As the valley evolves, sometimes we’re eager to kick out the old and bring in the new.
Historic casinos are altered into luxury hotels. Classic neon signs are modernized into high-tech marquees. Old homes are reconstructed into high-rise lofts.
But thanks to the Clark County Museum, the Goumond house will remain a piece of Las Vegas-area history.
The home, on the 1830 S. Boulder Highway museum’s Heritage Street, was named for and owned by Prosper J. Goumond.
Built in 1931, the 1,400-square-foot home was originally at 420 S. Seventh St. It contained a full basement and one of the first private pools in Las Vegas, according to Mark Hall-Patton, Clark County Museum administrator.
“P.J. Goumond moved his family from Ely to Las Vegas in the late 1920s and bought the home in 1935 from Jake Hagenson,” Hall-Patton said. “Goumond was known as an early gaming businessman.”
In 1929, Goumond and three other partners opened the Boulder Club on Fremont Street, which cost about $60,000.
“The Boulder Club was interestingly the first club to have a neon sign downtown,” Hall-Patton said. “It opened before gaming and alcohol were legal, so it would have just been officially a club with no drinking or gambling, which we all believe, of course.”
The club closed around 1960 after a fire. It was later sold to the Binion family and used to expand the Horseshoe Club, now known as Binion’s.
In 1941, Goumond purchased Tule Springs, now known as Floyd Lamb Park, and expanded it to create a dude ranch. It served as a divorce ranch where individuals could rent rooms for six weeks while finalizing their divorce, according to Hall-Patton.
“When we made it easier to get divorced in Nevada, we did it at the same time we legalized gaming,” he said. “It was for the same reason: to bring income into the state. The idea was that if it was easy to get an (uncontested) divorce, people would come over and spend their money gambling.”
After Goumond’s death in 1954, his home was used as a rental property until it was donated to the museum by a local law group.
“We only take structures if they are historical and are going to be destroyed,” Hall-Patton said. “We don’t take anything that can stay in its original location.”
In 1984, the house was transported to the museum grounds, which required the removal and separate transportation of the rockwork and carport.
The home was restored to a 1950s time period because of some previous modifications, according to Dawna Jolliff, curator of exhibits.
“It was most noticeable in the kitchen, which was probably modified in the late ’40s or early ’50s,” Jolliff said. “We decided that since we already had a house that depicted the ’30s, we needed a house that could depict the ‘50’s.”
Using a 1950s Sears color guide, Jolliff selected authentic color schemes that best suited each room. The majority of the furniture was donated or purchased from thrift shops.
“At the time of the renovation, the mid-century modern style wasn’t particularly popular, so many items were found in thrift stores,” Jolliff said. “In fact, the registrar and I found the sofa in the living room at a thrift store and had it reupholstered into the color that we wanted.”
The museum had the electrical system rewired to bring it up to code and installed air conditioning units for visitors and the artifacts.
“It was a long process, which took about 15 years,” Jolliff said. “A part of the problem was funding because we had to apply for grants and get donations. It was such a big project because it was one of the biggest houses we brought in.”
Funding was provided by the Southern Nevada Historical Society, the Clark County Museum Guild, the Preservation Association of Clark County and the State of Nevada 125th Anniversary Committee.
The museum and its outdoor Heritage Street buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children and seniors.
For more information, visit tinyurl.com/76278e8 or call 702-455-7955.
Contact Henderson View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.