Ivy Wallace Ringstrom Oral History

Dublin Core


Ivy Wallace Ringstrom Oral History


Ivy Wallace Ringstrom Oral History


Churchill County Museum Association


Churchill County Museum Association


July 9, 1990


Analog Cassette Tape, ,Doc File, MP3 Audio



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marian LaVoy


Ivy Wallace Ringstrom


at 5580 Candee Lane, Fallon, NV




an interview with


July 9, 1990

This interview was conducted by Marian LaVoy: transcribed by Pat Boden: edited by Sylvia Arden and Marian LaVoy: first draft typed by Pat Boden: final typed by Pat Boden: and supervised by Sylvia Arden, Humanist-in-Residence: and 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.


Ivy Ringstrom is a charming and quiet-spoken lady who evidences constant love and closeness to her family. She lives in Kansas on a farm with her daughter's family but returned to Fallon for the summer to "house-sit" for Harriet and Bill Barkley and to visit relatives and friends. . . she was active in PEO and has many PEO sisters in the area.

One of the reasons for interviewing Ivy was because her father, Walter Wallace, worked briefly on the Lahontan Dam project, then worked as a carpenter building the take-out structures on the canals and eventually became Project Manager of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District.

The afternoon that I arrived I admired a tree heavily laden with apricots and remarked that it was a shame that Harriet would miss the bounty. Ivy said, "Oh, I'm picking and canning some each day so the Barkleys can enjoy them when they return from Europe." The house was spotless and two beautiful loaves of freshly baked bread were cooling on the counter.

The Barkley's solar home has attic fans that activate at eighty degrees and the scorching afternoon sun had them going full blast.

We looked for a quiet room to "set-up" for the interview and ended up in the back bedroom that opened on a plant-laden sun room. Ivy had made a few notes to remind herself of incidents that she wanted to recall about her parents. As our session progressed we both relaxed and a very interesting history evolved. We had started at one o'clock and could not believe that it was four when the final thoughts were recorded.


LaVOY:  This is Marian LaVoy of the Churchill County Museum Oral History Project interviewing Ivy Wallace Ringstrom at the home of Harriet and Bill Barkley at 5580 Candee Lane, Fallon. The date is July 9th, 1990. Good afternoon, Ivy, would you please give me your full name and tell me when and where you were born?

RINGSTROM: Well, I'm Ivy Wallace Ringstrom and I was born in Fallon, Nevada, September 25th, 1912. Actually I was born out on the farm, my grandparent's farm. It's where Don Travis now lives.

LaVOY:  What were your grandparent's names?

RINGSTROM: Ida and Albin Lohse.

LaVOY:  Those were your mother's parents?

RINGSTROM: My mother's parents, yes.

LaVOY:  What were your parents' names?

RINGSTROM: My parents' names were Ella Lohse Wallace and Walter Herbert Wallace.

LaVOY:  When did your father come to Fallon?

RINGSTROM: In 1906, in the Spring of 1906.

LaVOY:  I see, you say you were born on the Lohse…


LaVOY:  You were born on the Lohse farm?


LaVOY:  And your Mother and Father were married in what year?

RINGSTROM: 1911. In Fallon.

LaVOY:  And then you were born in 1912.


LaVOY: Where did your Mother meet your Father?

RINGSTROM: Well, she met him someplace here in Fallon, I think it was at a mutual friend's home.

LaVOY:  I see. Why did your Father come to Fallon?

RINGSTROM: Well, he left Canada and was working in the fields, harvesting, up in the Dakotas, and the earthquake hit San Francisco and he and one of his buddies decided that they were going to come out West and try to find a job. Well, he said that there was three men for every hammer there, and so they heard about the Newlands Project starting up and so they came up here. He got a job the first day that he was. . . .

LaVOY: That he arrived?

RINGSTROM: That he arrived.

LaVoy: Oh, that's wonderful, and your Mother, did she attend school here in the Fallon area?

RINGSTROM: No. No, she went to school in Germany, and she didn't go to school here. She went to work to try to help the rest of the family come over to the United States, so she didn't go on to school. But she did study and she learned to speak English very well and learned to write it very well too.

LaVOY: Where was she born in Germany?

RINGSTROM: In Chemnitz, which is called Karl Marxstadt now.

LaVOY: Oh, I see. When did she come from Germany, do you know exactly?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was in October of 1906.

LaVOY: October of 1906. Then she had not been here too terribly long before your Father and she met. Is that correct?

RINGSTROM: Well, I think it was about 1910, I guess, 1909, 1910 that they met. He had been working here.

LaVoy: What did he do here on the Dam?

RINGSTROM: Well he actually didn't work on the Dam except to help Mr. Marshall Hiezer with the diamond drill. Mr. Hiezer was the engineer and Dad was assigned to help him, and they made the drill cores to see that the proper strata footing was there for the Dam to be built.

LaVOY: Did he have any things that he said to you about his impressions of the Dam as it was being built?

RINGSTROM: Well, I don't really recall that. I know that they went up there. He went up there a number of times on different occasions but what his capacity was at that time, I don't know.

LaVOY:  Then after he finished with this did he do other work on the reclamation project?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, he started out as a carpenter's helper when he got here. That was his first job. The carpenter was more interested in drinking than he was in working and so he lost his job the next day and my Dad was the carpenter. They were building the take-out structures on the canals, you know. The canals were laid out while the Dam was being explored and built so that when the Dam was finished they could run the water out into the lines. So he worked his way up from carpenter to be foreman and then superintendent, and finally project manager.

LaVOY: Oh, now these structures were wooden structures?

RINGSTROM: Wooden structures, yes.

LaVOY: Were they later replaced by cement?

RINGSTROM: Yes, they were, during the time of the C.C.C.'s, the Civilian Conservation Corps, they were replaced with cement and every one of those that have the C.C.C. marking on them, my Dad designed every one of those structures and supervised the building of them.

LaVOY: Oh, that is wonderful.

RINGSTROM: He stayed up all hours of the night drawing, making the drawings, he was a marvelous. . . what do you call it. . . I can't say it.

LaVOY: Draftsman?

RINGSTROM: Draftsman, yes. Mechanical drawing, you know. and he understood the cement and all of this what went into it, and his drawings were just beautiful.

LaVOY: Oh, that's very interesting, and you say the C.C.C. marking is still on some of those?

RINGSTROM: Oh, they were imprinted right in the cement there and wherever there is a cement structure with C.C.C. on it, my Dad designed it and supervised the building of it.

LaVOY: Oh, that's wonderful. After your Mother and Father were married, where did they live?

RINGSTROM: Well, they lived on the farm. They built a little house there and that's where I was born

LaVOY: Now, where is the farm?

RINGSTROM: That's where Don Travis is, and that is 1800 Wade Lane, where Don Travis's house is now. But it was further back from there, and my grandparent's home was right by that. Theirs was built of adobe bricks. . .

LaVOY:  Your grandparent's home?

RINGSTROM: Yes, they made their chicken houses and tack rooms and storage rooms, and everything, of this adobe brick because it was inexpensive and lumber was expensive; and they had to provision the farm with animals, and seed and everything. They tried to make their money go as far as it could.

LaVOY: They made the adobe brick themselves?


LaVOY: What was it made from?

