Lewis George Moiola Oral History

Dublin Core


Lewis George Moiola Oral History


Lewis George Moiola Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


March 27, 1991


Analog Cassette Tape, .docx File, Mp3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marian LaVoy


Lewis Moiola


755 Drumm Lane, Fallon, Nevada




an interview with


March 27, 1991

This interview was conducted by Marian LaVoy; transcribed by Elaine Hesselgesser; edited by Norma Morgan; first draft and final typed by Pat Bader; index by Gracie Viera; supervised by Myrl Nygren, Director of Oral History Project/Assistant Curator Churchill County Museum.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Churchill County Museum or any of its employees.


Lewis Moiola loves life and lives it to the fullest. He faces adversity with a smile and goes right on about his business. He was taunted in school by his classmates because he spoke Italian better than American, but that didn't keep him from standing up for himself and ending up liking those who taunted him. They respected him for his ability to surge forward no matter what happened. He worked very hard in his family truck garden and learned the lesson well of the importance of education. Carpentry came to him easily and he became a foreman working with the CCC youth who were sent to Churchill County. The boys loved him and when mischief arose that Lewis had something to do with the young men never told on him and took the punishment meted out to them. He makes one feel comfortable around him and takes great pleasure in showing the art work done by his children and wife.

Lewis can tell many stories of his life working with the CCC youth--an era of time that made men out of city kids who had no chance in life but to roam the city streets--until Franklin D. Roosevelt, through the efforts of the United States Government gave them a chance to go out in the world and learn how to work. Lewis taught them his carpentry skills and I am sure many went on in that trade. As the years passed Lewis built homes in the county and remodeled buildings. He is still mighty handy with a hammer and nails!

Lewis and his wife were among the best dancers in Fallon and not a week passed without their attending a dancing function. This went on for many years until Maria became ill and entered the Fallon Convalescent Center--Lewis visits her each day.

Interview with Lewis G. Moiola

LaVOY:  This is Marian Hennen LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum's Oral History Project interviewing Lewis Moiola at his home, 755 Drumm Lane, Fallon, Nevada. The date is March 27, 1991. Good morning, Lewie.

MOIOLA: Good morning.

LaVOY:  How are you this morning?

MOIOLA: Fairly good.

LaVOY:  Good! Would you mind giving me your full name?

MOIOLA: Yes. Lewis G[eorge] Moiola.

LaVOY:  Where were you born, Lewie?

MOIOLA: Fallon.

LaVOY:  And when?

MOIOLA: March 21, 1913.

LaVOY:  All right. Could you tell me what your father's name was?

MOIOLA: Lawrence Moiola. [Lorenzo]

LaVOY:  And where was he born?

MOIOLA: He was born in Italy.

LaVOY:  When did he come to the United States?

MOIOLA: About 1909.

LaVOY:  How did he happen to come?

MOIOLA: Well, he came with friends that were logging for the V&T Railroad [Virginia and Truckee]. Sam Moris--which would be his father and my father--was loggin' up in the Truckee area. They were loggin' for the V&T Railroad. They were burning wood at that time.

LaVOY:  I see. What part of Italy did he come from?

MOIOLA: He came from Lombardia county. It was close to the northern Alps.

LaVOY:  Did he ever say how he got to this county?

MOIOLA: Not really. They just figured they might as well come over here because there was nothing for them to do there.

LaVOY:  Did he come into New York City?


LaVOY:  To Ellis Island?

MOIOLA: Yeah. I have all the papers on that.

LaVOY:  On his arrival at Ellis?


LaVOY:  What was your mother's name?

MOIOLA: She was a Franchi.

LaVOY:  What was her first name? Do you remember?

MOIOLA: Louisa. Louisa Franchi.

LaVOY:  And she came from?

MOIOLA: She came from Italy too.

LaVOY:  When did she come to the United States?

MOIOLA: Oh, she came about two years later.

LaVOY:  Did she come by ship to Ellis Island too?


LaVOY:  Do you have the papers on her?


LaVOY:  You have the papers for both families?

MOIOLA: Yeah. I think they're right over there.

LaVOY:  That's just amazing. How did they happen to meet?

MOIOLA: Well, in them days when he came into this country and she came later on with the uncles, some way or another they got to Reno. Her sister was here too and he was boarding there--he knew her sister. So that's how they got together when she got over here, and then they got married.

LaVOY:  Well, did they live in Reno for a while after they were married?

MOIOLA: Then they went back to Italy.

LaVOY:  They were married in Reno?

MOIOLA: Yeah. And then they went back to Italy.

LaVOY:  For how long?

MOIOLA: Well, my brother Erminio was born there, in Italy. And then… let's see. I should have asked my sister in Reno. She's eighty-eight or eighty-nine. She'd know. I forgot all about this. I should have asked her. See the trouble is, they never kept track of anything.

LaVOY:  But they lived in Italy long enough to have your brother Erminio?

MOIOLA: That's right.

LaVOY:  Then what made them decide to return to Nevada?

MOIOLA: Well, I guess things weren't so good over there, so they came back again.

LaVOY:  Where did they come back to?

MOIOLA: They came back to Reno.

