At Home with Mayor Carolyn Goodman
As she shares memories and tradition inspired by her Las Vegas family home.
It’s a rare opportunity to be invited into the home of your local mayor. However, when it comes to Mayors Oscar and Carolyn Goodman you'll find it's not all that unusual. They welcomed the MYVEGAS crew inside their home for a look at what it’s like: two mayors living together and raising their family here in Las Vegas. Oscar and Carolyn moved here as newlyweds in 1964 and wanted to raise their kids in a growing city and promising community. Who knew the impact they would have on the City of Las Vegas or the memories they would create beyond the walls of their Vegas home? On any given Sunday you never know who's going to stop by the Goodman's. It may be a knock from someone asking for an autograph (their home is not in a gated community as you might think) or it may be their favorite visitors, their 4 children and 6 grandchildren wanting to swim or play games. The Goodman's are ready to welcome, entertain and feed the masses. Carolyn is the declared cook of the house. Oscar says he loves everything she makes, but especially Carolyn’s Mother's Meatballs and her short ribs with Sauerkraut. In fact, Oscar says he'd much rather eat his wife's cooking than go out to a restaurant. The couple says things haven't really slowed down much since the 70's when they first moved in. What was once a home with small children and two working adults is now a home with grown children and grandchildren coming and going, and still two working adults. Not much has changed. While living in their first home near Eastern and Viking, a home they bought for $49,000, they had their eye on their current home. "We used to just drive around and look at the homes that we couldn't afford and we kept driving by this particular home," says Carolyn. Finally, in 1976 it was up for sale and they bought it. Their children were 3, 5, 6 and 6 at the time, so this house quickly became the Goodman Family Home. Although there are many unique parts of this house there are a few things that make this home so spectacular. Such as the Koi pond in the back yard, filled with fish, frogs and turtles. It's a place that is special to Oscar and the kids. They would spend hours exploring and learning. Many of the paintings and sculptures found throughout the home were made by Oscar’s mother, once a well known artist in Philadelphia, where the Mayor and former Mayor of Las Vegas lived before coming to Las Vegas with just $87 dollars in their pockets. Artwork and eclectic pieces are a huge part of the Goodman home. One of the first pieces of art they bought together hangs in the den. It cost $500; a lot of money back then. A lot of money now. Carolyn says it took them forever to finally pay it off. Everything seems to represent a part of their journey, which can be traced back inside another favorite place in the home, the library. It holds the books the couple has collected over the years and the history of their family and children. The Goodman's have opened their home up to many famous faces over the years. The list includes many Presidents, actors and sports figures that made it a point to stop by while in Las Vegas. From President Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Muhammad Ali to the cast of the movie Casino - Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro. The Goodman's friends may be famous, but they treat them like family. "We make everyone feel at home, no pretense, we have a good time," says Oscar. Pictures of their guests are even sprinkled among family photos that stand on anything that will hold a frame. The family piano, in fact, plays double duty by also serving as a place to display family history through photographs and memories. When asked if they think they'll ever leave this home, Carolyn remembers a conversation the couple had with their kids during a family meeting. "We're looking to downsize and sell it and they said 100 percent absolutely not. This is where we were raised. We love Las Vegas. We love this home," said Carolyn. That pretty much settled it. She says there is just something about a familiar place, "after you've lived in a home long enough you can do it blind folded in the pitch dark and make your way knowing where everything is." Mayor Goodman says working and raising a family here has been about balance. When talking about her work, community involvement and ability to raise her children she says it's just what you did back then. That's what she was raised to do. "Your role in life is to take care of more than just yourself, you need to have a role. Do the best you can and make life better." And that's what she's doing now. After retiring in 2010 from The Meadows School, which she founded in 1984, she was elected mayor of Las Vegas in 2011, taking the reigns from her husband who held the position for the previous 12 years. During her 48 years in Las Vegas, Mayor Goodman has made education her mission and has dedicated years of volunteering and service to the educational community. Today she continues her public service and gives back to the city she loves and the one that helped shape her and her family. That's why we are so excited to have Mayor Goodman as part of the MYVEGAS family. Look for Mayor Carolyn Goodman's column From the Mayor’s Desk in each issue of MYVEGAS Magazine where she will address issues that effect locals and of course highlight what makes Las Vegas such a special and unique place to live, work, and play.