RINGSTROM: Just mud and straw, and they made frames of wood and poured this slurry into it and let it dry and then they constructed their house.

LaVOY: Well, I think that's marvelous.

RINGSTROM: I do too (laughter). I think it's just absolutely fascinating, and they had it laid out, I guess, like the European style farmyards. But they were not farmers, they were city people and I do admire them for coming here, not knowing the language, not knowing the country. Like they came from a green country and coming out to the desert, and they were in their fifties rolling up their sleeves and starting life all over again.

LaVOY: That is amazing.

RINGSTROM: Isn't it though?

LaVOY: Is that house still standing, do you know?


LaVOY:  And your parents lived right on the property next to it?

RINGSTROM: Well, they had a house right on the farm, and they had that until 1914.

LaVOY:  Now, was that adobe too? how to build and that delivered me doll house that they

RINGSTROM: No, that was built of wood. See, my Dad knew how to build and they built this little house, and the doctors that delivered me said, told afterwards, that it was such a little doll house that they had there.

LaVOY:  Who was the doctor that delivered you?              

RINGSTROM: It was two doctors, Doctor Dempsey [Dr. George Langley Dempsey] and Doctor Farrell [Dr. J. C. Farrell].

LaVOY:  They were early Fallon doctors?

RINGSTROM: Yes, they were.

LaVOY:  I see. Well, you lived there, then, for two years and then where did your parents move?

RINGSTROM: Well, then they bought a farm over on what's the Reno Highway now, and Buck Kirn lives on the farm. He sold part of it. I think it's Clines [Jean and the late Wilfred Cline) that live in the house that Buck built. But the original house that my folks moved into, there was a house on the property, they built a new house. It was finished in 1928. That house is gone now, it was torn down.

LaVOY:  I see, now the house that you lived in then as you grew up was the old house that was there?

RINGSTROM: The old house.

LaVOY:  Can you tell me something about it? How was the house heated?

RINGSTROM: By wood stove, and we cooked on the old wood range, you know.

LaVOY:  Whose responsibility was it to bring the wood in and to get it cut?

RINGSTROM: Well, we shared on that. I was supposed to pick up kindling and that was a murderous job for me (laughter). I hated that and the place abounded in kindling. And yet I hated it so. I was a lazy one I guess.

LaVOY:  Oh, I wouldn't say that. Well, your mother, and you too, cooked on a wood stove.

RINGSTROM: On a wood stove, yes.

LaVOY:  What was your drinking water source?

RINGSTROM: Well, there was a pump and we were lucky, we had a well under the house and had a pump and a sink right in the kitchen. That was right next to the hot water reservoir on the stove so we could just fill it very easily. That was a luxury.

LaVOY:  Yes. I imagine that it was in those days. Did you have electric lights?

RINGSTROM: Not until about 1924, I think it was that we got electricity and Doctor Dempsey had brought electricity out from town to his property, and then my folks and Thomas Williamson, and Frank Hammond, and Mr. Pelton, I can't remember his name, he was Phil Pelton's dad. They went together and brought the power line out, around, to our place and so we had electricity earlier than the other settlers in the valley because the rural electrification didn't take place until the thirties.

LaVOY:  What kind of fixtures did you have?

RINGSTROM: Well, we had light fixtures, we had an electric iron, and we had a toaster and that was it.

LaVOY:  That's wonderful. Did you have indoor plumbing?

RINGSTROM: No. Not until in the new house, 1928, then we had it all there.

LaVOY:  But, prior to that you had to go outdoors . . .?

RINGSTROM: Absolutely, absolutely.

LaVOY:  Do you have any funny stories about outdoor plumbing?

RINGSTROM: Well, I know it was awfully cold in the winter time (laughter) and the flies were terrible in the summer time. And it was quite a ways from the house. We just thought we'd died and went to heaven when we got into the new house and had indoor plumbing. Mom says, "It didn't matter about the rest of the stuff, but," she says, "I don't have to go out to the outhouse anymore."

LaVOY:  Well, this sounds very odd to say, but I'm wondering...all of the ranchers in Elko County had the good old Montgomery Ward catalog out in the friendly two-haler and I'm wondering if you had that or if you had . . .?

RINGSTROM: We had the Sears Roebuck catalog (laughter).

LaVOY:  Oh, well, that's the same idea. How did you keep your food cool? You didn't have a refrigerator in the early days.

RINGSTROM: We just didn't. We just used the fresh food and that was it.

LaVOY:  You had no running water ?

RINGSTROM: No. No cooler. Not at all. Not until we got into the new house and we didn't have a refrigerator then but we had a cool room where the air ventilated from the bottom and sucked up the cool air from under the house, and kept things nice and cool.

LaVOY:  But that was in the new house?

RINGSTROM: That was in the new house. In the old house we relied on canned vegetables and fruits, and meats in the summertime would only be when we had gone to town and brought fresh meat and that had to be cooked right away. And, of course, we had our hams and bacon which we could keep.

LaVOY:  Now you say canned vegetables. Did your Mother and yourself do a lot of canning?

RINGSTROM: Very much.

LaVOY:  What were some of the things that you canned?

RINGSTROM: We canned peas and corn, and I can tell you an experience about corn canning. We had a steam canner. It was before there was a pressure cooker, and my Aunt Elsie and I, we had gathered all this corn and put it in the jars, and we put it in this steam canner and every single jar spoiled because we didn't know that corn swelled when it got hot and cooked and, of course, there was no seal on it, and every one of them spoiled. We were the most disappointed people you could ever think of. But we learned.

LaVOY:  You said your Aunt Elsie. Who was your Aunt Elsie?

RINGSTROM: Well, she was Elsie Sloan, one of the early people that came to the valley, but not before the Dam was built. They came later.

LaVOY:  Was she related to your Mother?

RINGSTROM: No, she was my Mother's brothers wife, my Mother's sister-in-law for that matter. My Uncle Hans, he married her. Oh, I can't remember when that was. . .

LaVOY:  Oh, that's all right, I just was wondering what her name was.

RINGSTROM: It would have been Elsie Sloan, and her nephew, Jim Sloan, is a lawyer in town now.

LaVOY:  In Fallon?


LaVOY:  Oh, I see, well, you said you had a garden, was that your Mother's responsibility, because I imagine your Father was out working.

RINGSTROM: Yes, my Father was always working and Mother had the garden but as for canning, we canned peas and carrots, corn, and beans, string beans, and oh whatever, exotic vegetables, sometimes we'd have different things that we would have and make a mixture of. . . squashes and things. And then, when we got a pressure cooker then we canned meat. Chickens and pork and beef.

LaVOY:  Well, that's wonderful. Your Mother, did she have a flower garden?

RINGSTROM: My Mother was an avid gardener, and that was really her main hobby, and after we moved into the new house she had more time and she landscaped the place there and she sold flowers so that she could buy new plants to put in the garden. So it was sort a self-sustaining hobby, but she had a regular park there.

LaVOY:  Did she belong to a garden club?

RINGSTROM: Well, she belonged to the Lahontan Valley Garden Club.

LaVOY:  When did she join that, do you have any idea?

RINGSTROM: Oh, I don't know when that was formed, it was after the war though.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see.

