Boulder City Museum

1305 Arizona Street Boulder City, NV 89005
(702) 294-1988 | Official Website

Hours: Mon-Sun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Price: $2 adults, $1 children
Type: Attractions

Boulder City is, by most yardsticks, the most unusual town in Nevada. 


It was the first "model town" in the U.S., a prettified all-American oasis of security and order in the midst of a Great Depression and a great desert. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversaw dam construction, also planned the town, then controlled it down to the smallest detail. A city manager answered to the Commissioner of Reclamation and his authority was near total.


After the dam was completed, Boulder City became the service center for the new tourist attraction (Hoover Dam) and recreation area (Lake Mead). Still, the federal government owned the town and all its buildings till 1960, when an act of Congress established the independent municipality. It's the only town in the state where gambling is not permitted.


Driving in from Las Vegas is like entering a town in Arizona or New Mexico, with Southwestern gift shops and jewelry and craft stores strung along the downtown streets. Boulder Dam Hotel was built in 1933 and is still in its original condition (check out the 80-plus-year-old lobby and the subterranean bar).


Also within the hotel is the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum for a graphic representation of the building of the dam as it was experienced by the men and women who lived through it.


If you're really interested in learning about the dam, the museum has a a huge collection of photographs, diaries and letters, artifacts, and biographical and subject files from one of the most monumental undertakings in history. 


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