Boulder City Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
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Best Rated Things to Do in Boulder City

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    Hoover Dam

    by Yaqui Written Jun 28, 2009

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    2010
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    Located in Black Canyon spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada Hoover Dam is a testament to this country's grit to build a dam of monolithic heights during the depression no less and within some of the most inhospitable weather conditions. Thousands of men and their families flocked to this area looking for work. They found it within Black Canyon and along the beautiful Colorado River. Within five years time they accomplished in building the largest dam of its time. Still to this day, Hoover Dam still stands as a monument to those hardy souls who suffered much to accomplish their task. It is a National Historic Landmark and has been rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.

    Hoover Dam weights more than 6,600,000 tons and it is 726.4 feet from foundation rock to the roadway on the crest of the dam. The towers and ornaments on the parapet rise 40 feet above the crest.

    Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity type, in which the water load is carried by both gravity action and horizontal arch action. The maximum water pressure at the base of the dam is 45,000 pounds per square foot.

    There are three and one-quarter million cubic yards of concrete. There are 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete in the dam, powerplant and appurtenant works. This much concrete would build a monument 100 feet square and 2-1/2 miles high; would rise higher than the 1,250-foot-tall Empire State Building if placed on an ordinary city block; or would pave a standard highway 16 feet wide, from San Francisco to New York City.

    The first concrete for the dam was placed on June 6, 1933, and the last on May 29, 1935. Approximately 160,000 cubic yards of concrete were placed in the dam per month. Peak placements were 10,462 cubic yards in one day (including some concrete placed in the intake towers and powerplant), and slightly over 275,000 cubic yards in one month.

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    Hoover Dam Tour

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 1, 2010

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    Since the addition of the beautiful visitor center, you enter taking the stairs or escalator downstairs. There you will be screened and it is where you can purchase the various types tours of the dam. Back in 1985 we paid at and waited at one of the towers on the dam to take the tour. So I am glad we got to experience them both. They guides are very knowledgable and enjoyable. Just to let you know, the elevators are freight size so they can handle the load of twenty people. It does get cramped on the elevator, so be aware!

    Please do the tour, it is well worth your time. We are glad we did.

    Hours of Operation:
    Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.
    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 5:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00

    Visitor Center:
    Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 6:00 p.m. Tickets sold until 5:15 p.m.
    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last tour is at 5:15 p.m.
    Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last tour is at 4:15 p.m.
    (NOTE: We are presently operating under the summer hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

    Tour Options and Admission Fees:
    Powerplant Tour
    Category Price
    Adults (Ages 17-61) $11.00
    Seniors (62+) $9.00
    Juniors (ages 4-16) $9.00
    U.S. Military $9.00
    U.S. Military (in Uniform) Free
    Children (Ages 0-3) Free

    Hoover Dam Tour
    Category Price
    Adults, Seniors, Juniors & U.S. Military $30.00
    NO children under age 8 permitted

    Note: This tour is NOT accessible for visitors with wheelchairs or crutches

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    Winged Figures of the Republic & Marker

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 1, 2010

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    This plaque reads:

    "It is fitting that the flag of our country should fly here in honor of those men who, inspired by a vision of lonely lands made fruitful, conceived this great work and that others who genius and labor made that vision a reality."

    These beautiful statues that frame the inscription are called "Winged Figures of the Republic" that are 30 feet tall that was sculpted by Oskar Hansen. They sit on bases of black diorite, flanking a 142 ft. high flag pole. This monument was dedicated September of 1935. I noticed so many people touching the toes for either good luck and or just so fascinated by these beautiful pieces of deco art.

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    Time Zones

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 1, 2010

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    Arizona Time
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    Each of the beautiful Art Deco designed towers are graced with each of the different time zones since the dam crosses the border between two time zones, the Pacific Time Zone and the Mountain Time Zones. They have them chained off now due to security, but you can still get you picture in front of them from the walkway.