RINGSTROM: Before that there was no garden club. But she did win, she entered a contest that Better Homes and Gardens sponsored and she was given Honorable Mention on this. It was a national contest, and that was one of her pride and joys, - -the certificate that she got from them and we still have that.

LaVOY:  Oh, that is wonderful. Was her picture in the magazine?


LaVOY:  Just her name as an Honorable Mention.

RINGSTROM: Honorable Mention and she got the certificate.

LaVOY:  Oh, that is wonderful. Something I've heard about your mother that I'd like to have you tell me about, I understand that she made marvelous gingerbread houses.

RINGSTROM: Oh, she did. When my sister- I had a sister that was born in 1918.

LaVOY:  And her name was?

RINGSTROM: Ellen, and she died in 1931, and before she died Mother had always admired the gingerbread houses in Germany. But, because my grandparents were saving all their money to bring the family over here, they were very frugal. Grandmother said that was a luxury, so Mother just got to see them, and it was her ambition to get one of these candy houses. which we called candy houses but they're gingerbread houses from Germany, Before my sister died she had gotten one, because they could still get things and then she decided that she was going to make one. She formulated this recipe and she made one for us. The Artemesia Club sponsored this but she made them for the orphanage in Carson City. The Children's Home over there.

LaVOY:  Made them at a certain time of the year or all year?

RINGSTROM: Christmas, for Christmas, always for Christmas. And they were huge, some of these houses were, oh, I guess two and a half feet long by probably two feet high.

LaVOY:  Well, how did she decorate them?

RINGSTROM: Oh, with candy. We saved candy, bought candy, different pretty candies all year round and would stock pile it and then, at Christmas when she was making the candy houses, she would decorate them with the candy.

LaVOY:  Did she bake gingerbread first?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was a honey cake, a honey cake base.

LaVOY:  Lebkuchen?

RINGSTROM: Sort of, and she'd bake these in these big sheets and my Dad and she would design the houses and every year they were different.

LaVOY:  How many did she make a year?

RINGSTROM: Well, she made the big one and then, depending on how many friends and relatives that she was going to make them for, and I used to help make them too. One year we had nineteen candy houses (laughter).

LaVOY:  My goodness.

RINGSTROM: We had just a regular village of them.

LaVOY:  What time of the year did you start making them?

RINGSTROM: In December.

LaVOY:  Oh, just in December? Well you must have been very busy.


LaVOY:  You mentioned the Artemisia Club, would you tell me something about that?

RINGSTROM: Well, do you want to hear it from the beginning?

LaVOY:  Yes, I would like to very much.

RINGSTROM: All right, well Mrs. Dunbar [Mrs. Ed. Dunbar] and Mrs. Del Williams, they saw the farmers' wives come into town on Saturday, because that's when the shopping was, and the men would do their shopping around and do their things and the ladies would evidently get through with their things earlier, and of course, they had the children too and they would just wander the streets. These two women felt very sorry for these women and thought that there should be some place available for them to tidy up and to take care of their children while they were waiting for their husbands to finish their chores around town. So they opened up this little building, I think they rented it from Kents, I'm not too sure about that, but it was next to where the little Woodliff's Store was and they had it opened on Saturday afternoons, and then they had their meetings there. Then they bought this little place over on Williams Avenue next to the Eagle-Standard building and the women could come there and rest, and that was where I first went to Artemisia Club - - at that building. These women were very civic minded. They wanted to do things for the community. They helped with the State Fair which was in Fallon at that time; they encouraged women in the valley to bring their things into the Fair so that it would be interesting and to show off what they could do. They decided that they were going to work toward consolidating the school districts. When I started school, I started school in Fallon which I would have anyway, because we were on the right side of the river. Anybody that lived on the other side of the river from us, the north side, had to go all the way out to Soda Lake School and that was a long ways out there. Way out! I don't know why they didn't make it more centrally located because it was at the edge of the desert and those poor little children had to go all that way. But, Harmon and Stillwater and Lone Tree, St. Clair, and Northam and Hazen, they retained their own schools, their grade schools. They all came in for high school. But the rest of the area was consolidated and they brought the children in by bus.

LaVOY: Now this was through the efforts of the Artemisia Club?

RINGSTROM: Yes, they got it up to the Legislature and passed that this was a consolidated area.

LaVOY: That's wonderful. When did your Mother join the Artemisia Club?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was early in 1930. I don't know exactly when, but it was around 1932, 1933 sometime like that.

LaVOY: Did she become President of it?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes. She was President of it several times and so was I several times. Mother was historian for the state federation. The Artemisia Club belonged to the Nevada Federation which was affiliated with the general Federation of Women's Clubs, and she was historian for the State Federation and I was secretary, recording secretary for the State Federation, then I became President for the State Federation.

LaVOY:  Oh, that's wonderful.

RINGSTROM: It wasn't any of my, really, desires because I had no intention of going on in the offices, but the first vice-president at that time had been in a severe car accident and hurt her legs and she couldn't take it; and the second vice-president, she was taking a literature course, and she said, "I am going to finish it and then I will be ready to take over the presidency." And so, with the help of the past president I took it and survived, and the Federation survived (laughter).

LaVOY:  I'm sure you did a marvelous job. I understand that the Artemisia Club started in 1909. . .


LaVOY:  . . . and it's still going?

RINGSTROM: Still going.

LaVOY:  And they're giving scholarships and what not.

RINGSTROM: Yes, they are. They used the money that they got, well, they had given scholarships for years but they were small and over the years, they increased just a little bit, but not all that much. But after they sold the club house then they put the money in the bank and they take the interest from that to give scholarships now.

LaVOY:  Now, did they build a new club house after the one next to the Woodliff's store?

RINGSTROM: Yes, they did, that was on Center Street that they built this little club house.

LaVOY:  What address, do you know?

RINGSTROM: No, I can't tell you that now.

LaVOY:  It's where the A Able Vacuum and Sewing Center is, [240 West Center Street] I believe, isn't it?

RINGSTROM: Yes, that's it, and it was very attractive at that time. There were a couple of trees out in the front yard and there was a lawn and a fence and it was really pretty. We were real proud of it.

LaVOY:  I bet you were. Now, something I don't quite understand, the women came in, these were the farm women, the homesteader's wives, came in and they had a place to sit and to visit initially. How was it furnished? Just with lounges and chairs?

RINGSTROM: I think it was very sparsely furnished.

LaVOY:  How long did they continue to use it as a place for the farm women to come in and sit?

RINGSTROM: That I don't know. I imagine when the women came in with automobiles that things were quite different than when they came in with the wagons, you know. It would be quite different.

LaVOY: Well, it sounds like a very ambitious club. Now regressing a bit, let's get back to when you started school. Who were your best friends, who was your childhood playmate?

RINGSTROM: Well, my best playmate was Connie Phillips Walters.

LaVOY:  And where did she live?

RINGSTROM: She lived just across the river from me and-

LaVOY: Where the Lahontan Valley Nursery is now?


LaVOY: What were some of the games that you played as children?

RINGSTROM: Well, we used to dress-up a lot and we liked to play house. Some friends of my parents moved away and left us a big box of lace curtains and we hung those lace curtains in a little chicken house and we covered that with lace curtains and put barley sacks on the floor, and we had us a palace.

LaVOY: Well, that sounds wonderful.

RINGSTROM: It was. Yes, Connie and I liked to dress-up and play queen and different things, We'd take turns being queen and all and it was great.

