Black Springs, Nevada – A Study In Perseverance

Black Springs:
Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow

Late October Kenneth & Demetrice Dalton of Our story, Inc had an opportunity to sit down and talk with the some of the residence of Black Springs. They met in their community center with Thurman & Mae Carthen, Matthew Moore, Roy & Shelley Moore, and Carrie Fitz.

Demetrice – Please give us your name and how long you have been a resident of Black Springs?

Thurman Carthen

Thurman – Thurman Carthen Sr. Uh…. Ive been here for fifty-four years. WellI was here when jack rabbits were here. Yep, dirt roads. The fact that we had to build roads out of rocks and when you got off of the track where the rocks were you were stuck. It would take sometimes like an hour and a half to get from Eugenes, which is two blocks uh .. half a mile down, I would say, up to the highway And it was one of those situations where one person would get stuck and the others would pull them out and we kept pulling each other out till we got to the main road. So everyone thought each time we go to leave to get the other person out, make sure that everyone was out, going to work And it would take sometimes an hour and a half to just get from down there to up here because the streets were nothing but mud And so finally we had the idea that we just had to get rocks and put them where we could drive on the rocks. And it wasnt no use of you thinking of getting to the side for someone to pass. That was out completely. If you pulled off those rocks you was stuck. And so that was just one of the things from the start that we had to go through.

Mae – Im Mae Ella Carthen and Ive been here fifty-four years. Weve been married sixty-two years, sixty-one years, Thurman and I. Its not been an easy chore with raising kids out here. But we made it.

Kenneth – And how many kids did you have?

Mae – Nine. We had six when we came here and we had three Nevadans. I remember when we first started having to haul water. We get on the back of Cecils truck with those great big barrels up there. And me, I was pregnant as a goose, and I would get up there with em, and we would ride to town because nobody else would give us water but a man named old man Foster. He had a service station right there on Virginia street, and he was the only one who would give us water. We could tell you some stories. He was the only one that would give us water.

Mea Carthen

Kenneth -Thats interesting. There are two stations, one is Fosters

Roy – Yeah. Fosters. Yeah. Yeah. Thats where you guys used to buy your kerosene at and he gave you water right?

Thurman – All the gas and oil.

Mae – That service station that old man Foster had is no longer there. Its a bridge across there.

Kenneth – Right. Going across 395 there are two gas stations. One is an AM PM and the other one says Foster.

Mae – Right on Sierra.

Kenneth – Yeah

Mae – I dont know if that owner is related to the old man foster or not. Ill just assume he is.

Matthew – Uh, my name is Matthew Moore. Ive lived in the community for twenty-four years, pretty much all my life. I havent seen all that much. I mean I remember when there were just a few families out here. The play ground changed three or four different times from the old metal to the plastic to the plastic with swings and then how it is now days.

Matthew Moore

Kenneth – – Twenty-four years. How old are you?

Matthew – Ill turn twenty-five next month.

Kenneth – Oh. O.K. You are not much older than 25 years.

Roy – He was just one year old when we moved out here.

Mae – I used to baby sit this boy! ( Laughter)

Shelley – My name is Shelley Moore and Im Matthews Mom. We signed the papers for our house on his first birthday and we moved out right before Thanksgiving. And when my husband brought me out here and showed me the house that he had plans to buy I said, Ok. Thats a nice joke. Now wheres the real house? Because the house was condemned. The roof was falling in, the weeds were up to your waist, it was ridiculous. I thought, Well, hes a big jokester. Im thinking theres a house around the corner. Thats really the one were going to. And he said, No baby. I can fix this up. This is going to be it. Well if anybody can fix it up I know he could. And twenty-five years later, twenty-four years later, we got a beautiful house, but I was concerned at first. We have wonderful neighbors, Mae and Thurman are our neighbors and we got a lot of good memories. Ours does not go back as far as theirs, but weve seen a lot of change in this community and we are just glad to be a part of it because its a nice family oriented community. If there is a problem out here, your neighbors come together to help you out. So I really love it out here.

