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VIDEO VAULT: The Goumond house was saved from the wrecking ball to preserve Vegas history

Reporter Tom Hawley 2011.jpg

Look around downtown Las Vegas today, and most of the original rail cottages and historic buildings are long gone. 36 years ago, progress threatened one of the valley's most magnificent historic homes.

"If you came in this house, you couldn't duplicate this house for the kind of cost that we would build comparable house with new techniques," said Southern Nevada Preservationist Liz Warren.

Warren was talking about a gorgeous Tudor Revival Style home built in 1931, and owned by the family of P.J. Goumond--casino owner and developer of Tule Springs.

"Las Vegas is just beginning to grow in the 30s," added Preservationist Jane Kowalewski. "And I think it's an important part of it, in that it represents an era that is fast losing its place in Las Vegas.

History buffs were concerned that the wrecking ball would take away unique architecture.

"The millwork alone on this house on the exterior makes it distinctive," observed Warren. "You cannot get that in a modern home without much expenditure and then you won't get the type of work that you have here."

The Goumond house does still exist. But it's no longer in downtown Las Vegas. Instead you'll find it in Henderson. On Heritage Street at the Clark County Museum. And it's a blast from the past.

"So when you walk in, you're in the 50s," said Curator Dawna Joliff in 2011.

Joliff oversaw outfitting the interior of the house to the look of its heyday.

"You're gonna find modern 50s type furniture. I mean, it's real retro."

There are other retrofitted houses on Heritage street, but the Goumond House is the one that really seems to strike a chord.

"The majority of the people will say, 'Oh boy I grew up in a house like that,' or 'I remember that'."

Liz Warren is retired in Goodsprings. Jane Kowalewski is retired in Prescott. Dawna Joliff has stepped down as curator, but still volunteers at the Clark County Museum. It's on Boulder Highway just north of Wagon Wheel, and admission is two dollars.

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