LaVOY:  H ow long did they live there after they returned from Italy?

MOIOLA: Well, let's see. I should have got this all straightened out. I'll tell you this is a tough... Just like I said, they never never spoke too much about this kind of stuff you know. Like people who've got family trees, we just cut 'em down, and burnt 'em.

LaVOY:  Well, when did they finally decide to come to Fallon?

MOIOLA: Well, let's see. I was born in 1913. Of course, then there was three...I was the fifth kid.

LaVOY:  What were the names of your brothers and sisters, and when were they born if you remember. Roughly.

MOIOLA: Erminio was born. And Toni [Antoinette Wells] was second, Irene [Creastini] was third, Silvio was fourth, I was fifth, and Rita's [Conant] sixth.

LaVOY:  And were they all, except Erminio, born in Fallon?

MOIOLA: Let's see now. Boy!

LaVOY:  If you don't remember, that's quite all right. But how did they happen to come to Fallon?

MOIOLA: Well, see at that time the [Newlands] Project was just being made. In 1914 they started the Project and they didn't get done till 1918. Till after the war. But we were farming by then. In 1913, I was born then so they had to be here in '13.

LaVOY:  Well, what did your father do on the Project?

MOIOLA: Well, we had a truck garden where the ranch is now, Tommy Kent [427 cemetery Road] owns it now.

LaVOY:  Out by the cemetery.

MOIOLA: Right. Where they're building all them houses. Well, we had all that part and all this other part on this side of where they're building the houses. There was 105 acres in that plot there.

LaVOY:  On Cemetery Road?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Right.

LaVOY:  Well, what did he plant in the garden?

MOIOLA: Potatoes, onions, just tons--acres of them. Turnips, beets, carrots, and cantaloupes, watermelons. All that vegetable stuff.

LaVOY:  And he sold it to the people on the Project.

MOIOLA: He sold it to the stores up town then we used to run a little truck sale around town.

LaVOY:  You did?


LaVOY:  What stores did you sell to in town?

MOIOLA: Kent's. Piggly Wiggly.

LaVOY:  Where was Piggly Wiggly?

MOIOLA: Let's see now, as I remember it, was right where the Nugget is now. In that area.

LaVOY:  Between the Sagebrush and the Nugget Parking Lot.


LaVOY:  Where else did he sell them in town?

MOIOLA: Well, he used to sell to the mines. Like in Tonopah we sold to a mining outfit down there during the gold days too.

LaVOY:  How did you get the produce down to Tonopah?

MOIOLA: Sent it express. Used to pack it in sixty pound package or whatever the thing was and that's the way we shipped it.

LaVOY:  And you shipped it from Fallon, or from Hazen?

MOIOLA: From Fallon.

LaVOY:  Down to..?

MOIOLA: Tonopah.

LaVOY:  How long did it take for it to get there?

MOIOLA: Probably a day. Maybe more.

LaVOY:  Was everything shipped in sixty pound bags?

MOIOLA: Whatever it was—yes. Cantaloupes in boxes, everything. I think sixty pounds was the limit. You had to pay for it right there.

LaVOY:  Oh. And was the mine good at paying you?

MOIOLA: For a while, till they went broke. Then that was the end of it. There went all our expenses and everything, but that's part of being in business.

LaVOY:  When you had the little truck that went around and sold around town, tell me, what kind of a truck was it?

MOIOLA: Model T. Probably one of the first ones around here. We bought it--my father died in 1927--I used to drive it when I was 13 years old. Drivin' truck for them because they couldn't drive it, except my other brothers. So I just drove him around town, and we'd just go around the houses. You can imagine how many houses there was. There wasn't too many in them days.

LaVOY:  Was that a profitable business?

MOIOLA: Yeah. So far, you know. But after he died, then things went to pot.

LaVOY:  Well, who were some of the people that you remember selling vegetables to?

MOIOLA: Well there was Kent's, and George Forbes. Oh, a lot of those old timers. I can't even remember myself.

LaVOY:  But, did you start off early in the morning?


LaVOY:  And about how long did it take you to empty your truck of?

MOIOLA: Oh about three or four hours.

LaVOY:  And it was a Model T truck?

MOIOLA: Yeah. New one.

LaVOY:  Well!

MOIOLA: Wish I had a picture of it. In them days we didn't worry about pictures.

LaVOY:  Now when do you remember starting school?

MOIOLA: Let's see I was six.

LaVOY:  And what school did you start?

MOIOLA: At the one down on Stillwater...the new school's there now.

MOIOLA: Cottage [School]. Then we went from there, we went to West End, and then to Oats Park.

LaVOY:  I see. And who were some of your best friends in school?

MOIOLA: Ohh..Pomeroys, and then there was Mackedon, Capucci. Cappuci and I went to school. Ramon.

LaVOY:  That's Ramon Arrizabalaga?

MOIOLA: Yeah. They came in from Dixie Valley. That's where they went to school.

LaVOY:  Do you remember the names of any of your teachers?

MOIOLA: Mrs. Mills, and Mrs. Toft. There was so many.

LaVOY:  What do you remember about the school and your schoolrooms?