Shelley Moore

Roy – My name is Roy Moore. We live at 280 Kennedy Drive, out on the corner here across from the Center, And as Shell says, weve been here twenty-four years. When we bought the place we bought the land, the house was condemned, so when we bought the land the house was free. The kids had played in it for about three years, it was empty. There had been no water or nothing out there. I understand at one time it was a pretty place there. There were a lot of trees, garden and everything on the corner there, but without water for three years it leaves nothing left. So when we moved in it was in November and it was starting to get cold. Winter was coming on. And we sealed the house off, all except one room, the living room, and we lived in that living room that winter as I worked on the rest of the house, trying to put it back together to make a house. And twenty-four, twenty-five years later weve got a nice home. Were very comfortable in it. Still working on it. My kids say theyll be glad when I run out of land so I can quite building on it. But uh.. Ive seen quite a few changes around here. All of our neighbors are very good. There is no bad neighbors in this neighborhood. And Mae and Thurman, they took us in the day we moved in. Theyve been just like parents to us. And anytime weve ever needed anything we go across the road, if they needed something they would come across the road. Ive kind of stood out in the neighborhood. Ive had a lot of people in the neighborhood thats come to ask for help for this or that and the other. Im some what of a handy man and if anyone in this neighborhood has need of me I can help em. Its just Im from the old school. Thats the way I am. And almost everybody in this neighborhood Ive given a hand. And Im highly respected in this neighborhood. I had a person just a couple of weeks ago say, Everybody that comes by here speaks and waves. Well you know, Ive been a neighbor here for about twenty-four years. Ive helped each and everyone of them. Its been nice. Thats what it takes in this world. Just pulling together and coming together as a community. And as my wife said, when something goes wrong we get a petition or something and everybody is on the ball. Weve had meetings here in this building and filled this room with different things thats going on. And so its been good. And Thurman, he didnt say, but he is the president of the water board and Im the Vice President Chair. Ms Mae, she also is on the water board. So we all work together out here and hopefully we will continue to work together and all be good neighbors.

Roy Moore

Kenneth – Thats good. You still have water rights out here?

Roy – Were still holding so far. They tried to take them away from us several years back when Westbrook was alive. And a gentlemen from Reno came out here and found out that fire could come out of a persons mouth cause Ms Westbrook tried to burn him up I think. He was fool enough to say that they would condemn our water and take it away from us And then that woman, oh, I thought she was going to whip him. Oh she went off on that man. They have not bothered us since then. This has been several year ago since they made that statement.

Kenneth – Water rights are big in Nevada.

Roy – Oh. You got that right!

Mae – This volunteer fire department over here, we help build that fire department. Well when we finished up, we had lot of volunteers for a while, and then all at once, well there is something about volunteers work, everybody scattered after a while. And then there was only two, that was Thurman and Dickey up the street. Thurman and Dickey did it all by themselves practically.

Kenneth – Who was the first Chief. It wasnt Lobster right? Wasnt he like the second?

Thurman – It was Jones. Arthur C. Jones?

Original Black Springs Volunteer Fire Department Building

Mae – I dont know. Do you remember?

Fitz – I thought it was Lobster. But I think Lobster took it after someone else left here.

Mae – Maybe it was Jones.

Thurman – Yeah. It was Jones and then Lobster.

Fitz – It should be on the wall here at the center.

Kenneth – I was looking at that.

Mae – Gosh it was so many people out here then. Black people. It was a lot of Black people out here.

Fitz – It was nothing but blacks out here. It was nothing but blacks out here.

Thurman – Two white. Higgins up on…..

Fitz – Higgins and Brown? They came out later. But before they came out it was completely black.

Thurman – Completely black?

Black Springs Fire Department Badge

Kenneth – We didnt get Carrie in.

