Palabras Pintorescas: Walter and his water theory

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By Editha Bartley

I continue to find interesting and  historical writings and newspaper columns in my family's collection of stuff. My parents were great friends of Walter and Delma Vivian. Walter was the editor of the Optic in 1950, and his wife, Delma was a talented reporter for the paper.

Walter wrote an editorial on Dec. 27, 1950 titled: "Exploring Resources." As economic development and promotion growth and the problems with recession continue to be a hot topic here, perhaps Walter had a good idea way back when. I quote him: "When consideration is given to development of resources or establishment of additional sources of incomes in Las Vegas and vicinity, serious thought should be tendered to one of our natural resources which could be turned into bigger business.

“In taking stock of our resources it is determined that we have an unsurpassed climate on a year around basis, an excellent water supply, health promoting sunshine. Which all adds up to the fact that this would make an excellent large-scale health resort.

“Mineral waters, which received much publicity for curative powers during the by-gone prominence of the old Montezuma hotel, also might be brought into the picture.

“In the immediate vicinity we have a sanatorium which was established primarily to care for employees of large Chicago business firms who became afflicted with certain illnesses. The success and growth of Valmora testify to the ideal location for that sanatorium.

“Our climate and other facilities are ideal for a health center.

‘We have a new hospital in process of construction and when completed another asset will be presented toward a health center program. More detailed consideration can be given to the new hospital's part in this proposal later.

“There are drawbacks to establishment of several industries in this section. They must be admitted. Hight freight rates, lack of a source of cheap power and other adverse conditions exist.

“But we could get people to travel into this section for health treatment. Our travel facilities are good.

“Such a program can not be brought about through mere suggestion. It will take much thought, a great deal of work and full cooperation of the citizens, but we believe it really is worth the effort. "

Now 61 years later the format has changed, but Walter has some good ideas. There is no need for a sanatorium like Valmora now. The behavioral center will continue to grow unless other facilities are built around the state. Many essential programs are needed as mental health issues grow here.

However, no expansion or growth can happen if there is no water.

Nobody ever dreamed this area would be almost paralyzed by a drought 50 years ago.

I know things can change in a heartbeat here and I continue to be impressed by the abilities of so many area residents who are active in all phases of our economic development. Not so long ago we always had a big snowstorm the first week in May, here in the mountains. Wouldn't that be a welcome surprise?

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.