Oral Histories

Bill Meador


Bill Meador

Q: What did your dad think of all this in relation to the real estate business?

A: My dad had a hard time realizing that the properties that he had sold three years ago were now worth five times as much. It was an adjustment for him. He was arriving at the later years of his career. He had some questions whether he wanted to try to compete with the young lions. He did that well enough, but I don’t know that he was ever as happy with the way business was conducted then as the way business was conducted in his hey day: much more gentlemanly, much more quiet, not cutthroat. Those kinds of things bothered my dad. He was able to meet people well and do all those things, but I’m not sure he was entirely comfortable with the increased business pressure.

Q: Where specifically did you live when you came back from the service-during the boom time era?

A: When I came back before I was married, we rented a house next to my mother and father-in-law in a house that they had built for their daughter who had since moved to Salt Lake.

Q: Where would that be, approximately?

A: Third East and Second North, by the old Baptist church, up that street and next to where Nate Knight lives, up that way. There is the Baldwin house and the Young house and then this other little house.

Q: Inalyn’s parents had come from….?

A: They moved to Moab in 1939 and bought the South Mesa Ranch and they bought this house in town so the kids could go to school in the wintertime.

Q: What were the general living conditions in terms of the homes that people moving in lived in, the rentals, trailers, etc.?

A: I think there were some very difficult living conditions when people were coming in and trying to find space; whether it was a used trailer or an apartment. You know, there wasn’t a lot of housing in Moab. When you had 900 people, everybody had their own house and they didn’t have a lot of other stuff. I think a lot of people that came in found rather meager living conditions until they built Mountain View Subdivision and Westwood Subdivision on the other end of town and Walker Subdivision. There wasn’t a lot of good housing. In Mountain View and Walker, the houses were little three-bedroom houses. You have a tough time turning around. You can’t pass each other in the hallways. I think people coming in found living conditions very bleak in Moab. Acceptance wasn’t that good. There was a hard core of people in town that didn’t want people here. Just like any other little town in the world. And some of that still exists, as you know. People saw payrolls for the first time and there was a whole set of social issues that wouldn’t quit. From anger to happiness to good times to bad times, the whole bit.

Q: What was the impact of the newcomers in terms of stores, restaurants, electricity, sewers, gas, the whole bit? How did this evolve from your perspective?

A: Well, you could wait half a day to make a long distance call. The telephone lines and everything were impacted with too many people and too few services. And that wears on people; however, growth is a lot easier to deal with than cutting back. Depression is a lot tougher on people. So people put up with a lot of those inconveniences and of course they traveled and shopped in other areas. But for Moab itself, the resources were taxed to the maximum. They cause their own particular kinds of problems when that happens.

Q: Where did you shop for groceries?

A: Millers, the old Millers Store and then later when they moved out to their shop where Walker Drug is, that area.

Q: Gas stations?

A: Gas stations were Robertson Brothers and Utah Gas on the corner where the Best Western Motel is. Again, it’s too few services and too many people. It happened like the boomtowns that you read about. That happened to Moab. Moab became a boomtown and that did not lend itself well to a smooth transition from a light agricultural lost community to a world-known boomtown.

Q: Was this the time when they realigned Main Street?

A: In about 1955-56 they took the road on through past our property. That was major then. One thing it opened up a lot more ground for sale for commercial use, instead of just an isolated farm over there. We could no longer farm. I owned the lot where the Pizza Hut sits. And I sold that lot for $2,000 in 1954. 

Q: Doesn’t that get you now?

A: I was so happy because I had tuition money and everything.

Q: How did you see the newcomers and their ideas (because they were coming from such diverse backgrounds) as impacting the social norms here, clubs, religion, kids in schools?

A: I think in general that Moab handled that as well as any little community would have done and probably much better than most little Utah communities because, first of all, Moab was never a solid LDS community. It was settled instead of colonized. That made all the difference in the world, because we had different backgrounds. I think that made it easier. Just the influx of people impact on, “I can’t get to my mailbox, there are too many people in front of me,” those kinds of issues where there are just numbers. I think numbers overwhelmed more than theology or political thought. There were disagreements in those kinds of things, but probably much easier to deal with than you would have found in Logan or in Cedar City at the time.

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