University of Nevada, Las Vegas

A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 100

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Eleanor crashed the bottle of champagne against her prow and shouted, “ I christen you Nevada!" The great ship flung aside the last few logs that held her firm; they sounded like pistol shots as they sprang away. Smoke from the friction rose like a veil behind her as she dropped gracefully off the ways into the water. At that time the Nevada was considered the last word in naval architecture. When Hugh and I went aboard, I was not up to appreciating the caliber of the guns and the set of the turrets, but we were both thrilled by the magnificence of the silver service made from five thousand ounces of silver donated by the miners of Tonopah. The coffee urns, the trays, the candelabra, the punchbowl and cups were heavy and ornate, made from original designs illustrating events in the history of the state. They are now on exhibition in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.* Key Pittman, a marked contrast to Tasker Oddie, was elected to the United States Senate in 1913, where he served until his death in 1940. As senator from the leading silver-producing state, he was for many years head of the “ silver bloc,” consisting of senators from all the silver- producing states. Mrs. Pittman was a very successful hostess during her many years in Washington. Like her husband, she had glamour. No woman could make a trip down the Yukon Trail alone without some of the glitter of the adventure rubbing off on her. A politician as cold- blooded as a gunman, Key was often bitterly attacked. His enemies maintained that the United States silver program sponsored by him had contributed to China’s ruin, and the repercussions of it would be felt for generations by the entire world. Even Key’s friends accused him of being ungrateful, while his foes called him ruthless. Only history will he his judge. To us he was a delightful dinner companion, a charming host, and a spectacular public performer. In 1921, after his term of office as governor, Tasker Oddie was also elected to the United States Senate, and served two terms. Although Tasker and Key were frankly opposed to one another on almost every issue - especially the silver legislation - in controversies where the welfare of Nevada was involved, they worked together as one man. This was notably true of the Hoover Dam negotiations. Tasker was also devoted to road- building. Thousands of miles of highways throughout the United States are enduring monuments to Senator Oddie’s efforts. After George Wingfield’s tremendous success in Goldfield, he established a chain of banks across the state, through which he poured, in loans to livestock * The Nevada was used as a target ship when the first atomic bomb was exploded at the Bikini Atoll in 1946. Although she received the full fury of the blast, it did not sink her. Ultimately, she was scuttled by a rain of torpedo bombsfrom the air.

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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 100
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