Oral Histories

Audrey McDougald

b. 1928

Audry McDougald

Interview by Jean McDowell, March 24, 2004, in Moab, Utah


Q: Were you born in Moab?

A: Yes, I was, on June 7, 1928

Q: I didn’t realize that. What was your maiden name?

A: My maiden name was Day. Audrey Lee Day was my name.

Q: Did you say you grew up in Moab? 

A: Yes, I grew up in Moab.

Q: Where did you meet your husband?

A: Well, Ken was also a Moab native and he went to high school three years ahead of me. He entered the military service after high school as we were at war. I attended BYU after graduating high school. I spent two years in college and then moved to San Antonio, Texas, to live with my aunt. After the War, Ken visited us in San Antonio a number of times. We were married in 1951.

Q: Did you come back here because of the uranium discovery?

A: No. My husband had returned from military service after World War II. He started a business at that time. We were married in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we came back to Moab to make it our home.

Q: Then you went to Santa Fe to be married?

A: As I was living in San Antonio at the time, I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then we drove to Santa Fe and were married. Moabites used to drive over to New Mexico because there was no waiting to get a marriage license. We began our married life about one year before Charlie Steen made his uranium discovery. Ken started his petroleum business at that time. We lived on Nichols Lane in Moab for 27 years. In 1979 we built this home in Kayenta Heights Estates.

Q: Was your husband alive when you built this home?

A: Yes, but then he was killed in a plane crash in 1983. We moved to Kayenta Heights and lived here for three years before he was killed. I’ve lived here since that time.

Q: How old were your children then?

A: The children were grown, in their early thirties. Gil was born in 1953 and Kim was born in 1954. I have a scrapbook, if you would like to see it. In fact, I have two scrapbooks. On book is about building Ken’s Lake and one is about Ken’s personal life.

(Pointing to the pictures and the articles in the scrap book, we continue the interview)

Q: Is this all Ken’s Lake scrapbook?

A: Yes, it is. This section is about the planning and when the bids started coming in.

Q: Are there any pictures of you and your life together?

A: I’ve got a great number of pictures.

Q: Does it mention the Mill Creek project?

A: Yes.

(Pointing to another picture) This is the Citizen of the Year Award. In fact, this was Moab’s first such award and Ken was awarded it.

Q: Was this pretty much his idea? Was he the mayor then?

A: No, he wasn’t. He was the mayor for only four years. This happened much later.

Q: But he was in on the idea of having it? (pointing to the picture in the book regarding Ken’s Lake)

A: Right. He was the organizer. The lake is named after Ken (Ken’s Lake). The Army Corps of Engineers came to work on the project. This picture shows the beginning when it was just getting started. 

Q: I gather that this Ken’s Lake-Mill Creek was part of a proposed bigger dam. A whole area dam like up by Dewey Bridge?

A: Well, at first they were going to build a Mill Creek Dam and they were going to build it over here at the head of the left and the right hand of Mill Creek. That’s where the dam was first proposed. But then there was a dam failure somewhere in Idaho and it was a very devastating flood, so the committee decided no, they could not build the dam where it could flood a great number of people. So they planned to build the dam up in the valley where it is today.

Q: So they are just diverting the South Mill Creek?

A: Yes.

(Pointing to other pictures and certificates in the other book) These are awards from Dwight D. Eisenhower, and this one is from Richard M. Nixon. This one is from the Million Dollar Club and this award is from the Shriners’ Hospital.

Q: He was certainly involved in the community.

A: Yes, he was chairman of the Red Cross for several years. These are his Mason certificates. He also served on the Draft Board and served on Board of Directors of the Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority in Window Rock, New Mexico.

Q: Was he always in the oil business?

A: Right, after he returned from his military service.

This album I have made for my children and grandchildren. (pointing to book 2)

These are business pictures.

Q: Was Ken a distributor for Phillips Petroleum Co.?

A: Yes, Ken was also a director of First Western National Bank.

Q: That is now Zions?

A: Yes

Q: There’s your house? (pointing to the pictures in Book 2)

A: Yes. When we completed the house, the architect wanted to have it pictured in several magazines. I decided to just picture it in one. So this is the one.

Q: Is it real adobe?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: Did you make it on site?

A: No, we had to bring them from New Mexico. I believe we were one of the first to build a Santa Fe style in Moab. The trend has since become popular in the Moab area since that time.

Q: Did you have an architect?

A: Yes, we did.

Q: Who was it?

A: It was Ray Taylor from Castle Valley.

Q: Tell me more about yourself. What was it like growing up in Moab?

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