Chronicler: Louis Uriarte

Interviewer: Gretchen Holbert

Eureka, NV

8/5/87

Subject: Eureka, Ely Hotels

 

Side 1

00:02- His mother had the Star hotel approx. 1924 in Eureka. Now called the Lincoln. They built onto it, to make it bigger. Had a handball court. Kept it until 1936 or so. It was a two-story hotel, had a big balcony going around one side of it. More of a description, construction etc. Had approx. 30-40 guys living there. Family lived in the back of the hotel in living quarters there; all the kids were born there via a midwife (Rosie Huerrera) and a couple other ladies. Hotel had a bar in the front, a day room and then the dining room and the kitchen was in the back of the hotel. They had a player piano. His father worked mostly in sheep and come and go; Louis' mother ran the hotel. His parents owned some property in Nevada. Mother would work from 4am until sometimes late in the evening. Mother would make all the food; was Basque food (tripe, pigs feet, etc.). She also made chorizos, pig skins, lard to store chorizos in. Kids helped all the time with the chores. The boys would clean up the bar in the morning. About Prohibition police; where they got their wine and liquor. Mother made the wine. How they kept things cool, in place of refrigeration. The plumbing in the hotel (community). Seasonality of the herders staying in the hotels.

 

09:00- Mother took care of their affairs (banking, etc.) She also spoke Basque, Spanish, understood French,  Italian. Kids spoke Basque before they spoke anything else. Some of the families in the area. The Labourde's, who owned the Eureka Hotel. His family was closely tied to the Huerreras. The Eureka hotel had opium dens underneath (remember from prev. interview). Labourde's business was very similar to his family's. About how the hotels looked. Sister would make beds and do dishes and help cook. His mother wasn't particular on whether her kids would carry on the hotel tradition. After the hotel, they bought a house on Idaho Street. Mother took care of the herders, sometimes had to give them medical help. What his mother was like. Didn't feel different, fit in fine in Eureka.

 

17:34- The restaurant; his family would eat with the rest of the boarders unless the restaurant was full. The hotel was never locked, people could walk right in. There were a couple dates every year when they had parties or just gatherings. His mother was a very good dancer. Food served during special times of the year. Once in a while miners would stay in the hotel, had some people who stayed for a long time that weren't herders (regulars). Doesn't remember any tourists. One guy always acted as her bouncer. About his parents; they would have competitions a long time ago for strength, etc. Louis was the first organizer of the National Basque Festival; a big part of it. Families that he has kept in touch with in Eureka, Elko, Ely.

 

25:14- How they got along with the herders; had a lot of tios. His parents brought a lot of herders over from Europe. He doesn't know much about his father's business. Funerals, wakes, weddings etc. The weddings were often in the hotels, not the church. Mother's sayings, nicknames for people. Social norms were different then; women weren't really allowed to sit at the bar, etc. However, his mother played cards a lot; moose, solo, etc. Often they played for drinks. In the Stockman's, however, big money changed hands over card games. His father gambled on concha games. Ended at 31:25