Established in 1931, Boulder City was a town expressly created by the US government to house the thousands of workers responsible for building the Hoover Dam. During the Great Depression, workers and their families found security living and working on this federal reservation. It's only hop, skip and a jump (or ~20 miles/18 mins) from Las Vegas, so we thought we'd head there for lunch and little exploring. It turns out, it's a cute little town with lots to offer.
The Boulder Dam Hotel seemed like a fine place to have lunch. Built in 1933 to accommodate dignitaries and tourists during the construction of the Boulder Dam (aka Hoover Dam), the hotel, designed in a Colonial Revival style, is now listed on the National Historic Register. Though the hotel changed hands several times throughout the years and fell into disrepair, it has now been restored as a B&B and restaurant and operates under the auspices of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
We enjoyed lunch, then headed to the second floor which houses the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. The museum showcases “the story of the construction of Hoover Dam as told by the workers and their families.” It's small, but provides lots of interesting displays and information, not only about the building of the dam, but a look at the issues confronting the families that lived here.
The best part of our visit, however, was checking out the street art. It's everywhere! A collection of 33 pieces of eclectic artwork graces the main streets of Boulder City's historic old town. There's a street map locating all the artwork with titles and artists. Unfortunately, it was cold and windy and a pleasant stroll was not an option. Instead, I snapped some quick pics as we did drive-bys with the intent of returning on a warmer day to view them more closely at our leisure.
The town is charming. There were several appealing cafes and boutiques and some interesting antique shops, too. Another reason to return on another day and wander around.
By the way, we were only ~8 miles from the Hoover Dam which might also make a good day trip and I just read about the nearby Bootleg Canyon Park Nature Discover Trail. There always seems to be something to do if you go just a little further.
A little trivia about Boulder City …
- Boulder City is one of only two cities in Nevada that prohibits gambling.
- Boulder City was the first federally planned city in the West.
- Named after Boulder Canyon, the US Bureau of Reclamation never relinquished control of Boulder City until 1958. On January 4th, 1960, the city was officially incorporated.
Or book a hotel and see for yourself...