Fitz – My name is Carrie Townsell-Fitz. And I moved here June of fifty-six. When Jeff and I moved here we had four children. Helen was the baby. And we stayed with Mother and Ollie for about three weeks. Then moved right up the street. We rented a house for three months Al together we had seven children. The last three, were born here in Nevada. But anyway, when I moved here you could count the people that lived out here then. The Robinsons, Ms. Turner, Mother and Ollie, and Cecil Carthen lived here. The Stevens lived also. In Fact Mr. Jose wired every home in Black Springs at that time. And you could tell he knew what he was doing because it had to be approved by the city of Reno, and they were all approved. But like I said, when I moved out here it was mostly, well it was all black and our street, which is Westbrook now, was North street. I dont remember the details, but after the streets were paved, my mother, Ms. Westbrook, renamed the streets. The building used as our first community center was donated to this community by Probasco Construction. Not only did they donate it, they had transported it out here. Blacks could not buy downtown. They were only allowed to go downtown and go to work. Thats it. And then make it back to Black Springs. But, it was a man named J. E. Sweat. He had all of this property and he divided it off because he wanted blacks to own property also. He divide it off and started selling them. Jeff and I acquired our property because an older couple that bought from J.E. Sweat had to relocate for health reasons. And we got that property for nine hundred dollars. Ive always like to live in the country. I dont know why. Ive just been a country girl. I think its a beautiful community out here. And then pretty soon they did, after a few walk-ins, walks and sit-ins down town, they did open up to blacks and then some of the blacks started moving downtown to live. Then whites started moving out, and it was real nice.

Carrie Townsell-Fitz

Kenneth – So when everybody moved in, including the Moores, there wasnt a 395. So you had to go by here to get to Reno. North Virginia.

Fitz – Yes. That was the only road we had. The Moores are beautiful people. The whole family. Ive got some really good neighbors. They look out for me.

Shelley – I think one nice thing its always been with having the kids out here is you always felt safe. They could go outside and they could play. You could come down to the play ground and you didnt have to worry about who was around, if someone was going to snatch them. The kids would spend hours out there playing and you would have to call them in for supper. But you never have to worry about any badness going on which is something.

Fitz – I would like to share one thing. When Jeff and I first bought the property it was only two rooms. It was a kitchen and a bedroom. We didnt have restrooms out there at that time. We moved in there to keep from paying rent. We had bunk beds and double beds in that one room, and the kitchen in the other. At the time Jeff was doing construction and would come and work on the house until nine or ten oclock at night digging a hole for a foundation. And every year we would save up money and add one room at a time. And eventually got four bedrooms. Ive always complimented him on what he did and how he did it. And you know it was really something. We had all those children and he built that house that Im living in now. You know it is something to be thankful for.

Mae – Where else could you do that but right out here. We would not have been allowed to do it anywhere else

Fitz – And when we first started building we purchased lumber from Copelands. Because they would not give us credit we had to save every year to add a room. I think about the third year they let us start getting credit with them. Theyre closed now but they were located at Sixth and Valley Road. Copelands Lumber Company. Thats where we got all the lumber that is in that house.

Kenneth – That why we are here so that we can get that information and share with other people. Just to share the stories weve heard so far and people being able to read and hear the stories you are talking about, you know, working everyday, coming home, building a room at a time.

Fitz – And he would have to wet the ground that morning early while he was getting ready for work so it would be soft cause this is some hard ground out here.

Thurman – Yeah. Woo ooo

Mae – His brother Cecil is why were up here in the first place. He came up here and he started working. Well Al was here then. Al and Lavern. They told him that the possibilities for getting good jobs was out here in Nevada. So Cecil came out here, paved the way. He started working for.

Kenneth – Where did you come from?

Mae – Oklahoma. He started working for Ford Motor Company. Richardson and Lovelock as it was then.

Thurman – It was a two story building, right across from Richardson and Lovelock that we tore down. The lumber, the bricks and all of that we brought out here. Its a lot of these houses that got that in them. In fact the first church, First Baptist, that lumber came from there. For the Robinsons, Frank Robinson, there house down there, it was built out of it. There was another little house that my Dad came out, he built one there out of that lumber. Now the building was straight across from where we worked. And we would get off at 5 oclock from Richardson and Lovelock, go across the street and tare down the building until 12 oclock. We would have to load up on that truck and bring it out here. When we got it out here we had to unload it because we had to drive the truck back the next morning. And that church, when they remolded it, show how the Lord blessed everything, it was wired up. My brother had tied it together. He squeezed that church together. That wire was there holding it when they remodeled it.