MOIOLA: Well, probably the worst part's probably going to school when--of course everybody talked English at home, too--but a lot of times a lot of things they talked in English you wouldn't remember. You wouldn't know what they were talking about 'cause you're not used to it. So that's how we learned English--the hard way. Kids would call you all these oddball names, you know. Course I was pretty good size, so I didn't have to worry too much about that part of it. Just get in more trouble that's all.

LaVOY:  When they called you names why you...

MOIOLA: Wops. You wops ought to go back to Italy.

LaVOY:  Oh that's terrible. And you changed their minds very rapidly with your fists, is that correct?

MOIOLA: Oh yeah. That's right. Use to get into a lot of trouble over it, but that's all right, too.

LaVOY:  Well, I don't blame you, at all. What were some of the classes that you liked best in school?

MOIOLA: Arithmetic. That was probably my best. I couldn't read worth a damn, I found that out.

LaVOY:  Well, do you think it was because you spoke Italian and it was hard translating from Italian to English.

MOIOLA: Well, that could have been a lot of it. And then she was teachin' what was it....phonics. Phonics. You know, the syllables, vowels, like that. I just couldn't get 'em. I just couldn't put 'em together, that's all there was to it. And then there was another kid there Spray Nicholson. He could read--snhn--I wish I could read a lot like he could. Man that kid could really read.

LaVOY:  And what's his name?

MOIOLA: Spray Nicholson. He died a long time ago.

LaVOY:  Well, I can see that it was probably very hard for you. How long did you go to school?

MOIOLA: Seventh grade.

LaVOY:  And then what did you do when you left school at seventh grade?

MOIOLA: Worked. I had to work in the fields. For a dollar a day.

LaVOY:  A dollar a day. Who did you work for?

MOIOLA: I worked for Tom Dolf. Out here. I worked for Johnson.               Hayin' all the time. Venturaccis. Pullin' weeds and stuff like that all different places. Went to work out at the roads, highways and stuff like that

LaVOY:  You worked on ranches until you were about how old?

MOIOLA: Well, then I got that job with the CCC's [Civilian Conservation Corps].

LaVOY:  Well now that would have been in the thirties.

MOIOLA: Yeah, the thirties.

LaVOY:  But now in the twenties you would have been working for these different people on the ranches. Did you go to work on the highways in the twenties?

MOIOLA: Oh no. I worked for the District [Truckee-Carson Irrigation District] a lot a years too.

LaVOY:  In the twenties?


LaVOY:  Now by meaning you worked for the District what do you mean?

MOIOLA: Working on these headgates. Putting in structures.

LaVOY:  And what kind of work did you do?

MOIOLA: Carpentry work.

LaVOY:  Tell me something about a day working on the structures.

MOIOLA: Well usually there was two carpenters. And that was about all they'd put on at a time to each team. And as we'd go out, we'd cut the material and everything, cut it at the yards, throw it in the truck, then go out in the field and dig out the dirt. Make it out of redwood, and nail it up, and then back fill it. And that was the day. Depends how big it was. If it was big, then we'd have to spend two days on it. If it was wanted in a hurry, we'd put maybe three or four men on. Some helpers.

LaVOY:  What type of a marking did you put on these structures when you were finished with them?

MOIOLA: Well, in them days we didn't do anything 'cause it was all TCID. They didn't care about the markings. But for the CC's we did, yes.

LaVOY:  Now, getting back to TCID, who were some of the people that you worked with?

MOIOLA: Oh, there was Leo Lamb, Roy Jones. There was so many.

LaVOY: Now did you see the big difference that the drainage ditches made to the valley?

MOIOLA: Oh yeah! Without 'em they wouldn't be able to grow anything 'cause the water table was too close.

LaVOY: Did your father have problems with the water table too?

MOIOLA: No. Not where we was at.

LaVOY:  You were higher?

MOIOLA: Yeah. We had no problem there.

LaVOY:  Do you recall any of these early settlers losing their place because the water table was so high and their crops died?

MOIOLA: Well on some of these places the water was closer to the surface and created alkali. Like this place where the District [T.C.I.D.] is. See they took that back from the Project and then they sold it again later on for just what it is. It's got a lot of salt over there.

LaVOY:  Is that on Harrigan Road [2666 Harrigan Road]?

MOIOLA: Yes. Right over here where the District is. District yards right there. We border them on the north side.

LaVOY:  Now, then after you worked for the TCID you went on to work for the CCC.

MOIOLA: Uh hmm.

LaVOY:  Would you tell me, when did the CCC first come to Fallon - approximately.

MOIOLA: It was on May 9, 1933, Sacramento Division came into being. That's when they first started the project.

LaVOY:  And shortly thereafter they came to this area?

MOIOLA: Right.

LaVOY:  Tell me, how did you happen to go to work for CCC?

MOIOLA: Well, I was working for the District and Mr. Wallace [Walter Wallace] the Superintendent of the District, got me the job. They needed a carpenter, so they put me on. So I went to work for them and worked five days a week.

LaVOY:  How much were you paid?

MOIOLA: Thirty-three dollars a week.

LaVOY:  For a full day's work.

