Vegas' Best Booster - February 9, 1957
I have written something in this column before about my very dear friend, Dr. Roy W. Martin, the best booster Vegas ever had. This time I am inspired by the visit of his brother, Dr. Charles J. Martin, a few days ago. Dr. Martin lived in Vegas for nine or ten ears before leaving here in 1915 to take up the task of studying medicine. Since then, Dr. "Chick" Martin has engaged very successfully in the practice of his profession and is now living in peaceful retirement in Ostoria, Oregon. Our one hour visit of gossip brought to mind many things I had almost forgotten.
I think I have told how Roy came to Las Vegas just after he received his degree, about the middle of August 1905, and engaged with enthusiasm in every community activity - even to winning the 100 yard foot race at the Labor Day celebration, September, 1905.
When the Las Vegas & Tonopah railroad was built by Senator Clark in 1906, he was elated when he was appointed Chief Surgeon for the railroad. He began his career of hospital building immediately by putting up a tent containing a couple of beds, in what was then called Buol Town, near the new railroad where its tracks made the turn to the northwest towards the desert and Goldfield. Of course, "Chick" helped operate it. Then, Roy, in a burst of hopefulness, rented the second floor of the Thomas block, corner of Fremont and First, where the Silver Palace was built. This was great thing for Las Vegas and we felt quite like a city. This hospital served us until Roy bought the "Palace Hotel" on Second Street, a two story frame structure, and fitted it up like a modern hospital as nearly as possible, which served until Roy built the Las Vegas Hospital on Eighth and Ogden Streets.
Dr. Martin was the chief figure and "hero" of many episodes, in a few of which I had a part. One of these was a trip in Dr. Martin's new air cooled Franklin to Reno, which, instead of the usual two days, took a toilsome three. We left Las Vegas about noon. In those days the automobile highway from here to Beatty consisted of a few wagon tracks through the sand, going down around through Ash Meadows, where "Dad" Fairbanks (for man years after that a prominent figure at Baker, Calif.) had a ranch. From Ash Meadows the whole country as far as Beatty was a wilderness of blow sand, over which we had a hard, slow drive, finally arriving in Beatty about midnight.
Next morning everything was rosy again and we had a hopeful wonder as to whether we could make Reno that day. But when we were some 20 miles from Beatty we ran into flood waters from a cloudburst in the hills to the west, but we continued on and when darkness overtook us we were fighting our way through a sea of water on a dry lake about six inches deep. In spite of all obstacles, and by virtue of Roy's indomitable spirit, we finally reached the luxurious Goldfield Hotel late that night.
We were sure we could easily make Reno from there in one day. Some oldtimers may remember that in those days the automobile road went almost due nothing from Tonopah, instead of due west as it does now, and crossed the mountain range 30 or 40 miles east of Mina. AGain it was evening when we reached that metropolis and we were about tired out when we retired in Mina's only hotel, "The Baker." At that time, as we found to our sorrow, the old frame two story hotel was infested with the most savage and persistent bedbugs I ever met. We had scant sleep and were most happy to reach the comfort of the Golden Hotel at Reno that afternoon.