LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – It’s a piece of living Nevada history, and a showcase for the story of the building of one of Nevada’s best-known landmarks, the Hoover Dam. The Boulder Dam Hotel opened on December 15th, 1933. And 90 years later it’s still entertaining guests and educating visitors as both a hotel and a museum.
On Friday night, a gala at the Boulder Dam Hotel celebrated a history that stretches back to a time when life in the tiny town of Boulder City revolved around the construction of what we now know as the Hoover Dam.
When the Boulder Dam Hotel opened its doors in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt was serving his first term in the White House, the US was in the midst of the Great Depression and more than 5000 men were toiling in tough conditions to build the Boulder Dam.
“It’s our largest artifact”, says Tiane Marie, Manger of Museums and Collections for the Boulder City Historical Association.
The Boulder Dam changed its name to the Hoover Dam in 1947, but the Boulder Dam Hotel kept its name and it’s originality.
“Everything that you see is actually 100 percent original, we still have the gumwood, walls, the windows are still the same panes from December 15th, 1933,” says Marie.
The hotel was built by Jim Webb, whose vision was to bring a grand hotel to the hardscrabble town with air conditioning and private baths and to make Boulder Dam a tourist destination.
The dam that harnessed the waters of the Colorado river opened in 1936 and the hotel continued to host the famous and the curious. “We did have a lot of famous people stay here like Shirley Temple. Howard Hughes stayed here in his recovery from his crash.”
There were hard times during World War 2 when the dam was closed to visitors. That meant fewer visitors for the hotel. After several decades of boom and bust it fell into disrepair in the 1980′s and was condemned.
In the 90′s a group of Boulder City residents began efforts to restore it to its original glory and use its museum to chronicle not only the building of the dam but the lives of the people who made Boulder City what it was then and what it is now.
“People can come in from all over the country can see the reason that Boulder City is here, the reason the dam is here, and that is what we are true to. We are true to the people and their story,” Marie told Fox5.
The Boulder Dam Hotel was named to the national register of historic places in 1982. There are 21 guest rooms at the hotel down from the original 87.
The museum is open year-round, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. For more information check out their website.
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