MOIOLA: Well, we worked them about six hours, and then going and coming. We had to get them in for chow and everything, but six hours work we'd get out of them.

LaVOY:  Now when you say "them", you're referring to whom?

MOIOLA: The kids.

LaVOY:  What camp were you attached to?

MOIOLA: I was at Newlands Camp. BR34 [Bureau of Reclamation 34].

LaVOY:  And where was that camp located?

MOIOLA: The camp was located up there at the District yard. Which right now would be north...across the street from Kennametal.

LaVOY:  About how much acreage did the camp take up?

MOIOLA: Well, I'd say maybe three, four acres? The barracks were pretty close together.

LaVOY:  Now besides barracks what did they have?

MOIOLA: Recreation.

LaVOY:  A recreation building?


LaVOY:  And what else?

MOIOLA: They had a mess hall and sickbeds for the kids that got sick. And that was about it. A kitchen of course.

LaVOY:  Now tell me, who actually ran the CCC camp?

MOIOLA: Well, the way I had it figured out, it was done by the officers. They sent in their own officers.

LaVOY:  Were these army officers?

MOIOLA: Army officers, we had one doctor. And they were responsible for the kids after we worked them in the fields. We turned them back to them in the evenings and picked them up in the mornings. You counted them out and counted them back.

LaVOY:  What did you travel to your work in?

MOIOLA: They had trucks.

LaVOY:  Army trucks?

MOIOLA: Army trucks. Right.

LaVOY:  Did you ride in the trucks with them?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Right in front with them.

LaVOY:  Now let's take a typical day. You would come from your home to the camp, pick up the men, and then go out into whatever area you were going to work. Tell me what you did with the men that day.

MOIOLA: We'd pick 'em up in the mornings, say at eight o'clock, and they'd have their lunches and everything all made for them--so they'd take them out. And you'd have one leading man. One fellow that's above the kids.

LaVOY:  Like a sergeant?

MOIOLA: Sergeant, right. If the kids ain't doin' what you want, you tell him and he tells the kids 'cause actually he's responsible. You're just the boss to try to put this stuff together. When we were going to put in a concrete structure and we'd have another truck, a flatbed, to take the forms and stuff out. So we'd get another driver, and we'd go out there and we'd take the structure out and then we'd put it together and maybe it'd take us two days to put in the structure. It would depend on how big it was.

LaVOY:  Now the boys working on it…

MOIOLA: Right. We'd give em a little break in the morning, and then at noon they'd give em a half hour lunch break or an hour. Depends how much work they did that day. Then we'd work till the time to come home. Then we'd turn em back in. You'd make out the day's report-what you did that day--how much work you got done. You gave it to them, and they'd keep track of it. You showed you that nobody got hurt. The main part was safety. Everything was safety first. I can understand that point where you have a bunch of kids, you gotta be careful. If they start horsin' around, somebody's goin' to get hurt. So far we were awfully lucky.

LaVOY:  About what were the ages of these young men?

MOIOLA: Oh, I'd say maybe fifteen up to about twenty.

LaVOY:  Where did they come from?

MOIOLA: Well the first bunch came from back east. New York, New Jersey. And then we had one big bunch come from Missouri. They were all good kids.

LaVOY:  Basically, why did they join the CCC?

MOIOLA: Well, I think the way the kids always told us that whenever they got in trouble, if they had trouble coming, the judge would say -Okay. You have a choice. You can either stay here and we'll put you in jail or we'll give you six months you can join the CCC for six months. You get $5.00 a month and $25 goes to your parents. And that way you can run out your time, and if you want to stay, you can reinlist.- And that's how we got a hold of them.

LaVOY:  Now even though these boys had been in trouble, did they straighten their ways working with CCC and go back to become good citizens as far as you know?

MOIOLA: Well, I sure thought so. I really believe it was good for em. They must have had intentions of war in 1941, because they didn't know a pick from a hatchet or an ax or a nail or a hammer or anything. At least then they took orders, and that was the main thing. After they got back to camp, then they did their own work. That's the way it went.

LaVOY:  Did they enjoy being out here?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Most of em. I think they liked it. A lot of 'em stayed, actually.

LaVOY:  You told me a funny story about a bee tree. Would you mind repeating that?

MOIOLA: Yeah. We were working down at Sagouspi's puttin' in a structure down there, and there was an old tree. I seen the bees going back and forth, and I told the kids about this tree, and they couldn't believe it. So we went over there and looked and there was bees hummin' around, and I told 'em, "Better not stay here now. But they said that they wanted to take them into camp. They were mad at the cooks 'cause they didn't give them enough food one day, so... I told them "You can't do it now, you got to get 'em early in the morning when it's cold. So we can get at 'em." So I helped them cut the tree knot out and we got a gunnysack so we could keep ourselves from getting stinged, and we threw it in a big cannister we had that we took our lunches out with. A big tin can. And they took it into camp and set it on the floor and one of the kids pulled the lid off and all the bees got in the mess hall. They didn't eat very early that evening.

LaVOY:  They did this because they were mad at the cook?

MOIOLA: Yeah. So they got about a month on KP.

LaVOY:  Was it one of the cooks that opened the tin?

