Yonema Tomiyasu Las Vegas Pioneer

Corner of Tomiyasu and  Annie Oakley Drive marks anochronistic meeting of two PIONEERs.


Tomi arrived with the specific intention of owning and operating a ranch — which people of Japanese origin were not permitted to do, at the time, in neighboring California, where Tomiyasu had been living.

He wasn’t an engineer or a construction worker, but Yonema “Bill” Tomiyasu just as surely helped build Hoover Dam.

He was a local farmer who fed the dam’s workers with the literal fruits, and vegetables, of his labor: fresh tomatoes, asparagus, luscious watermelons and cantaloupe.

All were items of produce that, prior to Tomiyasu’s innovative farming techniques, mostly had to be shipped to Las Vegas from elsewhere, at added expense.

I met 90 year old lawyer in Las Vegas some years ago. He told me grew in Las Vegas and went to high school with John Tomiyasu’s daughter during WWII.  They was exempted from internment because he grew vegetables for the military. 

He drove a horse drawn flatbed through town ringing a bell selling fresh vegetables. Housewives would run out and pick the best ones from the truck.

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