash in an area that is now part of Clark County Wetlands Park. While not open for tours, the cellar includes a handful of bottles and a 300-pound bag of flour, now rock, that were discovered inside during excavation work.
Preservation of the root cellar was a joint effort by Clark County, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Las Vegas Valley Water District, Bureau of Reclamation and HRA Archaelogy. It was moved to the museum in 2008, with renovations being completed in recent months.
The opening of the railroad cottage and root cellar coincides with the year-long observance of the approach of Nevada’s 150th birthday on Oct. 31, 2014. The Clark County Museum also has a display in its lobby entitled, “Welcome to Las Vegas, Arizona,” in honor of the state’s sesquicentennial. The exhibit ponders the question of what today’s Las Vegas might look like if Clark County and the Las Vegas Valley hadn’t become part of the Silver State. The territory that includes Clark County was added to the Silver State on Jan. 18, 1867, more than two years after Nevada was admitted to the Union.
In addition to the new railroad cottage and root cellar, the 30-acre Clark County Museum has a unique collection of historic buildings that depict daily life from important periods in local history. The collection includes a wedding chapel, print shop, and several restored homes all open for self-guided tours. The indoor exhibit hall features displays about Southern Nevada history from prehistoric to modern times. The museum operates daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. The phone number is (702) 455-7955. ###
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark County is the nation’s 12th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 43 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.