Boulder City - that Dam town

Nevada, Boulder City Guide (A): Boulder City - that Dam town

We'll explore one of the more unique cities in Nevada, learn why many of these structures came into being, and how it helped make Hoover Dam and Lake Mead a reality. The tour is less than 2 miles long and is packed with landmarks, historical information, and panoramic views.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Boulder City - that Dam town
Guide Location: USA » Boulder City
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: City Center   Boulder Dam Hotel   Hoover Dam Museum   Mel's Diner, DWP, and Frank Crowe Park   Water Filtration Plant and Reflection Park   Wilbur Square Park and Turbine Runner   Lake Mead View Point   Reclamation Building   St. Christopher's Episcopal Church   City Hall and Boulder City Theater  
Author: Scott Weber
Author Bio: Scott is a native of California, explores the southwest every chance he gets, and likes to write about his adventures.
City Center

1) City Center

Government and efficiency are words rarely used in the same sentence, but here we are in Boulder City, Nevada, to observe our government’s first attempt to fabricate a community. And to their credit, they did a pretty good job.

We’re standing in the center of what was planned as a model community. Construction on Hoover Dam began a year early in the spring of 1931 at the height of the Great Depression and Boulder City, which was supposed to be already built, was rushed to meet the...
Boulder Dam Hotel

2) Boulder Dam Hotel

Like something out of “Gone with the Wind,” the Boulder Dam Hotel is the true jewel of the neighborhood. Completed in 1933, it stands alone in architectural design and charm. In its day, the hotel was the preferred lodging for government V.I.P.’s, as well as dignitaries and celebrities, eager to monitor what was then, not only the largest public works project ever attempted, but the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The hotel is still the most popular place to stay. The hotel features a...
Hoover Dam Museum

3) Hoover Dam Museum

Housed in the rear of the Boulder Dam Hotel is the Boulder City and Hoover Dam Museums. If you have any interest at all in Hoover Dam, this museum is a must see. Packed with exhibits, interactive displays and documentary movies, you’ll the whole story of the Boulder Canyon Project. The admission is only a few dollars. There is also a gift shop with every book ever written about Hoover Dam. And while we’re on the subject, let clear up the Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam name. Originally, the dam was...
Mel's Diner, DWP, and Frank Crowe Park

4) Mel's Diner, DWP, and Frank Crowe Park

This stretch of Nevada Highway holds 3 landmarks. The building that houses the café at the end of the shopping district was built in 1931 and was the first commercial structure built in the city. I don’t know what they sold, but by all accounts it wasn’t liquor or lottery tickets. Gambling is still prohibited in Boulder City and alcohol was banned until the federal government gave up its control of Boulder City in 1968. The big official-looking building across the street was originally...
Water Filtration Plant and Reflection Park

5) Water Filtration Plant and Reflection Park

Built in 1932, this big brick building was the City Water Purification and Filtration Plant. During the Dam’s construction, water was needed for the residents in town. A twelve-inch water main ran from town to the Colorado River six miles away. It took four pumping stations to move the water up the 2,000-foot elevation difference. Because the Colorado River is such a muddy river, the water was treated at several pre-sedimentation plants before it was finally purified and softened at this...
Wilbur Square Park and Turbine Runner

6) Wilbur Square Park and Turbine Runner

This park is named after Secretary of the Interior, Ray Wilbur and is a beautiful centerpiece for what is a very unique city. Wilbur Square is the largest of the two parks with Bicentennial Park nested below near City Hall. Both of the parks are used for holiday celebrations and are ideal spots for a picnic. At the southwest corner of the park is an enormous cast steel turbine runner which weighs over 34 tons. If you look carefully, you'll notice it resembles a waterwheel, much like the...
Lake Mead View Point

7) Lake Mead View Point

This is a great place to take in a lot of sites. The mountains directly across from us are called the River Mountains. These mountains extend up to Lake Las Vegas about 8 miles to the northwest and are also a backstop to the city of Henderson. In 1998, Boulder City, Henderson, and Lake Mead Recreation Area agreed to and built the 35-mile long River Mountains trail, a paved pathway that circles the River Mountains, giving access to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The area between the mountains...
Reclamation Building

8) Reclamation Building

This is the Bureau of Reclamation’s Regional Headquarters. They are the governing body that oversees all operations relating to Hoover Dam. They are also the second largest supplier of wholesale water and hydroelectric power in the American West. Leave it to the government to take the best lot. The building was built in 1932 and housed the engineers and staff during the construction of the dam. The one-story building to the right was originally built and used as the dormitory for unmarried...
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church

9) St. Christopher's Episcopal Church

This is St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. It was built in 1932 and is one of the oldest churches in town. Considering work on the Dam began in 1931 and the Great Depression had devastated millions of people, first hundreds, then thousands of men of all faiths came to work. Over the fours years of construction over twenty-one thousand men worked here. Times were hard and living conditions were even harder. I’m sure the pastors in those wretched times had their hands full. And I’d wager...
City Hall and Boulder City Theater

10) City Hall and Boulder City Theater

This stately building was the first school in town and was built in 1932. Congress appropriated seventy thousand dollars for it’s construction, but it wasn’t enough to finish it. Six Companies, the outfit building the dam, pitched in the rest of the money to complete the job. The building is now used as City Hall. The building faces beautiful Escalante Park.

And just down the street is the 728 seat Boulder City Theater. Built in 1932, it was not only used as the primary entertainment...