LaVOY: I imagine so. Now did Connie have to go to the Soda Lake School?

RINGSTROM: No. Her brother did. He was a little older, but by the time she was ready to go to school, we started school together.

LaVOY: And where was that?

RINGSTROM: Well, that's where the Cottage Schools are now, but it was called the Old High School then and it was just four rooms and it was a brick building. I don't know when that was torn down, but each room was heated by a coal stove. When my sister started school at the same school, she came home with this black on her hands and her clothes. . . Mother says, "What in the world have you been doing?" and she says, "Well, it's this black stuff that the teacher puts in the stove and the kids call coal." We burned wood. She didn't know what coal was (laughter). My first teacher was named Mrs. Grant, and where she came from and who she was I have no idea.

LaVOY:  Now, did you have all eight grades in the four rooms?

RINGSTROM: I don't know, probably just the first and second grades, and then third and fourth grades were over at the West End School which was a building almost identical to the Old High School. It was a brick building with the four rooms.

LaVOY:  And what street was that?

RINGSTROM: Well, it's where the West End School is now.

LaVOY:  Where the current one is?

RINGSTROM: Yes. [End of tape 1 side A]

LaVOY:  We were talking about the West End School. Now when you finished your elementary grades, where did you go to school?

RINGSTROM: To the High School, which I think is the Junior High now, but it was the Churchill County High School.

LaVOY:  That was the one that was built in 1917?

RINGSTROM: I believe that's right, yes.

LaVOY:  There was another one prior to that, I believe.

 RINGSTROM: Oh, I don't know if there was another high school.

LaVOY:  I believe there was one built in 1907.

RINGSTROM: Well, that was probably the one that was the Old High School that I went to, where I started school.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. What were some of the classes that you took in High School?

RINGSTROM: Oh, I took history, English and home ec, and typing, and shorthand, and algebra.

LaVOY:  Then did you go on to school?

RINGSTROM: No, I didn't.

LaVOY:  Okay, now something that I'd like to ask you about. What stores do you remember in Fallon?

RINGSTROM: The I. H. Kent Company, which is still there. Gray Reid. . .

LaVOY:  Oh, was there a Gray Reids here?

RINGSTROM: There was a Gray Reids.

LaVOY: Where was it located?

RINGSTROM: Street closer to the Oats Park School. Well, Eldridge and Hursh were over on the other side of Maine Street, on the west side of Maine Street was a dry goods store that's where we could buy all our fabrics for making clothes and notions and all. It was on the corner of Center and Maine on the same side of the street as Kents were, and then the hardware store that was Jarvis and Bible, and I think there was a hardware store way down on Center

LaVOY: You mentioned the little store that is now down by the Museum, what store was that?

RINGSTROM: That was Frank Woodliff's store-that's Frank Woodliff Sr.'s.

LaVOY: What did they sell?

RINGSTROM: That was before my time, that was closed then but I think it was all dry goods mostly.

LaVOY: Something I wanted to ask you, when you were in high school there must have been a horse trough or something in the center of the street, I keep hearing about this. Could you tell me about that?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, that's Maine and Williams. There was a horse trough, and underneath was a fountain where the little dogs could drink. All I know is that it was just standing there in the days before, when horses were brought into town, I remember when Maine Street was paved. It was a gravel street, and my Dad tells about the freight wagons that went through and assembled on Maine Street.

LaVOY: Where were they going?

RINGSTROM: To Rawhide and Wonder Mines. He said that the first night's stop was out at Beckstead's store. That's about four or five miles out of town. [425 East Corkill Lane)

LaVOY: What were they freighting?

RINGSTROM: Supplies out to the mines.

LaVOY: Food and whatever?

RINGSTROM: Food and whatever.

LaVOY: Well, I was interested in this fountain... this horse trough that you're talking about, because I understand the Draper's Self Culture Club put that up.

RINGSTROM: I don't know who did, and I don't know who took it down, but I

think it was too bad because it was interesting.

LaVOY:  I believe they put it up in 1914 and then it was moved in 1929 when the street was paved.

RINGSTROM: Probably.

LaVOY:  Getting back to your school. Did you have school dances?

RINGSTROM: At the High School and they were severely chaperoned too, believe me!

LaVOY:  Oh, tell me about this.

RINGSTROM: We had a wonderful principal, Mr. McCracken-George McCracken. He was very, very strict. He didn't allow any hanky-panky, even in the halls. Boys and girls were not supposed to talk to each other very much. They did a lot of note passing though. No hand holding, and the parties were fun-everybody dressed very nicely-no blue jeans, that was not allowed. The only time they did was when they had a hay ride, and they could dress down, but I remember when bobby socks first came in to being... Mr. McCracken did not allow any girl to come to school with bobby socks!

LaVOY:  Well, what did you wear?

RINGSTROM: Silk stockings if you please.

LaVOY:  Oh, my goodness.

RINGSTROM: Yes, silk stockings!

LaVOY:  How did you young people entertain yourselves? I know you had the school dances occasionally, but how else did you entertain yourselves?

RINGSTROM: Oh, dear, I don't know, we had picnics and private parties.

LaVOY:  Where did you picnic?

RINGSTROM: Oh, along the river and Lahontan Dam.

LaVOY:  And how many would go along in these groups?

RINGSTROM: Oh, probably 10,15, 20, something like that.

LaVOY:  Do you have any funny stories that you'd like to tell about one of or more of your outings?

RINGSTROM: No, I was raised pretty strict, I wasn't allowed to go out too awfully much.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. Well, when did you graduate from High School?


LaVOY:  In 1932. How did you happen to meet your husband?

RINGSTROM: Oh, he came out here from Chicago, he had come from Sweden, .

LaVOY:  What part of Sweden?

RINGSTROM: Stockholm and Dalarna, up in the country, where his foster mother was, because after his mother died he was taken in by a family in the northern part of Sweden. He came to the United States in 1929 and the crash came and he didn't want to go back to Sweden. A friend of his that he had known in Sweden was working for his uncle out here in Fallon, and he wrote to him and asked if he thought he could find a job for him, and he said, "Yes, there was a man here that could use a young man." and so he thought he'd come out here and see about it. He came out on the train and before he went to bed he saw the salt flats of Salt Lake and when he woke up he saw the Parran flats and thought he had gone across this all night long. He thought that this was something awful and when he got off the train in Hazen, it didn't look any better, so he asked the station master when the next train was going back East and he said, "Well, it was nine o'clock at night," This was five o'clock in the morning, and he said, "When did the train go into Fallon?" and he said, "At 7." So he said, "Well, I'll go in and take a look." That was it, he stayed!

LaVOY:  Oh, well, how did you happen to meet him?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was over a can of milk (laughter). The cow went dry on the farm that he was working on, and he came down to get some milk from us, I had heard about him because the young man that was renting the old house from us was working up there on that same farm. He was telling Harry about me and then he was telling me about Harry, so when Harry came down to get the milk I darn well knew who he was. That's the way it started.

LaVOY:  What was your courtship?

RINGSTROM: Well, we went together for three years 'cause this was Depression times and we didn't have much money, but we would decide whether we were going to spend our dollar going to the dance or whether we were going to a movie on Saturday night.