MOIOLA: Oh sure! Told him it was a surprise. It was a surprise all right! That never happened again. Not for that bunch.

LaVOY:  Did they ever tell that you were the guilty one that helped them cut the tree?

MOIOLA: No. They wouldn't do that. They were pretty good that way.

LaVOY:  What type of food did you have at the camp?

MOIOLA: It was good food. They had sandwiches most of the time for out in the field. They made sandwiches every day for them and then they'd send out a coffee pot and coffee, sugar, and one kid'd take a half hour before we'd set down to eat and he'd make up all the coffee so we'd have something to drink. And every once in awhile we chipped in a little money and we use to be able to buy pies for twenty-five cents a piece. So we used to put up some money and we'd always stop by the bakery on our way out and buy day-old pies for twenty-five cents.

LaVOY:  What bakery was that?

MOIOLA: It was Mr. Johnson's Bakery.

LaVOY:  And you took the pies out and you added them to the sandwiches.

MOIOLA: Yeah. Right. Oh yeah. It was pretty neat.

LaVOY:  Well, it seems to me that you enjoyed working with those boys very much. How many years did you do that?

MOIOLA: We quit in 1939, 'cause the war started in 1941.

LaVOY:  Well now with your working that length of time about how many boys did you actually work with over that period of time from 1933-39?

MOIOLA: Oh God. Well, we'd run from six to fifteen kids a day. Depends on what we were doin'. See we could draw on another set of kids to help. If we were pouring structures we'd have maybe about ten or twelve kids. You know, because we'd have to get it done.

LaVOY:  Was there another camp in the area?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Camp Carson [Bureau of Reclamation BR35].

LaVOY:  Where was it located?

MOIOLA: Located where Leno's old bar [1350 W. Williams Ave.] is out there. Now it's approximately where Western Auto is. In that area there. It was a pretty good size camp too.

LaVOY:  Why did they have two camps in the Fallon area?

MOIOLA: Well, that was something. I couldn't figure that out either. Course, I guess they figured one for the Newlands Project and the other one probably for the Carson River Project--taking care of Lahontan Dam and the river part of it.

LaVOY:  Who were some of the local people that over the years that you remember worked with you or on this project?

MOIOLA: Well, we had regular guys. Like McLeod was our technical boss. And then there was Ray Alcorn. There was more guys than that though.

LaVOY:  Was Mr. Wallace involved?

MOIOLA: Yeah. He was the superintendent of the District He told our superintendent what he wanted done, and he'd tell us, and we'd take the kids out and put 'em to work.

LaVOY:  And you feel that this was a very worthwhile project.

MOIOLA: I hope to tell you. It was the best thing they ever done, I thought.

LaVOY:  When they left, did they leave as a complete group? Did they close the camps up as complete groups?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Right. We even went to Reno and helped take down one camp. The Reno camp.

LaVOY:  Where was it located?

MOIOLA: On South Virginia. I can't remember actually the street. But it was a pretty good size camp.

LaVOY:  There was another camp in Reno at Idlewild Park. Did you help to take that one down?

MOIOLA: No. Just the one on South Virginia. I went up there, and we used the kids and we brought the material back to Fallon.

LaVOY:  And what did you do with the material?

MOIOLA: The District used it again for forms and stuff like that out of the buildings.

LaVOY:  Well now the buildings that were at Camp Carson and Camp Newlands, what happened to them?

MOIOLA: Just tore 'em down.

LaVOY:  What happened to the lumber?

MOIOLA: That was the District's. They gave it to the District. All that stuff stayed here. They didn't want it.

LaVOY:  Did the camps just completely disappear?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Took them all out. They had to take them out of there. Their time was up.

LaVOY:  Did anybody buy any of the buildings and use them for halls here in town?

MOIOLA: They done something with them. I can't remember now what they did finally do with them.

LaVOY:  I'm not positive, but I believe Norton Koenig told me that one of the buildings, the Fraternal Order of Eagles bought.

MOIOLA: That could be.

LaVOY:  And that's the one that's right next to the Stockman's.

MOIOLA: Right. It could have been there, that's right too. They must’ve [End of side A]

LaVOY:  They've used some of the buildings for other purposes other than just lumber?

MOIOLA: Yeah. They must have.

LaVOY:  All right. Then in 1939 when that ended, what did you do after 1939?

MOIOLA: After 1939 we went to Hawthorne.

LaVOY:  Now you say we, who is we?

MOIOLA: Maria and I.

LaVOY:  Oh, you were married by this time?

MOIOLA: Yeah. We got married in 1938.

LaVOY:  Now what was your wife's name?

MOIOLA: Maria Louisa Arrizabalaga.

LaVOY:  And where did you meet her?

MOIOLA: Here in Fallon,

LaVOY:  Was she a local girl?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Well they came from Dixie Valley. She was born in Campbell Creek, Nevada.

LaVOY:  Where is Campbell Creek?

MOIOLA: About sixty miles east of Fallon.

LaVOY:  Does that place still exist?

MOIOLA: Yeah. There's a house there. She was born there in 1918. Her father delivered her.

LaVOY:  How did her family happen to be in that area?