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    Hoover Dam Markers

    by Yaqui Updated Jun 28, 2009

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    Hoover Dam

    Inscription.
    A modern civil engineering wonder of the United States
    One of seven selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers
    1955

    They Died to Make the Desert Bloom

    The United States of America will continue to remember that many who toiled here found their final rest while engaged in the building of this dam.

    The United States of America will continue to remember the services of all who labored to clothe with substance the plans of those who first visioned the building of this dam.


    They Laboured that Millions might see a Brighter Day

    The plaque reads: In Memory of our Fellowmen who lost their lives in the construction of this dam. Erected 1935 by The Boulder City Central Labor Council.


    Dr. Elwood Mead

    Inscription. Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, 1924-1936 whose life-time work culminated in construction of the Boulder Canyon project creating Lake Mead, named in his honor.

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    Sculptures of Boulder City~

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    While entering the historic downtown of Boulder City you will see some wonderful sculptures located on various corners of the area. These lovely sculptures depict what life was during the beginnings of Boulder City, while building Hoover Dam.

    The first sculpture is:
    The Depression drew more than the expected male labor force to the Hoover Dam construction project. Along with the men came hundreds of wives and children. Because Boulder City designers hadn't planned for family life, the women improvised, shaping the temporary camp into an enduring community. They planted vines and fashioned rugs out of scraps, transforming slapdash houses into pleasant cottages - some of which served as original facilities for the schools, churches, and civic groups they established. Dust and snakes crept through the cracks in their wall, and the heat was often unbearable, but they pressed on, sustained by hard work, ingenuity, and an occasion afternoon breeze. "Afternoon Breeze" by Roy W. Butler.

    Second Sculpture:
    Legend has it there are many workers buried in Hoover Dam. However, due to the manner in which the Dam was constructed, this would have been impossible. "Puddlers" directed buckets of concrete over empty forms, release the concrete, and then used their shovels and feet to spread it around. In the process, they made sure there were no air bubbles or debris that would weaken then structure after it hardened. Moreover, fresh concrete was added 8 cubic yards at a time, increasing the depth by only two to three inches at a time, and was never deep enough to submerge a person. While many laborers lost their lives building the Dam, none were ever buried within.
    "Puddler's Break" by Sutton Betti.

    Third Sculpture:
    When the government built Boulder City, it didn't plan for children. But, as the Depression drove workers into southern Nevada to build Hoover Dam, workers brought their families with them. The new town and surrounding desert provided an ecciting playground for the children, who hiked the hills, caught lizards and snakes, or built little dams in their sandy backyards. On Saturdays afternoons, children rode their bikes on brand new sidewalks to the Boulder Theatre for a Three Stooges matinee, down to Delmar's Drugstore for a nickel Coke, or around the park under the newly planted trees.
    "Hitchin' a Ride" by L'Deane Trueblood.

    Fourth Sculpture:
    At the height of Hoover Dam construction, more than 7,000 men labored in Black Canyon. Some jobs were glamorous and exciting, such as the high scalers who swung over the canyon on ropes or the cableway operators who kept concrete buckets moving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Other jobs were more mundane, but no less important: there were muckers who shoveled mud out of the tunnels, truck drivers who hauled rock up and down the river, or like the man you see here, those who swept the outhouses and kept them well supplied with paper.
    "Alabam" by Steven Liguori.

    The last photo is from the Visitor Center Exhibit: it talks about "Alabam"
    The Unseen Workers
    Over 16,000 men and women worked on Hoover Dam. Not all had glamourous jobs. One of the best known works was "Alabam" who cleaned the numerous latrines around the job site. He is representative of all those who toiled behind the scenes to make the construction of Hoover Dam possible.