LaVOY:  How much did the movies cost?

RINGSTROM: Evidently a dollar for two or 50 cents each and the country dances were a dollar.

LaVOY:  Now, where were these country dances held?

RINGSTROM: Well, they were out at the Harmon School, at Union School which was our favorite, Sheckler School, St. Clair. . . we went out there a few times but that wasn't really our favorite and we'd go to Northam, The school house was still out at Soda Lake and they had school dances out there.

LaVOY:  What was the music for the dances?

RINGSTROM: Usually a piano.

LaVOY:  Do you recall who the musicians were?

RINGSTROM: Well, I know out at Union it was Lida Sander that played. She was a PEO member for years and was a teacher here and she played piano. Sometimes there would be a guitar. It was mostly piano and . . .Oats was her maiden name [Mary Oats Reed], she played the piano, too. I can't remember what her name was but a lot of people would remember.

LaVOY:  Tell me now, were you working at this time, after you graduated from high school, or you were living at home helping your mother?

RINGSTROM: I was living at home helping my Mother and I did help Mrs. Hall [Ida T. Hall] in her hospital for a bit after I graduated. She had a little, I guess what you'd call now a lie-in hospital just a dwelling house [293 East A Street]. She had maternity cases and other cases, too. I was just a helper there, sort of helping with anything that she needed. It was an interesting experience, I really enjoyed it.

LaVOY:  Was she what we'd call a midwife?

RINGSTROM: Well, she was a registered nurse, and she would have women come in for having their babies and there was always a doctor there, then she would take care of them, but she was a registered nurse.

LaVOY:  What street was this on?

RINGSTROM: I really don't know what the street is called now.

LaVoy:  Is the building still there?

RINGSTROM: I don't know even if the house is still there.

LaVOY:  Then you and your husband went together for three years-then you were married. . .

RINGSTROM: Then we were married and we lived on the farm with my folks and he ran the farm there and then he went into the tractor business. He was the Ford tractor dealer here for awhile.

LaVOY:  Will you tell me something about your wedding?

RINGSTROM: Oh, that was very, very simple. We were married by the Justice of the Peace, at home.

LaVOY:  Who was that?

RINGSTROM: Harold Bellinger. Then we went on our honeymoon. We went up to Mount Lassen. We had a cabin up there on Lake Almanor and we spent $15.00 for a whole week for the cabin up there!

LaVOY:  Oh, my goodness, well that's a bargain.

RINGSTROM: That's a bargain. Lake Almanor is quite a resort place now. . lovely homes up there and everything, but it was quite primitive at that time and it was absolutely marvelous.

LaVOY:  Well, how many attended your wedding?

RINGSTROM: Oh, just close family.

LaVOY:  Who was your attendant?

RINGSTROM: My aunt Elsie. (Sloan)

LaVOY:  Oh, I see. All right, well then, you came back and your husband took over the farm.

RINGSTROM: The farm.

LaVOY:  Would you tell me something about that?

RINGSTROM: Well, just running the farm, that was all, because my Dad was always working and this relieved him of the thinking about milking cows and planting seed and harvesting.

LaVOY:  When did your Father pass away?

RINGSTROM: Oh, you have me there again. It's twenty-three, twenty-four years ago now, whatever that is.

LaVOY:  I see, he lived to a ripe old age.

RINGSTROM: Oh yes, he did.

LaVOY:  And your Mother too?

RINGSTROM: My Mother was ninety-six when she died.

LaVOY:  My, that's a wonderful age. You mentioned that your sister died when she was twelve or thirteen?

RINGSTROM: Thirteen.

LaVOY:  What did she die from?

RINGSTROM: Well she had complications from an appendicitis operation.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see.

RINGSTROM: Peritonitis, actually, which doesn't happen anymore because they have antibiotics and such, but that was in the days before.

LaVOY:  Where was she buried?

RINGSTROM: She's buried on the farm and her grave is still there.

LaVOY:  The grave is still there. Does it have a fence around it?

RINGSTROM: No, Mother wanted it to be just perfectly natural, so she landscaped around it and what there is now, I don't know.

LaVOY:  Now, I want to go back just a little bit to ask if Fallon was noted for its turkeys?


LaVOY:  Do you recall turkey farms? Did your folks ever raise turkeys?

RINGSTROM: My Mother raised a few.   My uncle raised some, too. He was on the grandparent's place there and he had some.

LaVOY:  Excuse me, give me your uncle's name again, please?

RINGSTROM: Oh, my uncle was Kurt Lohse. He had a few turkeys, but I do remember there was an Indian by the name of Brown that had a huge turkey farm.

LaVOY:  And where was that?

RINGSTROM: Well, that's out at the Indian Reservation. He really had a good set up out there. He raised lots of turkeys. Mother just raised a few, I think about 125 was the most that they had, but the others raised hundreds and hundreds of them.

LaVOY:  Well, did your Mother sell the turkeys?

RINGSTROM: Yes, picking time was horrendous, I mean that was really gruesome.

LaVOY:  When was picking time?

RINGSTROM: Before Thanksgiving and before Christmas was when they were marketed.

LaVOY:  And who did you sell them to?

RINGSTROM: Consolidated Warehouse. There was a buyer came in and they were graded there and then were shipped out to other markets.

LaVOY:  Where was the Consolidated Warehouse? Is that building still standing?

RINGSTROM: Well, it's up along the railroad tracks, I don't know what's there now, I haven't driven out that way to see if it's still there, but it was a feed and lumber company there.

LaVOY:  You helped with the picking and the cleaning of the turkeys?

RINGSTROM: No, I didn't.

LaVOY:  No, you didn't?

RINGSTROM: No. I might have picked a few pin feathers but I didn't get into that mess, that was too gory for me.

LaVOY:  Who did this?

RINGSTROM: My Mother and my Uncles and they had several others that came and picked and helped us out.

LaVOY:  I also understand there was a big sugar beet factory here. Do you recall that?


LaVOY:  And where was it?

RINGSTROM: It was out by Rattlesnake Hill. It was not used very long because there was a virus got into the beets and it was not profitable to raise beets.

LaVOY:  Did your Father ever raise beets?


LaVOY:  He stuck basically to the turkeys?

RINGSTROM: Well, no, Mother raised the turkeys. Dad's part of the farm was alfalfa and oats and barley and corn.

LaVOY:  Did he sell those and did he have cattle?

RINGSTROM: We had some pigs and some cows that ate most of it. They did sell some hay and barley and then my husband sold the barley for seed barley.

LaVoy:  Oh, I see.

RINGSTROM: The sugar beet factory, that building just deteriorated, there's nothing left anymore.

LaVOY:  Now, you mentioned that your Father raised some alfalfa and oats. What type of farm machinery did he have?

RINGSTROM: Well, in the old days, it was the old horse drawn mower and a sidewinder rake and then they got a crew from town which you call transients now and they called them "hoboes" in those days. They would get some of those to come out but there was always more reliable people running the equipment. They would make shocks of hay and bring it in loaded on the wagons. Then they had a buck, not a buck rake, what did they call that? The fork that clamped down on the load of hay and then took it up and dumped it on the stack?

LaVOY:  Derrick?