MOIOLA: Well, he was a sheepman. He came from Spain.

LaVOY:  What was his name?

MOIOLA: Ramon Arrizabalaga. He was a sheepman for a few years and then he started in accumulating sheep, buying some more…

LaVOY:  You say that this Ramon Arrizabalaga was a sheepman. Did he come as a herder initially?

MOIOLA: Yes, as a sheepherder. Right.

LaVOY:  And then he started getting his own herds.

MOIOLA: Right.

LaVOY:  Well, how did he happen to settle in this area that you call Campbell Creek?

MOIOLA: Well, at that time they used to bring a lot of sheepherders in from Spain, because they were good sheepherders. Elko's the same way. They had a lot of them up there too, and they used to move the sheep from one place to another for the summer range.

LaVOY:  Where did he meet your wife's mother?

MOIOLA: She was an Erquiaga and she came from Spain too. And they got married in Spain and then he came over here and then he brought her over here.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. He came first, and then went back to Spain and got her and then brought her over. How many children were born in that family? Do you know?

MOIOLA: Well, there was Ramon, Maria, and Felix. That's it.

LaVOY:  When did he move to Fallon? Approximately.

MOIOLA: Well, I think Maria must have been fourteen years old when they came to Fallon.

LaVOY:  From Campbell Creek?


LaVOY:  Did you know her in school at all?

MOIOLA: Yeah, I knew her.

LaVOY:  Then you were classmates together'?

MOIOLA: No, she was in a different class.

LaVOY:  Where were you married?

MOIOLA: We were married here in Fallon.

LaVOY:  And where?

MOIOLA: At the Catholic Church [St. Patrick's] in 1938.

LaVOY: June 25th 1938?

MOIOLA: That’s right.

LaVOY: And who married you?

MOIOLA: Father… I can’t remember his name either [chuckles]

LaVOY: That’s quite alright.

MOIOLA: It was a long time ago.

LaVOY:  Where did you go on your honeymoon?

MOIOLA: We went to Disneyland.

LaVOY: Now, what Disneyland?

MOIOLA: In California. Was just starting up then.

LaVOY: I didn’t realize that it had been going that long.

MOIOLA: I don’t know, might have not been either, to tell you the truth. We went to Las Vegas, Ramon was down there in the Driver's division, and then we went to Los Angeles and San Francisco and came up around the coast.

LaVOY:  You had a nice honeymoon down to Las Vegas and up through California.

MOIOLA: Yeah. Yeah.

LaVOY:  Then where did you settle down in Fallon? Where was your first home?

MOIOLA: Well, we lived at the Eagles Apartments [40 E. Williams]. Used to be over the printing press. The old one on Williams and Maine.

LaVOY:  How long did you live there?

MOIOLA: Not very long. Then we just built a little piece on the house I had here in town.

LaVOY:  What street was that on?

MOIOLA: It was on Broadway.

LaVOY:  How long did you live there?

MOIOLA: Four or five years.

LaVOY:  I understand that you and your wife were fabulous dancers.


LaVOY:  Did you go out on every Saturday evening dancing?

MOIOLA: That's right! You can say that again.

LaVOY:  Where all did you go?

MOIOLA: Whenever there was a party, that's it. Dancing. At the Fraternal Hall and the old halls out here...the old Harmon, Sheckler--a lot of those old dance halls. Old buildings. Lucky they stayed up.

LaVOY:  Do you remember who any of the musicians were that played for these dances?

MOIOLA: Yeah. We used to have Elmer Byrd out of Reno, Townsend, he's a big politician now. Oh we had a lot of them guys. Then we had accordion players and all that. And we had the "Mr. and Mrs. Club", which we used to dance every month. That was a big deal. That was really good.

LaVOY:  How many, approximately, belonged to that?

MOIOLA: About sixty.

LaVOY:  Did your club set up the dances?

MOIOLA: Yeah. They took turns. There'd be a Board of Directors, and then there'd be so many on each. They'd have the food, and everything like that. Of course, the Elks Hall and everything was all paid through the membership.

LaVOY:  I have never heard of that club. That must have been a lot of fun.

MOIOLA: Oh yeah. It was great fun.

LaVOY:  Do you remember some of the people that belonged?

MOIOLA: Well, very few of them left now, I guess. Most of them has gone by the wayside. Except us old timers.

LaVOY:  Do you remember some of the names?

MOIOLA: Oh...Howard Winder, Sis Winder, Oh there was a great bunch of them.

LaVOY:  Well, it sounds like it was lots of fun.

MOIOLA: Yeah, it was.

LaVOY:  How many children did you have?

MOIOLA: Three. One boy and two girls.

LaVOY:  What were their names, and when were they born?

MOIOLA: David, he's forty years old now. He was born in 1950. And Maria Lyn would have been born two years later, that would have been 1952. And then Linda about 1953. Or in that category.

LaVOY:  I see. Now what type of employment did you have during this period of time?

MOIOLA: Well, let's see. We're in the fifties now?

LaVOY:  No. We're still about 1939. Right after you and your wife were married.

MOIOLA: Well, then we went to Hawthorne.