    "Alabam was probably one of the most important men on the job....with his good necklace: that roll of tolite papers around his neck." ~ Marion Allen, worker

    For more info:
    Boulder City Public Art Scape
    P.O. Box 60246, Boulder City, NV 89006
    (702) 293-7731

    and

    Boulder City Chamber
    465 Nevada Way
    Boulder City, NV 89005

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    Historic Boulder Dam Hotel & Museum~

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    From the marker, couldn't had said it any better:

    The Boulder Dam Hotel has been part of Boulder City history since it opening in 1933. Designed by Mort Wagner, the hotel was built by Paul Stewart "Jim" Webb, Raymond Spilsbury, and Austin Clark. It is located in Cardens Plaza ~ known today as Hotel Plaza ~ one of Boulders City three original downtown squares. Expanded in 1934 and 1935, the hotel was acquired by Glover "Roxy" Ruckstell also included Grand Canyon Airlines, Murl Emery's Lake Mead tour boat concession, exclusive operation of the Boulder City Airport, and was the sole tourist concessionaire in what became the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. During the 1930's and 1940's the hotel hosted the rich and famous. Guest included Bette Davis, Ronald Colman, Boris Karloff, Will Rogers, the Maharaja of Indore, Bank of America founder A.P. Gianini, and Howard Hughes. The hotel fell on hard times after World War II, closing and re-opening several times. Except for a short period in 1969-73 when it served as a retirement home, the hotel has been in integral part of Boulder City.

    The hotel was named to the National Registry of Historic Places on August 19, 1982. As a historic landmark the hotel captured the interest of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, and currently houses the Boulder City Hoover Dam Museum, the Boulder City Art Guild Gallery, Hollywood Gems, Regeena Finds, and Matteo’s restaurant.

    Also is list on the National List of Historic Places: Boulder Dam Hotel (added 1982 - Building - #82003210)

    Visit the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum
    10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday
    12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday
    Closed: New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas

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    Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    I don't know if how many folks in VT have visited this area, but if you visited in the 1980's it was busy. It was a major highway for traffic to get here and there from Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. I can remember the trucks trying to cross and how dangerous I thought to be a major tourist attraction with so many tourist who visit this wonderful piece of man made wonders. After 911 it changed the access dramatically with having check points before anyone enters this area and before the bypass that vehicles had to be inspected before they could cross. So, what does the highway commission decide to do? Well, build another man made wonder! It is awesome and the fact they built a walkway for us tourist to enjoy was a good idea. I guess they knew folks would try or try to drive across to see the dam that way.

    Well, here is some advice. You will not see it very well if you try to drive and that is because of the huge concrete wall they used to separate traffic from the walkway. So, just take the stroll instead to see such a beautiful view of the whole Hoover Dam and beautiful Lake Mead.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. DOES THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE HAVE A NAME?
    A. Yes, the United States Congress officially named it the “Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge” after two prominent local citizens who dedicated themselves to public service and the greater good. Mike O’Callaghan was a longtime Nevadan, former Governor, community leader, and businessman. He died in March 2004 at the age of 74. Pat Tillman graduated with honors from ASU and played professional football for the Arizona Cardinals before joining the Army. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 at the age of 27.


    Q. WHEN WILL THE HOOVER DAM BYPASS BE FULLY COMPLETE?
    A. Construction of the Colorado River Bridge is now complete, and the Bypass has had traffic moving on it as of October 19, 2010.


    Q. WHAT IS THE BUDGET FOR THE HOOVER DAM BYPASS AND WHERE DOES THE MONEY
    COME FROM?
    A. The design and construction budget remains unchanged at $240 million. The Colorado River Bridge construction portion of that budget is $114 million. The $240 million budget consists of $100 million in federal funds, $20 million each from the states of Arizona and Nevada, and $100 million in state bond funds. Of the approximate $130 million in bond funds ($100 million plus interest) advanced by the states of Arizona and Nevada, approximately $96.3 million has been repaid.