RINGSTROM: They had a derrick, yes, and then after that they had cables that were laid out on the wagon and they would lift up the whole load of hay at one time and dump it on the hay stack. One time they couldn't get help in town-it didn't seem like they were able to get anybody-and Dad drove by the farm when he was on his job and he saw these two people working. He came home that night and he says, "Well, I see you got someone to help in the hay." Mom says, "Yes, it was me and my niece. We were out there helping! We were working in the hay."

LaVOY:  Did he sell the hay or did you have cattle too?

RINGSTROM: We had the cows and the cattle fed it all. Once in awhile I guess they would sell a little of it, the surplus, but not all that much.

LaVOY:  You were very young when the First World War broke out but I understand that a lot of Fallon cattle were shipped for feeding the troops.

RINGSTROM: I don't know anything about that.

LaVOY:  But your Father sold cattle to...

RINGSTROM: To whoever.

LaVOY:  Did cattle buyers come through?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, and we had sheep too, and they came through and bought sheep.

LaVoy:  What kind of sheep did you have?

RINGSTROM: Oh, it was a mixed bag, they were mostly black face, [Suffolks] Hampshires, I think they called them. Then there was another kind, but they were just sheep.

LaVOY:  Did you have any horses?

RINGSTROM: Only the work horses-mules.

LaVOY:  You used mules as work horses?

RINGSTROM: Uh Huh, we had some work horses but mostly the GI mules. The ones that were let go after they didn't use them for building ditches on the Project here. The ditches were made with mules, and the fresnos and whatever, to dig the ditches.

LaVOY:  Where did they get the mules?

RINGSTROM: Missouri, (laughing) Government issue. They had stamped in their ears. I can't remember what it was, but they were tattooed.

LaVOY:  Oh, so mules did the bulk of the work on the ditches and after everything was finished, they…

RINGSTROM: They sold them.

LaVOY:  And different farmers around here bought them?

RINGSTROM: Yes, my Dad bought some and then after World War One, there were more mules and the later mules that we had, they were that issue.

LaVOY:  That's interesting. Something else I'd like to ask you about, I

understand that for a while Fallon had a big oil boom?

RINGSTROM: Oh, that was periodic. The big boom must have been the very early '20's, or late teens.

LaVOY:  About 1918, I believe it started

RINGSTROM: Yes, they came in and really gave a big push on this, and the promoters they were very good talkers... Got people all interested and all fired up and sold stock all over the place. . . then that fizzled out. They drilled a well over on my uncle's farm that was the Rice farm. Rice Road is named after it. The City, I guess, still gets water from that well that they dug. All they ever got was water. My Aunt had high hopes of being a millionaire (laughter). It was terrible, the people were fleeced something awful, but about every ten years this oil boom thing came around and a new bunch was taken for a ride.

LaVOY: Do you remember the names of any of the oil promoters?

RINGSTROM: No, I don't.

LaVOY: I understand that there was something called Oil City out by Grimes Point?

RINGSTROM: Well, there could have been. The last oil boom that was surveyed there was real interesting. They drilled wells along the road down on the Schurz Highway and said they had oil, but they were capping the well. We said "Yeah, big deal." If they had an oil well what better thing would they have had than a working, pumping oil well there and a "real" pumper. People would have flocked in here like crazy to" buy up." There was a geologist came in and he wanted to see some specific places where there was oil, especially out by the Salt Wells and some of the formations just North of there. It was very interesting because he was the same geologist for Standard Oil that was doing geological survey and oil survey in Mexico. We read his name in the National Geographic. He very quietly came in and very quietly left and nothing happened, because there just isn't any oil here.

LaVOY: Did you have a lot of "roustabouts" in town during this period?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, they were flocking all over the place and we didn't pay any attention to them because we knew it was all promotional. . . and mining the same way. The people here knew that just because there's color out in the hills, and little bits of "showing" there was nothing really big but a promoter would come in and some of the local people were good at it too, if they needed a new car or something they'd make a new strike and sell stock down in California and sport a new car. That was done quite often in this State.

LaVOY: Were there any oil derricks that you actually saw that went up?

RINGSTROM: Only the one on my Uncle's farm. We watched them drilling there and, of course, I didn't know what it was all about because I was just so young, I was more interested in playing with my cousins.

LaVOY: Now, another thing, do you recall when cantaloupes first came to Fallon?

RINGSTROM: Oh, I sure do.

LaVOY: Would you tell me about that?

RINGSTROM: That was quite a thing and Kent's was big in promoting that. They had a good thing there. They were the kind of melon that would ship well, but there again, the poor farmers were taken in. They would raise the cantaloupes and these buyers would come in and get a whole railroad car load of them, and ship them to Chicago. They had them iced and all but they invariably reached there spoiled, but they came and got more, so I'm not too sure that they really were spoiled, but that's what they told the farmers, and of course, the farmers got very little for them because it was on consignment. . . that was the only way they would take them!

LaVOY:  Oh, on consignment.

RINGSTROM: It was not an out-right sale. . . this way the farmers got very little, it was very disappointing. Many farmers raised them. We even raised a few of them and Kents bought ours but this was an outright sale. They did their own marketing and I think things went much better because they were bigger and well-known and knew how to handle things. The farmers knew how to raise them, but marketing is something else. I think farmers have gotten a lot wiser than in the years past.

LaVOY:  I understand that someone sent their cantaloupes to the Riverside Hotel in Reno and that they were very highly touted there?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, they were all over. The people would take them up to the Winnemucca rodeo. Fallon cantaloupes were known all over. The "Hearts of Gold", were special.

LaVOY:  People are still looking for "Hearts of Gold."

RINGSTROM: Yes, and our doctor, the one that we had in Reno, Doctor West, went to school with the then Governor of Arkansas and he asked me if I would send a crate of melons to the Governor of Arkansas, and they got there and they were fine, so I know that the car load went to Chicago and got there fine, too, but there wasn't anybody from here that went with them so they didn't know for sure.

LaVOY: Well, this is very, very fascinating, now tell me, do you have any children?

RINGSTROM: Yes, I do. I have two children, a daughter and a son, Nancy and Herb.

LaVOY: And where do they live?

RINGSTROM: They both live in Kansas. Herb lives in Kansas City and Nancy lives in Burlington.

LaVOY:  Were they born in Fallon?

RINGSTROM: They were born in Reno. Fallon didn't have much of a hospital at that time and I didn't want to take any chances. We had a doctor up in Reno that was wonderful.

LaVOY:  Who was that, may I ask?

RINGSTROM: Doctor West [End of tape 1]

LaVOY:  Ivy, you went to Reno and had your babies, then returned back to your home in Fallon.


LaVOY:  Did you find it difficult raising them on the farm in Fallon?

RINGSTROM: No, it was a great experience for the children because we lived a mile and a half from town, so anything we needed was easy to get. The children had an ideal situation growing up along the river and playing in the woods. It wasn't built up like it is now and my son would go up to Gary Wheat's and they would camp along the river when they were growing up. They'd catch fish and play and just have the best time in the world. Now it's a city out there.

LaVOY:  Yes, it certainly is. Someone mentioned to me that you had worked for Selective Service, is that correct?

RINGSTROM: Yes, it is. I started in about 1951. Grace Paul had worked during the war and then Alva Gaylord took over after her and then I was there for 21 years. That was just about the time the Selective Service Office was winding up, and they were closing down because they were boxing up the files and shipping them to the central depot in St. Louis.