LaVOY:  And what did you do in Hawthorne?

MOIOLA: Shipped ammunition.

LaVOY:  Tell me about that.

MOIOLA: Oh we spent about four years there. I was a carpenter on the loading dock. We used to ship bombs to blow the Japanese up. They had a big loading dock and we used to ship about a hundred cars a day of different kinds of ammunition. And we had one loading dock we had part of the time we had Seabees helping us on the carpenter crews. Civilians and Seabees, so we could load 'em and ship 'em out.

LaVOY:  Now did you as a carpenter build the boxes that the bombs went in?

MOIOLA: No. All we did was just brace them. The boxes and everything were made for 'em. We had to put them in the boxcars, and nail 'em down so they don't roll around in there because them bombs was pretty heavy.

LaVOY:  Now in other words, the bombs came boxed to you on the loading platform...

MOIOLA: Right.

LaVOY:  ...you put them in the cars, and fastened them down..

MOIOLA: That's it. And if the bombs were loose, you had to make trails, regular rack inside the cars, to put 'em on and then tie 'em down with timbers.

LaVOY:  Wasn't that rather dangerous work?

MOIOLA: Not really. The detonators wasn't with 'em and there was just bombs themselves.

LaVOY:  Where were these shipped to?

MOIOLA: Course you never knowed where they shipped 'em to. They had different names and different places they sent 'em first, then they would put 'em on boats and get 'em out of here.

LaVOY:  About how many men worked on this project?

MOIOLA: On the base all together? Oh God, I can't remember all that. There were about six loading docks over there. Was a lot of people working. A lot of ammunition was going out, I can tell you that. Some comin' in some goin' out.

LaVOY:  Now that coming in, would that have been for storage?


LaVOY:  The depot...there's not much left there now.

MOIOLA: Not really. It's still there, but there's nothing much in it.

LaVOY:  You worked there for four years. Then what did you do?

MOIOLA: Then I come to Fallon [1945] and I bought Consumer's Supply Store out.

LaVOY:  And where was that?

MOIOLA: It was the old Gevelhoff place. Then we moved to town next to the Texaco Station, That's where the Mill Ends is now. That's where the store was. We stayed there until 1973. That's when we sold that.

LaVOY:  What did you sell?

MOIOLA: Hardware. That's it.

LaVOY:  Were you about the only hardware store in town?

MOIOLA: No. There was Kent's and Ansotegui's out there – He just closed up here – and Palludan's. We sold out in 1973. That was the end of it.

LaVOY:  And then after 1973 you retired?

MOIOLA: Well, sort of a way. Got ourselves mixed up in the big pellet mill here that was a headache. We're just finally gettin' to a close now after thirteen, fourteen years of lawsuits.

LaVOY:  Now where is that pellet mill located?

MOIOLA: On 770 Harrigan Road.

LaVOY:  Is that the one that the Japanese now have?

MOIOLA: Right. That's it.

LaVOY:  I can't think of the name of it, but it is on the corner of Harrigan and Lazy Heart.


LaVOY:  You owned the pellet mill?

MOIOLA: Well, we did. We got rid of it though. Finally.

LaVOY:  Now who is we? You and your wife?

MOIOLA: Ramon and I and my son David. There was three of us.

LaVOY:  Now tell me what you did at the pellet mill.

MOIOLA: Well, we built it all up. Got it all ready to go to work and . .

LaVOY:  You built the buildings?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Buildings, and brought in all the machinery, put it all together and started making pellets and stuff like that and it takes a lot of money to run those things. And then one thing led to another and we didn't get along with one of the partners. Gotchal was one of the partners, which we should never have gotten mixed up with anything like that. But anyway, it's bygone now.

LaVOY:  Well, did you sell to the Japanese?

MOIOLA: We sold it to Petersen.. and then part of the ranch to Johnson he works for First National Bank [First Interstate Bank].

LaVOY:  I believe that's Rob Johnston.

MOIOLA: Rob... that's it. That's the one.

LaVOY:  And then when did you decide that you were going to sell it?

MOIOLA: Well we finally got out of it in 1984.

LaVOY:  That's interesting. I didn't realize that you had been involved with that. It's such an active, going concern right at this moment. Who owns it now?

MOIOLA: A guy by the name of Petersen.

LaVOY:  Do you ever go by it and wish that you had it?

MOIOLA: No, not really. Once I get rid of somethin', I don't want it back, (laughter)

LaVOY:  Something I want to ask you, you have such a lovely home here, when did you buy this property and build this home?

MOIOLA: 1955.

LaVOY:  Did you build the home yourself?

MOIOLA: Yeah, I built Ramon's house first. That's the one over there [home across field belonging to Maurice Hanifan - Drumm Lane]. And then I built this one here next or the year after.

LaVOY:  You did it all yourself?

MOIOLA: I had Leo Lamb help me. One of the carpenters from the District.

LaVOY:  Well, all the beautiful trees that you have along your ditches, did you put those in?

MOIOLA: Yeah. When we first came out here.

LaVOY:  Well, it's certainly something to be proud of because it's a beautiful piece of property, and the trees are just lovely. You keep mentioning Ramon. I have heard that Ramon was in the Secret Service during World War II. Was that correct?

