Boulder City Magazine® December '06/January '07 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Dennis McBride, Boulder City Museum & Historical Association
There have been a lot of handsome fires in Boulder City’s history, although we’ve forgotten most of them. Many of these fires ignited in and around the city’s historic district with no clue today that some of the town’s best known buildings have burned:
Boulder City Magazine®
|December 28, 1935: Barney Delmar’s drugstore on the corner of Avenue B and Nevada way was gutted. This drugstore burned twice more when Bob Broadbent owned it: on December 15, 1967 when it was stuffed with Christmas merchandise, and on June 30, 1974: This is today the site of Farmers Insurance Group.
January 23, 1948: The Boulder Laundry and Cleaners, which stood where the Boulder Station professional building is now, burned down, taking Boulder Theatre owner Gladys Brothers’ imported Persian carpets with it.
November 30, 1948: The repair shop of the Texaco garage and service station at 501 Nevada Way went up in a series of explosions and fire that threatened to take out the entire 500 block of Avenue B.
May 3, 1956: The elegant Sprouse-Reitz department store at the south end of Hotel Plaza where Dance, Etc. is today was destroyed by fire. Nearly 7,500 square feet of combustible merchandise burned for several hours; two volunteer firefighters were injured fighting the blaze.
September 26, 1958: The Ranch Market on Nevada Way was completely gutted. Demolished, the site lay empty, the old meat locker underneath like a crypt, until Curley Smith built the Mini-Mall there, which is today’s Old Town Mall.
June 23, 1963: Bill and Edna French’s Uptown Hardware Store caught fire and the only thing that saved the apartments overhead was a sheet of asbestos in the ceiling where the fire started. The fire was so hot, merchandise in the front windows melted. The Fiddlesticks quilt shop occupies this space today.
January 22, 1964: The theatre of Boulder City’s famous Visitors Bureau at 1226 Arizona Street was completely gutted when a fire sparked by faulty wiring over the screen ignited the theatre curtain. The rest of the business was heavily damaged by smoke and water.
April 27, 1973: The Boulder Variety Store, known simply as the Dime Store, exploded in flames sparked by a swamp cooler. Decades of kitchen grease built up behind the false ceiling from the building’s days as a restaurant accelerated the fire, and owner Bob Springer had to crawl out the front door on his hands and knees. This building stood about where the parking lot is between the Chamber of Commerce building and the Six Company Visitor’s Bureau.
October 11, 1984: The last significant fire in Boulder City’s historic district destroyed Central Market on the corner of Arizona Street and California Avenue, while Boulder Bowl and Carlo’s Mexican Restaurant [Evan’s Old Town Grille today] were damaged. Exploding aerosol cans from the store launched themselves like rockets into the surrounding crowd of spectators who cheered whenever one hit the ground.
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