LaVOY:  Do you have any interesting stories about people that were drafted and how families reacted?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was very interesting and I always felt that I was trying to help the families and the young men because I can understand how awful it was to be taken to war because it was "hot war". . . both Korea and Vietnam. Some boys would come in quite disturbed as their parents wouldn't listen to them. One young man wanted to join the Air Force and he said his parents were dead against it and I said, "What do you want to do?" He said, "Well, I want to go in and make a career of it." and I said, "Okay." I knew his parents real well and I said, "Why don't you go home and don't ask your parents what they think-tell them what you think, that this is what you want. You want to make a career of it. You've thought it over carefully and you hoped you'd have their blessings." It worked and he was a career Air Force man. I feel good about that. Then there was a very sad case, this young man came in, he was 17 years old and wanted to volunteer for the Draft because he wasn't old enough to be drafted. I said, "Oh, have you talked to your parents?" He said, "Yes." I said, "What did they say?" "Well," he said, "they agree with what I want to do." I said, "You're so young you don't have to go yet. So, please, go home and talk it over awhile longer, and then come back, I want you to bring, if you're still of the same mind, I want you to bring a parent with you." Well, he came back a few weeks later with his mother, and his mother said, "This is what he wants." I said, "What does his Dad say?" She said, "Well, if that's what he wants, that's what he will do." So, I said, "Okay." We got him signed up and his parents had to sign for him. He got to Vietnam, he was there three weeks, and was killed. (Sobbing.) I never got over it. It was terrible.

LaVOY: Yes, it certainly is.

RINGSTROM: It seemed like he had a date with destiny, but it. . . it was hard. Then there was a young man who had a physical ailment that he hadn't told the examiners about when he went down for a physical examination. He was called up for the Draft and said "I didn't tell them about this." Well, it was one of the things that is listed in the book as not acceptable, and his employer called me from Reno and said, "What are his chances of being rejected?" and I said, "He'll be back in town in three days, because they will not take him." Well, the young man says to me, "Whose side are you on?" I said, "I'm on the right side, I have to tell you what is right and what's in the book. I'm not trying to railroad anybody in here. This was all made out. I have to tell you, or I would be negligent." Well, he was back in town in three days, his employer called me and thanked me and the boy thanked me. Then there were boys that had ailments that they were rejected but they looked perfectly all right but were not, and parents would come in and say, "Well, if that boy can stay home, my son can too." I couldn't tell them what was wrong with the boy because that was confidential. But I had those kind of things but it was a job and I enjoyed it.

LaVOY: Did you have any parents very angry with you?

RINGSTROM: Oh, yes, oh yes.

LaVOY: Did they come in and be disagreeable?

RINGSTROM: They certainly were. There were times when I would hold the bottom of my desk to keep from saying things that I shouldn't say. I always had to maintain a calm exterior.

LaVOY: I'm sure you were very good at that.

RINGSTROM: I tried, I really tried. Poor Mr. Reed, Margaret Estlow's father, was one of the Board members. He was a darling man and he was Chairman of the Board. He saw one young man off and the father of that young man called Mr. Reed every vile name that was in the book, Mr. Reed was a man that never used an off-color word or an off-color expression and that poor man was crushed, but he was only doing his duty.

LaVOY:  I hope the boy returned from war, did he?


LaVOY:  And then was this man, friendly?

RINGSTROM: What he said was, "Well, my son is a veteran." He was real proud of the son, but he never did apologize to Mr. Reed for the awful things that he said. There were a lot of experiences, and it was interesting, I certainly saw mankind at its best and its worst.

LaVOY:  I imagine that you did.


LaVOY:  Now, the office closed down when?

RINGSTROM: Well, it closed down after I retired, and Mary Lou Ghormley took over. It was just a very short time that everything was closed down. So I got out of there at the right time.

LaVOY:  Very interesting. Now I would like to regress and see if you have anything further that you'd like to tell me about your father.

RINGSTROM: Yes, in the early days there was what they called a headquarters but it was really bachelor quarters for the work crews building the ditches and whatever needed to be done; there was a cook house there and my Mother cooked there for just a little while after she was married to my Dad. This was on the end of Venturacci Lane right up by where the canal is now. There were some buildings there and that's where the men stayed when they came in from work. They roomed and boarded there.

LaVOY:  Do you know what they had in the rooms? Plain cots?

RINGSTROM: I imagine, I know when my Dad was working up on the Truckee Canal they realigned the tunnels there and he was up there and they had cots, so I imagine they were the same thing. They had tents and cots there, but there were buildings there, they weren't tents that they had.

LaVOY:  Did your Mother ever say anything at all about what she had to cook for the short time that she worked there?

RINGSTROM: Lots of food (laughing).

LaVOY:  How many men was she cooking for?

RINGSTROM: I suppose about 20.

LaVOY:  Was she the only cook?

RINGSTROM: Yes, she was the only one.

LaVOY:  Did she have any help with cleaning the vegetables and whatnot?

RINGSTROM: No, but my Dad helped to dry dishes at night . . . but he drew the blinds so that the men wouldn't see that he was doing this.

LaVOY:  They served the men with dishes and then your Mother had to do the dishes?

RINGSTROM: Yes, right.

LaVOY:  Or, I should say your Father and Mother did the dishes.

RINGSTROM: Yeah, they did the dishes in the evening.

LaVOY:  How many meals a day did she cook?

RINGSTROM: Breakfast, and made lunches, and had the dinner. It was very plain food because, after all, in a camp it's nothing exotic, just meat and potatoes and gravy and a few vegetables.

LaVOY:  Desserts?

RINGSTROM: I suppose there was always pies and cakes to make.

LaVOY:  Did she quit because she was expecting you?

RINGSTROM: Well, the house was getting done and she was expecting and not feeling too good so that was the last of her employment.

LaVOY:  Do you recall how much she was paid?

RINGSTROM: No, I really don't, but I do know that you could buy a pound of hamburger for fifteen cents, and steaks for twenty-five cents. She kept close account of it but it's hard to relate to prices then and now, and I don't know what the men paid for room and board there, because, with today's prices you just can't relate to that at all. But I do know that she paid fifteen cents a pound for hamburger.

LaVOY:  That's amazing.

RINGSTROM: Yes, it is (laughter). I'd like to talk a little bit about my Dad. He was always available to the water users when he was Project Manager, and when he was Superintendent there. He was always out in the field and he came home at noon. He had a car [there were no mobile phones at that time,] so he could always get phone calls and have his lunch, rather than go to the office and pick up messages. The phone did ring quite often as they knew that he would be home. One time he was walking along the ditch down at the Indian Reservation and there were some Indians having an argument about the water. They saw my Dad coming along and they said, "Oh, here comes Wallace. Let's ask him, he knows everything." So he had the confidence of the Indian people and he never had any trouble with them. They were always nice to him and always very helpful. My Dad certainly was helpful too, because he felt that he was working for the people at the Irrigation District and he was their servant, I really admired him for that. He was so very conscientious about what the farmer's could afford to pay and how the best use of the money was made when they made up the budget. Every dollar would count.

Well, I guess that's about all.

LaVOY:  I understand that when the Project first started the land became waterlogged. What did he have to say about that and how did he work on that?