Kenneth – Wow

Mae – Mmm mmm..They used what they had. Right there. They used what they had. And they ran into those problems when they remodeled it. And they saw a lot of things that was wire together and put together but it was still holding.

Thurman – That place there now, its nails was spikes. They were not these modern nails now, they were spikes. The walls that were in that building, boy talk about having a time getting them out. Oh goodness. There a lot of spikes in that church. Thats what was holding it. (laughter)

Fitz – When Mother and Ollie ( Ollie and Helen Westbrook) had appointments with the commissioners two men were often with them. I just wanted both of these men, who are deceased, to be recognized. Mr. Bufkin and Deacon Pedist was always there with them. And you know I think that they should be remembered for that. You know Mother would try to get Jeff and I to take off. We couldnt afford to. So one day she said, Im working too. I cant afford it, but we need this out here. But Deacon Pedist and Mr, Bufkin would be right there with them.

Mr. Barbet Bufkin Sr./Black Springs, Nv. One of the many unsung heros during the civil rights movement in Northern Nv

Mae – We was right there with em when they got the streets and in the conference about the roads and everything.

Kenneth – Theres sewer out here or is there septic tanks?

All – Sewer..sewer now

Kenneth – Theres sewer now?

Fitz – Yeah

Shelley – Back when we moved out here, which was 24 years ago, we hadnt signed the papers on the house yet. He came out and show us and everything and they were coming through with the sewer. And the guy said if you hook up now it is going to cost you fifty dollars. If you hook up next week its going to be like fifteen hundred dollars. So, we hadnt even signed the papers yet. We went ahead and hooked it up. Even if we hadnt got the property we would have only been out of fifty bucks, but if we had got the property and waited it would have cost a lot more. So we hooked the sewer up to that house before we even owned it.

Mae – Some people were blessed because they only had to pay three hundred fifty dollars for their lot.

Thurman – The community over here, Horizon Hills, right over here, you remember, they stopped on ours and went and hooked up over there. And we was the cause for them having sewage over there.

Kenneth and the Thurmans

Kenneth – So they did Horizon Hills first?

Thurman – Yeah

Mae – But we got the grant for it.

Kenneth – Oh

Thurman – We got the grant.

Mae – Just like we got the grant for the sewage and for the roads out here. But who got it first? Raleys and Scolaris and all those places over there because they were just building that up. One time they made a big ditch across 395 right in front of us. Right in front of us! On our side of the street. And hooked up water all the way to Stead. We ask could we get on it. Nope! We could not get on it.

Kenneth – So everybody here right now, with the water rights, has their own well or do you just have one well?

Roy – We have three wells. And we are on our own GID water system right now.

Kenneth – Pump house and everything?

Roy – Yeah. Pump house. And when the power lines went through, all the communities got so much money because of the power lines going through. We took a hundred thousand dollars and put that in that building up there. And we got one of the most sophisticated computer systems. Everything is on a computer. If anything goes wrong it calls. The wells are all set-up. Madger well is our main well, and if it should get in a bind or something happens, it automatically calls on the telephone. The other well, it kicks on automatically, and if were really using a lot of water or if anything is going wrong or the tank got low for whatever reason, it will call the third well, and it is all computerized. We get it tested every five or six weeks. Right? And we put absolutely nothing in the water. We drink it as it comes out of the ground. Its not even filtered. We have the purest water right here in the state of Nevada. And Reno would love, oh they would love At one time, the same time I was speaking about Ms Westbrook and them, they had wanted.. Horizon Hills over here, they have so much iron in their water. They had to give up their water over there to hook up with the city because all their sinks and tubs and everything would just have brown streaks in them if they dripped or ran. So they came out here and they wanted to tie our water system into Horizon Hills and let it circulate.. No! No! No! We dont need no iron. We got good water right here. (Laughter)

The Moores

Mae – The round- about.

Thurman – Yeah. Show was.

Mae – And we want you to know that as of December (2010) we will no longer be on the board, he will ( Matthew) and my son Keith (Carthen) will, but um well no longer be on the board. Weve been on there too long.

Roy – Not by choice. kicked off.