MOIOLA: Right.

LaVOY:  Did he ever tell you any of the things that he...

MOIOLA: Oh yeah. He use to mention. Course when he came out then I took him in as a partner 'cause I bought Gevelhoff out first. Then we kept it together till he died.

LaVOY:  Ramon- His family owned a hotel in town, did they not?

MOIOLA: Right.

LaVOY:  Where was it?

MOIOLA: Right next to the Mill Ends. To the north.

LaVOY:  How long did they have that?

MOIOLA: Huh. That was a long time ago.

LaVOY:  His mother and father ran the hotel.

MOIOLA: Right. That's it.

LaVOY:  About how many rooms did it have?

MOIOLA: I think ten or twelve.

LaVOY:  Do you remember the name of it?

MOIOLA: Yeah. It was the Grand Hotel.

LaVOY:  Did they serve those delicious Basque dinners there?

MOIOLA: No no no no. It was just hotel. Then I changed it into apartments.

LaVOY:  You did?

MOIOLA: Yeah. Because it was too much work for her to do. So the thing to do was just knock these walls out and make an apartment out of this. There's four apartments upstairs and two apartments downstairs and then there's two little stores downstairs, too.

LaVOY:  Are the apartments still there?

MOIOLA: Oh yeah. Yeah, they're rentin'.

LaVOY:  I know Dr. Quam [Robert S. Quam DC] is in one section of it.

MOIOLA: Right. You're right.

LaVOY:  Well, you certainly were an ambitious builder.


LaVOY:  Certainly shows you were not lazy in the least bit. Now what organizations did you belong to?

MOIOLA: Knights of Columbus. That's about it. Didn't have much time for stuff like that. When you gotta build stuff... I built a service station, I built the Mill Ends building, and then I overhauled the apartment house and I built these two houses. I built Andy Drumm's where his office used to be up here.

LaVOY:  Where the telephone company is?

MOIOLA: Yeah. That's right. And I built McCuskey's house out there by Dingacci's.

LaVOY:  When you did this carpentering work, did you have anybody helping you?

MOIOLA: Oh yeah. We used to hire somebody else to help, 'cause for one guy it's too much work.

LaVOY:  Now did your son work with you most all the time?

MOIOLA: No, not really.

LaVOY:  Just when you needed him.

MOIOLA: Yeah. We sent him to school.

LaVOY:  Your three children, what are they doing now?

MOIOLA: Well the two girls teach in Sparks. And then my son, makes software for New York Life now.

LaVOY:  And where is that?

MOIOLA: He has rented a big building up there on that Coney Island and he's got about fifteen, sixteen people working for him making software for New York Life. Plus he sells New York Life Insurance.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. You didn't answer my question about Ramon being with the ...


LaVOY:  Basically what's now called the CIA?

MOIOLA: Whatever it was. Yeah.

LaVOY:  The Secret Service. Did he go to Europe?

MOIOLA: Oh he was in Italy. Yeah, he was over there for two or three years, till the war was over.

LaVOY:  Well, I know that Senator Alan Bible had mentioned to me years ago about Ramon, the work that he had done. And I just wondered if you had any stories at all that he had told you.

MOIOLA: No. Oh he was good at that. He was a good politician. Yeah, he knew what he was doin'.

LaVOY:  Now the last thing that I wanted to ask you: Fallon has changed so much, what are your feelings on the way it has changed?

MOIOLA: Well, it's changed for the better, that's for sure. A lot of people coming in here where we used to be just a few. Of course, there wasn't too many people around here anyway you know. And actually you can't make a living on farm land any more now because everything is so damn high. I think they're trying to build too damn many houses here. Pretty soon they're going to run in to each other some way or another. But I guess if they keep 'em filled, that's great. It's better that way than to have them empty.

LaVOY:  Has the base affected you in any way. The Naval Air Station?

MOIOLA: Not really. Not even when we was in business. They don't buy in little quantities you know. Sometime a subcontractor has to buy somethin', but other than that--

LaVOY:  Well, now I know a great sadness came in your life when your wife had, I believe, a stroke. Is that correct?

MOIOLA: No. She has cancer.

LaVOY:  Oh, I didn't realize that.

MOIOLA: In 1981.

LaVOY:  So you have been living by yourself for quite some time?

MOIOLA: Yeah. It's about seventeen months now she's been in a home.

LaVOY:  At the Convalescent Center.


LaVOY:  Well, I know that's very hard for you, and you're wonderful visiting her as you do and everything. Well, on behalf of the Churchill County Museum Project I certainly want to thank you for this interview. It's very, very interesting, and I do appreciate it.

MOIOLA: Thank you. It was pleasant doin'

Editors Comment:

Maria Moiola passed away October 14, 1991.

The Elks Hall that Mr. Moiola referred to was actually the Eagles Hall located at 1630 W. Williams.

Original Format

Audio Cassette



Social Bookmarking



Moiola, Lewis.mp3
Moila, Lewis George.docx


Churchill County Museum Association, “Lewis George Moiola Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed September 24, 2020, https://ccmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/630.