    Q. HOW MANY PHASES OF CONSTRUCTION HAVE OCCURRED ON THE BYPASS?
    A. There have been six distinct, yet overlapping, phases of Bypass construction:
    Relocation of portions of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission
    system and switchyard
    Arizona approach – 2 miles of bypass roadway
    Nevada approach – 3 miles of bypass roadway
    Colorado River Bridge
    Interim surfacing of Bypass
    Final surfacing and roadway tie-ins


    Q. WHAT ARE SOME KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE?
    A.
    The arch span is 1,060 feet long
    The Bridge is 1,900 feet long
    The Bridge deck and sidewalk is located approximately 900 feet above the Colorado River
    The Bridge is located approximately 1,500 feet south of the Hoover Dam


    Q. WILL THERE BE A SIDEWALK ON THE COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE?
    A. Yes, it is located on the north side of the Bridge for optimum viewing of the Hoover Dam. The sidewalk is part of the pedestrian and visitor amenities, which include a parking lot, trail, and interpretive plaza. From the web site:http://www.hooverdambypass.org/faq.htm

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    Hoover Dam Visitor Center

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    The Visitor is a wonderful addition to Hoover Dam, but before you enter you have to go through the security screens. You have to pass through medals detectors and have your jackets, backpacks, or purses etc. screened too. So do not bring anything that might be considered a weapon. (Funny experience, they kept screening my purse and the gentleman finally asked if I was carrying a knife, I laughed out loud and show him my tweezers, he felt silly after that. I guess he thought I might tweeze someone's eye brows off) Yet, seriously, its not easy for the security folks who have to deal with so many sometimes irritated folks and mainly this procedure is there to keep everyone and Hoover Dam safe!").

    To see the visitor center you have to pay to get in, yet if pay for a tour, you get to see that and more. They have several types of tours. So be sure to check out the web site or give them a call to see what they have or has changed.

    Hours of Operation:
Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.
    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00
    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.
    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m. 
Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
(NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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    Hoover Dam Tour #2 Power Plant

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    If you purchase the Visitor Center and Power Plant Tour, you will get to see some really neat aspects of the dam. You get to see a 10 minute film about the building of the dam. Then you get see a really neat view from the elevator area. You then have to get in a freight size elevator (pack you in) and then you take a 70-second elevator ride takes you 530 feet down through the rock wall of Black Canyon to begin a wonderful 30-minute guided tour. You'll exit the elevator into a tunnel drilled in the 1930s for construction, and take a short walk to the Penstock Viewing Platform.

    Penstock Viewing: This location is atop one (of four) of the huge 30-foot-diameter pipes that can transport nearly 90,000 gallons of water each second from Lake Mead to the dam's hydroelectric generators. An animated display helps describe the complexities of the construction of the dam, and how it presently operates. http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/service/PowerplantTour.html

    Powerplant Generators: A quick elevator ride up to the Nevada powerplant balcony takes you to a panoramic view of the 650-foot-long Nevada wing of the powerplant and eight of the dam's 17 huge generators. Also, don't miss the beautiful and intricate terrazzo floor designs (that cost $60,000 to make, today it would be worth over a million)under your feet. A great spot for pictures! http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/service/PowerplantTour.html

    Hours of Operation:
Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.
    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00
    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.
    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m. 
Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
(NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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    Hoover Dam Visitor Center Balcony

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    It well worth getting a Visitor Center ticket if you do not do the tour. You have access to a wonderful exhibit and the balcony area where you have a very uncrowded view of the Hoover Dam and a great place to get a good photo of the “Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge”.

    Hours of Operation:
Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.
    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00
    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.
    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m. 
Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
(NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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    Nobody's Dog and Everybody's Dog

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    This monument is located not far from the High Scaler Cafe and gift shop. It is the resting place of Hoover Dams only beloved mascot. This furry black lab mix dog was born under one of the construction site offices and was soon loved and adopted by everyone. There is a wonderful story and picture of him on the web site below. One thing I notice on the plaque is there is no mention of his name. Hmm, so I wanted to know and the web site states his name. I will not state it here as not to insult anyone, although it was his name and no sugar coating it. (Hoover Dam site says its Blackie). During the 70's someone found it offense and racial. So they removed the original plaque and made him nameless to those who visit.