Fitz – How long have you been on there Thurman?

Thurman – Oh, since 72

Kenneth – Limit out, huh.

All – Laughter

Shelley – Was it 85? They passed the law on term limit and they included GID. So last year when we went down to put our name on the ballot, like we do every time that we are supposed to, they signed us all up, and everything was good. About two weeks later each of us got a letter that said due to these term limits you are not eligible to be on the board anymore. The problem is weve got five board members on the water board, no one was eligible to be on it and because they waited to tell us after the day you could put your name on the ballot nobody could run. So we actually went to court and said you are leaving us with nobody on our water board to run it. Its a safety hazard. Plus the fact of the way you did this whole thing, we cant even get anybody to run it and take it over. So they actually allowed two of our members to stay on, and were training people right now. But come January the people that we are training will go down and be appointed by the commissioners, and then after that they will to go and put their name on the ballot for the next go-round. But the way he did that was really.

Mae – They re-working it.

Shelley – Yeah

Roy – They are going to allow Ms. Mae and me to stay on the water board and our kids, are going to be the ones that will take over. But they are going to allow Ms. Mae and I to stay on another year and just to keep things going as far as teaching. Theyve been showing up for meetings and learning whats going on, but theyre going to let us hang around a little longer. If I know Thurman, hell be around for those meeting anyway so.

Thurman – Laughter

Roy – Yes he will.

Kenneth – How you feel about that Matthew? Thats a big deal.

Matthew – Feel good about it. Um Im pretty much right now the work horse of it. If anything goes wrong in the neighborhood Ms. Mae gives a call, can you go check this out or can you go turn this water off

Roy – Ive been taking care of the problems around here for a long time. Matter of fact I just had a birthday day before yesterday, I turned sixty four.

All – Happy Birthday

Roy – The last eight years Matts been with me on everything I did around here. So he is quite knowledgeable about whats going on. So I let him do any and everything he wants to do. (Laughter)

Matthew Moore

Demetrice – What do you see as the future for Black Springs?

Matthew – Um, weve actually been talking with Bonnie Webber and the Commissioner about taking this building back over and opening it up, not really like a Boys and Girls Club, but where kids in this community can come in and they can have help on their homework, have a safe place to come and hang out. That way theyre not out in the streets doing what they could be doing. They would have a safe place to come and hang out. So, weve done a lot out here. Delivering turkey baskets every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Going door to door seeing if anyone needs any kind of food. We get the dumpsters out here, Bonnie Webber helps us with that, and we do an outreach to clean up. If anyone has any trash or anything we bring the dumpster. We dont need any old cars sitting in front of the houses or trash. Weve done a lot out here.

Shelley – And Matthew and his wife, they just bought a house out here.

Matthew – Our house is right across the street from the First Baptist

Shelley – From the church. So, he started out here and hes bringing his family

Kenneth – Good. Thats good. So the legacy continuestake care of business.

Fitz – Youth coming out here.

Kenneth – As my wife and I drove out here I told her that I thought there was another road that lead into Black Springs. Wasnt there supposed to be a road you could cut across to come in here?


Kenneth B. Dalton, Our Story, Inc. Founder and President


Roy – There used to be a dirt road now its a black top road. If you get off on Lemmon Valley you come under the bridge, take the black top all the way up to North Virginia. But theres only one way in, one way out of here. I fought that for I dont know how many years. I have been on the TV many times being interviewed about that. And one of the best times we had , and it was bad for Mr. Higgins here because his house had caught on fire and burned to the ground. And at that time they had 22 vehicles out here between the police and the paramedics, the fire engine and the tankers. You could not. matter of fact the school bus was in here and it couldnt get out. The streets ware blocked. Boy thats when I had my chance to really get with the news people and go at it. And theyve always used this dirt road back here and they put a bunch of boulders to keep us from going through there and we got the boulders move and we started using it back again, then they put the black top in and dug that huge ditch as a drainage. Well when they did that they blocked off our exit to get out. People are still drive through there

Shelley – Youve got to have four wheel drive to go that way.