RINGSTROM: Well, when this Project was first started it was under the Interior Department, Bureau of Reclamation, IDBR was what everything was stamped. The main office was in Denver and everything came out of Denver, so before the Project was turned over to the farmers here they must have had engineers come out from Denver to assess the situation and that's when they decided to dig the drain ditches. There was a lot of surveying going on and dredging to get rid of this water because the alfalfa has a very deep tap root and it will go down to water. If the water table is high it will rot.

LaVOY:  Oh, I see, and the farmers had taken all their money to plant these fields and the crops rotted.

RINGSTROM: Uh huh, they didn't produce, so they drug those drain ditches and after that things went along very well.

LaVOY:  Fine, can you think of anything else you'd like to say about your father?

RINGSTROM: No, except he was a great man.

LaVOY:  And you say he lived to be ninety . . .

RINGSTROM: No, he was eighty-four when he died. [1966]

LaVOY:  And your mother was . .

RINGSTROM: Ninety-six. [1892-1988]

LaVOY:  Ninety-six. Two grand people.

RINGSTROM: They really were, and I feel that they had a good part in developing this area here.

LaVOY:  Well, thank you very much, Ivy, I've certainly enjoyed listening to you. This is the third tape we’ve recorded on [ed- I believe she misspoke, we only have 2 tapes and there are not pieces of transcript missing audio], and you will be hearing back from us as to what you have said. We will have it typed for you and returned to you.

RINGSTROM: Well, thank you so much. I feel it's a privilege to be able to talk about my parents and family because of their part in the early beginnings.

LaVOY:  I am going to regress a bit, because I forgot to ask you one thing. Why did you move and when did you move to Kansas?

RINGSTROM: Well, my daughter met a young man from the Navy Base and he took her away from Fallon to Kansas City.

LaVOY:  When was this?

RINGSTROM: This was in 1953, and they had their children there. My son was in the Coast Guard for five years and when he got out of the Service, he came back to Fallon. He then lived in Reno and was on

the Highway Patrol but he wanted to do something else so he went back to Kansas City where Nancy was. Harry and I went back to see the family and to be with all the children and the grandchildren. I was about ready to retire, Harry was already retired so we decided that was the thing for us. I had twenty-three more months to go before I retired and we counted the days. We moved back to be with the family.

LaVOY:  And are you enjoying it there?

RINGSTROM: Very much so. . . we've never regretted the move one little bit. We moved in '74 and he died in '78 so we had four good years back there.

LaVOY:  Then you're living there by yourself?

RINGSTROM: No, I'm living with my daughter on her farm in Burlington. They just moved from Kansas City last year. They had had the farm for seven years but they moved down to Burlington when they got their house finished in 1989. They're raising wild turkeys and pheasants and horses. . .  eventually golden retrievers. One thing that might be of interest that I hadn't mentioned was this-in the very early days the first settlers here had a little weir across the river to divert the water into ditches that they had dug to their own farms and property. One of them for the Smart ranch, went right through my folks land. The wood structure was there as long as I can remember, I don't know, maybe it's been taken out since they did some releveling, but the New River channel broke through right there at the ditch when the big flood was in Fallon in 1906. There was a remnant of this ditch there on the farm. These people took their water directly out of the river because there weren't any other ditches, only theirs. They had, what they called a "vested" water right which, preceded the water rights that were given to the farmers. There were several different variations of the water rights, I know the one that my folks had was $22.00 an acre. In later years it went up. The cables that they had put in for the weir were there when I was a child, I remember seeing those in the river.

LaVOY:  You mentioned the flood of 1906, do you recall your parents talking about that?

RINGSTROM: Yes, that was just about the time that my Mother came into town. The railroad was in to town but they couldn't go in because the water had washed out a part of the railroad track, so they came as far as the Carson River bridge and then they were taken in, I don't know how. I can't remember what she said, but anyway, the train couldn't take them. They did say about the different places that were flooded around there. It must have been quite a flood!

LaVoy:  You say that the cables for this weir. Is that what you call it? Were still there when you. . .

RINGSTROM: When I was a child, yes, I remember seeing them. They were, about a half inch thick, spliced cables that were put across and then there were wooden structures put on that; then there were diversion gates there too that held the water back from the river. My Dad took with him a piece of that wooden structure. to an irrigation congress that met in Wyoming. They wanted historic pieces of wood to make a gavel for their meetings, and a piece of that was taken back to put in that gavel.

LaVOY:  When was that?

RINGSTROM: Well, it was before World War II, because my Dad retired right after the War and, during the War nobody travelled anywhere because of the gas rationing. He drove back there and another man went with him, and a piece of this wood was put in the gavel.

LaVOY:  I'm wondering where the gavel is now and if it's in a museum or where it is?

RINGSTROM: Or if they're still using it, maybe?

LaVOY:  One thing I just wanted to ask you. When did your parents get rid of their ranch?

RINGSTROM: That I don't really know either. It was after the War.

LaVOY:  After World War II?

RINGSTROM: It must have been in the '50's sometime.

LaVOY:  Who did they sell it to?

RINGSTROM: They sold it to Lester Kirn. They still have the farm, they kept the old house and sold that, because Nancy's, when she got married, the reception was out there on the farm.

LaVOY:  Who did your daughter marry?

RINGSTROM: She married Edward Billings of Kansas City.

LaVOY:  And the wedding was at your ranch house?

RINGSTROM: No, the wedding was at the First Baptist Church, and Reverend Ludwig was the minister. The reception was out at the farm house.

LaVOY:  Oh, this was the same place that you were married.


LaVOY:  That's wonderful. Well, thank you so very much, Ivy, I certainly do appreciate visiting with you and your story is marvelous. This is the end of our interview, tape number 3.


Mr. Wallace thought it would be nice for swimmers and picnickers to have a place to change clothes and go to the bathroom out at Lahontan Dam so he got an appropriation from the TCID sometime in the 1930's. A bath-house with five or six cubicles containing a bench to sit on while changing clothes was built. One side for men and the other for women. . . sturdy doors were on each cubicle. The restrooms were typical outdoor toilets or "outhouses", Mr. Wallace was very pleased with the project, but picnickers and vandals took the doors off first, then the benches and eventually dismantled the buildings for wood for bonfires. Mr. Wallace was so disgusted that he said, "To hell with them all!"

Mrs. Wallace thought it would be nice to plant a Memorial Grove for World War II veterans so she raised money from citizens who felt the same way and a grove of flowering apple trees was planted in Oats Park. . . the Park Superintendant never wanted it so little care was given to the new plantings and the entire grove disappeared within a few years.

Mr. Wallace died in Fallon, was cremated and his ashes taken to Kansas City. Mrs. Wallace died in Kansas City and was cremated. Their crypt is side by side. Mr. Ringstrom is buried next to the Wallaces' and Mrs. Ringstrom will be buried in the same crypt when she passes away.

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Ringstrom, Ivy 1 of 2.mp3
Ringstrom, Ivy tape 2 of 2.mp3
Ivy Wallace Ringstrom Oral History Transcript.docx


Churchill County Museum Association, “Ivy Wallace Ringstrom Oral History,” Churchill County Museum Digital Archive: Fallon, Nevada, accessed May 8, 2021, https://ccmuseum.omeka.net/items/show/678.