    What is touching is the dam workers actually jack hammered into the rock and laid him to rest near the dam so everyone could still feel he was part of the dam forever. He was killed by a truck that rolled over him, since was sleeping underneath it. He didn't hear the truck start up since he was probably loosing his hearing. It was a sad and quiet day of his passing. Workers actually wept as they carved out his tomb. This wonderful dog even had a bank account since workers would leave him money to take care of him.

    What was so sweet about him is he would greet everyone and they in turn made sure he was loved and fed. He would ride in just about anything riding from the large employee transports,government buses, the trains that delivered materials to the site, and skips up the front of the dam. The construction superintendent often gave him rides up out of the canyon in his big Buick, and someones big black Cadillac. So when and if you visit the dam, please visit "Nobody's Dog and Everyones Dog"!

    Hours of Operation:
    Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.

    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00

    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.

    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m.
    Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
    (NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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    The Old Exhibit Building

    by Yaqui Written Dec 5, 2010

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    When you walk towards the Winged Figures plaza just to the right of that is the Old Exhibit Building. It was originally used as a headquarters for soldiers protecting the dam during World War II, this building served as the dam's first visitor center. It contains educational exhibits and offers a narrative overview of the Colorado River Basin highlighted through a topographical model showing the location of dams and reservoirs along the river and its tributaries. It is also where some restrooms are located.

    Hours of Operation:
Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.
    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00
    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.
    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m. 
Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
(NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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    The Boulder Dam Hotel Marker

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    The Boulder Dam Hotel has been part of Boulder City history since it opening in 1933. Designed by Mort Wagner, the hotel was built by Paul Stewart "Jim" Webb, Raymond Spilsbury, and Austin Clark. It is located in Cardens Plaza ~ known today as Hotel Plaza ~ one of Boulders City three original downtown squares. Expanded in 1934 and 1935, the hotel was acquired by Glover "Roxy" Ruckstell also included Grand Canyon Airlines, Murl Emery's Lake Mead tour boat concession, exclusive operation of the Boulder City Airport, and was the sole tourist concessionaire in what became the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. During the 1930's and 1940's the hotel hosted the rich and famous. Guest included Bette Davis, Ronald Colman, Boris Karloff, Will Rogers, the Maharaja of Indore, Bank of America founder A.P. Gianini, and Howard Hughes. The hotel fell on hard times after World War II, closing and re-opening several times. Except for a short period in 1969-73 when it served as a retirement home, the hotel has been in integral part of Boulder City.
    Dedicated this 19th day of June, 2010
    By the Queho Posse Chapter 1919
    E Clampus Vitus

    Boulder City Chamber
    465 Nevada Way
    Boulder City, NV 89005

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    High Scaler Statue

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    In 1998, Steven Liguori and Bert Hansen discussed the construction of a High Scaler monument dedicated to the builders of Hoover Dam. The undertaking of such a project seemed impossible. However, the blind vendors who participate in the Nevada State Business Enterprise Program (BEP) felt their sponsorship of this project would be a great opportunity to pay tribute to those men, and at the same time, express their gratitude for the years of involvement at Hoover Dam through concessions at the Arizona Lookout, Hoover Dam Spillway House (formerly Snacketeria), Hoover Dam Store, and High Scaler Cafe.http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/History/essays/artwork.html

    If you really look at this wonderful sculpture you will notice how the sculptist tried to keep it almost real. Although, this was considered one of the glamorous jobs, it was one of the most dangerous jobs. It paid a lot of money back in its day, yet the danger was always there. If you really look at the sculpture you may notice how crude the robes are and not a lot of safety was put into the seat. Also, how tattered his shirt is. Yet, he has a smile on his face probably because he is working and this helps his family get by no matter what he has to do.

    Hours of Operation:
    Note: All times are for the Pacific Time Zone.

    Parking Garage: Open 8:00 a.m. -- Close 4:45 p.m. Parking fee: $7.00

    Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. -- Close 5:00 p.m.

    Tours: Summer: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 5:15 p.m.
    Winter: first tour is at 9:15 a.m.; last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m.
    (NOTE: We are presently operating under the Winter hours schedule.)

    The Hoover Dam Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

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