Roy – And I dont know how we will ever get another. They were trying to let us use for the power lines, cross over, from Kennedy going over to Hindale, power lines going through there and they said maybe we could get an exit through there but it would cost a fortune to put a bridge in up there and right now with the times we are going through this would be the last place there are going to look at to put a bridge in

Fitz – Didnt they tell you guys it was the city, and the city said it was the county?

Roy and Fitz

Roy – Oh Thurman and I, we decided enough is enough. .We had so much junk out here that we said were the head of the water board here and were going to just take it into our hands and see what we can do about it so we went down to the county and took pictures. We went around and took pictures of all these places out here that look like junkyards and we said enough is enough so we went down to the county to see what we could do to get this cleaned up. And they said well you have to go to the city. And we went the city and said what can we do? Oh, well you have to go to the health department. We spent a day. We went to county, the city, the health dept which sent us back to the county. When we got back to the county they told us city .. just the run around. Just passing the buck

Kenneth – Theres been a lot of that.

Roy – But we found out that working with Bonnie Webber, and I really want to give her credit for that because she has done a world of stuff for us out here. As my son said, shes helped get dumpsters out here for cleanup. Shes done a lot for all of us out here. Having the meetings, and trying to get this building turned back over to us. Trying to get the firehouse turned back over to us. Shes been real good about calling meetings out here. She is just a big hand in a lot of the stuff we do out here. I give her credit for that.

Kenneth – You are talking about getting the volunteer fire dept going again?

Roy – Well, we kind of got into another loop on that. We have to jump through a lot of hoops to get anything done. We have to get officials behind us because our voice doesnt carry too far unless we get somebody to help us. Parks and Recreation took over the firehouse. And like I said we had an old antique fire engine and we lost it. I dont think anybody in this neighborhood knows yet how we lost the fire engine..

Thurman – Dont know

Roy – I don t know where it went. And Ive tried to find out where it did go. Just ran into a block wall anywhere I went. Then Bonnie Webber worked with us through Parks and Recreation whos been using this for years and now its just a storage. Now that Reno is in the bind that we are in, everywhere they got too many buildings that theyre trying to heat and up and keep. So they have agreed to let us use building to have our water board meetings in. Have it as our water board office. But when we go and get a piece of paper We had a young man who drew the papers all up. We asked him if he would draw up some plans as to what we need to do to the firehouse, to make legal for us to go in and have a office. He drew the papers all up and I took them down to Reno to get the permit and see what it was going to be and everything. They sent me up stairs to talk to the gentleman up there and when I went up there and he went through the plans and everything, he said that these plans are perfect. He said the only thing I see wrong is that you need an outside light on the front of the building. But everything that the boy had drawn up he said was perfect. He said, Is he a license contract? No, he has a handy mans license. He said, He cant build this and you cant use these drawing because he is not a licensed contractor. I said, Youre kidding me. He said, Nope. I said, You just told me these plans are perfect So instead of us getting with this boy and spending a few thousand dollars on it, because we agreed to put a new roof on it, all new trim, tear that big door out, put in two big windows, metal door in and a handicap ramp any and everything. He drew it all up perfect. The way it was going to be subdivided off and re dry walled, everything inside there. Instead of having this boy come in and do it they wanted us to go and get a license contractor to do all of this which is going to cost us lots of money. Were still in the process to see of if we can afford everything. And it is such an odd thing because this community built that building in the beginning, and the Parks and Recreation used it for all these years. And Im sorry but just telling it like it is, and Mae and Thurman both will back me on this, in the winter months when Parks and Recreation wasnt doing a lot, this was their hang-out. They had TV, coffee pot. They said this was their building. Now these guys could go in and spend eight, ten hours a day watching TV and do nothing, but we want to go in one hour a month and we have to completely remodel this thing. It was good enough for them to use but we have to redo all this other. Its just.

Kennedy – And why cant you use this building?

Roy – Oh we can, but its open and there are so many keys. Even in our office.. we have this room that they allow us to have our water board meetings in, but everybody got keys and there are some things we need to keep..

Mae – You will have to look at that little office back there, Its open in the front and there is no closure

Roy – We can only put four or five people in there and if we had a meeting, such as this, because theres no room.

Mae – We had all of our files in here, We had our own little office right in the back where we could go in and out the back door. Ok? This new building that they created knocked all of that out. We had our own files. They put our big file cabinet out on the porch and said that they were going to put it back in here. Never did. A strong wind came on day and blew it down and papers flew everywhere. We took pictures of it. I showed them to Bonnie Webber. But nothing ever come of it.

Thurman and Mea Carthen

Roy – We can go a little further than that. They used to have a little dome and off to the side they had a little kitchen. It was costing too much money for the insurance I guess because of the kitchen, so they came out to remodel this. That door and all that back there is new, the bathroom, huge room in the back and they made it a two story. Well when the power lines came through, not only did we put a few thousand dollars in our water system, we also donated a hundred thousand to Parks and Recreation for this building. Now it was wrote up a long time ago, and Helen has the papers, that if anybody in this community wants to use this building its no charge. But dont ask me how it got changed around. If any body in this community wants to use it you got to put up that three to five
hundred dollar deposit and then you got to put up for the building. And if its the weekend , which Park and Recreation is not open now, then they have a security that comes and locks and unlocks and you got to pay for that. And to mewe have fought this until we just about turned red in the face We gave one hundred thousand dollars and if any of us wants to use this, except for the water board, if anything else we want to use it for we got to pay. And we have fought this tooth and nail. And matter of fact the last meeting we had here with Bonnie Webber and Mr. Doug Mullens, Helen had a copy of that paper and it stated that if anybody in this community used that center it was no charge. Helen gave a copy of that to Bonnie and Doug took a copy. And this meeting was months ago and we still have not heard nothing about it. Whether it was good, bad , or ugly.

Mae – Because it wasnt theirs to begin with. It was donated. It was donated to this community. To us.

Fitz – I dont understand how Parks an Recreation can take over this building. I dont understand.

Kenneth- Me either and also you said you had to go to the city to get a permit. If this is county..

Westbrook Community Center

Roy – influence..county to city. Weve been in that now seven years, six seven years. That was another big deal. And Carrie, and Mea, and Thurman and the Westbrooks ..there were 20 some odd of us one night, that went down to the county commissioners meeting. And we all signed papers saying that we do not want to be the city of Reno, we want to stay county. And everyone of us was there. We had one speaker. I dont remember who the speaker was. Its been so long ago. One speaker spoke for all of us. But we all had to file our papers. So we found out a month or so later that theyre having another meeting and theyre trying to push the city of Reno down on us. So we go to another meeting and we said wait a minute, what happen to what we said. We dont want to be in the city. Whats going on here?.Well you should have showed up and signed your paper. We did! There wasTwenty-two of us. Well we dont have any record of that.twenty-two of us was there! There was a crack in the board somewhere. But the county is going to be working with us against Reno because I dont think the county wants to give it up either to be truthful with you. Other wise Reno would have done whipped us and took it away from us. And in just my opinion only, with the work that Ive done and the folk Ive talked to and everything, even on this water system, I just feel in my heart, my own thoughts, my own feelings, aint nobody said nothing, that someday, when the older people of this community is gone, when they cant speak out and say, we had no water, you wouldnt give us water, when those people are gone, Reno is going to come in and say OK we can take it now. And I really believe they will. Only in my heart I feel this you know.

Kenneth – And thats why it is good we are going to have your story on the internet. Thats why it is good to have someone like your son Matt who is going to be carrying that on and hearing about the legacy. Thats why it will be important for Matthew to understand the history, the story of Black Springs. What he is saying can happen. And then it will come back to you Matt. But you will know the real deal. Thats why it is important for Our Story, Inc. to come out and talk to the people that know the stories.

Mae – That meeting what he is talking about, we all went there, and this little young girl, shes about his age now (Matthew),came up to me. She had talked to different ones, and had came up to me and said Arent you in favor of the city taking over the area? And I said, No. And she says, Well, Mrs. Westbrook is for it. I said, I dont believe that! You go over there and talk to her. Go over there and ask her. She went over there and asked her and Helen said, Over my dead body! ( Laughter) She didnt even look back at me. She just kept going.

Roy's Flower Bed

Roy – It was for so long out here there was hardly no signs except for going onto North Virginia. There was no signs of any kind out here and I got up to the county, for almost six months and I called everyday. I just kept after them, and kept after them. And I said, Look, we got places, we got dead end streets and there are no signs. We have cross roads, there is no signs. We need some signs. And finally they came out here one day during a rain storm, he did and some of his people and we rode around. And I showed him and I said, Now look. We have a park right here , theres no signs any where. There was one sign because I put it in my flower bed. I dug the hole poured the concert, and put children playing. Finally they came out and agreed. They came out and they put a stop sign up here at the church. They put red markers at the end. They put a stop sign up here, and then they changed my sign out with a play ground sign they have now. They put one in the church yard also. But I was six months on this. I also told them that our streets werent marked. I want some street markings out here. Any place you go that got street markings and lines on the street. We have nothing. And I fought with him for about thirty days over that and finally they came out and what did they do, they started up in front of the church, right here, marked this half block off and went half way up Kennedy and that was it. Thats as far as it would go. Youll see when you go out there. So I got back with them again and I said, You know I ask for the neighborhood , not just the streets I lived on, to be marked. Now youre making me look like a fool! You only marked in front of my house.

All – ( Laughter)

Roy – I said, Im on a corner lot. You marked here, you marked there. It makes me look bad. I said, Not only that, can we get some speed bumps out here because of the Parks and Recreation right there on the corner? No we cant put speed bumps out there because the snow plows will tear them up. Ok. But I see in other communities where you have the long mark, the short, short, short. I said we want that. So they did. They put the slow markers up this street and down this street. But as far as putting the lines on the street, right here, thats it. Right around my house.

Fitz – You know you paid them off Roy (Laughter)

Shelley – It was actually him. He was out there at night.(Laughter)

Demetrice – What would you want others to know more than anything else about the Black Springs community, about the Black Springs community

Thurman – Beautiful community

Mae – I would want to tell them that there is a long history behind Black Springs. A long history. And I would like for it to include a lot of the people that have not been included. Because all those people down the street, that were here when we started this, the Stevens and everything, they were instrumental in all this too. However some of the people that were instrumental in this are gone now, Some of them are dead, never to return again. But we want our young people to know what went on in Black Springs. The suffering that we had to do for it

Matthew – If someone walked up to me and asked me where I live, how was my community, I would tell them its awesome. Um all the neighbors come together if anything goes wrong. If there a fire, someone need food, if someone needs a rideits awesome out here Its all like family basically.

Shelley – I second that. ( Laughter ) Black Springs is just a peaceful place. Every once in a while you might hear a siren but its quiet out here, and you dont have to worry. Its a lovely place.

Black Springs MLK Memorial Park

Roy – I would want folks to know we are in Washoe county. And I did not want to live in the city, I wanted to live in county. Thats why I bought out here. This place, as Ms. Mae has said, theres so much history in this area. There probably more history in this area than there is in the city of Reno. If you wanna go back and look at what has happened . What they had to do. Ive lived here twenty-four years ago. We had water. We had black top. We had sewer. The people that lived here before me, that is passed on, has went through, if you dont mind me saying, hell to get what is here now. We have a nice community. I would love to see it stay in the county. Stay as it is. And we dont need Reno out here. Reno got to much to take care of and theyre trying to make it bigger they cant even take care of what they have now. Thats the truth. They talk about they dont have enough fire people, enough police, but yet they want a bigger area to take care of. That doesnt make sense at all. So were in the county and we have loving caring neighbors all around me in this whole community. As my son said we do work together . We stick together out here. And were a big family. A big community out here that gets along. And very little violence, and I hope it stays that way.

Fitz – I would like to say that I think that Black Springs is a beautiful place to live in and a beautiful place for people to come out and look around. And you will see a lovely area once you hit Black Springs up and down. I think we got three main streets (laughter). But anyway its beautiful out here. And I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Dalton for coming out here and doing this for us. Ken used to come out and visit Mother and Ollie all the time. I just thank him for it. You were very good for them.

Kenneth – They were very good for me.