Boulder City Magazine® March 2006 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Dennis McBride, Boulder City Museum & Historical Assn.
Boulder City School for Vocational Education
During World War II Boulder City was home to Camp Williston, an army installation that trained military guards. The camp took up several blocks below New Mexico Street between California Avenue and Avenue I.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Established in 1940, it was abandoned in 1944. The question arose then of what to do with the camp buildings. The army wanted first to dismantle the Williston buildings for salvage, then it decided to sell them.
But others wanted to preserve several of Williston’s buildings for use as an educational institution. The local chapter of the American Association of University Women wanted a southern division of the University of Nevada established in Boulder City. Recognizing that soldiers returning from the war would need training and education, some felt the Williston buildings could be used for a trade school. It was this suggestion that fired local organizations into pushing their elected officials to make it happen. But they had to move fastthe army announced the sale of Williston in October 1944, all deals to be consummated and the buildings removed within 45 days of their purchase.
The Boulder City and Las Vegas Chambers of Commerce, the Clark County Board of Commissioners, the Las Vegas School Board, as well as a number of Nevada trade unions and service organizations passed resolutions endorsing the idea. Nevada’s Senator Pat McCarran obtained $56,000 worth of equipment for vocational trade educationwhich had to be in place and in use by December 31, 1944. McCarran managed three times to stop the army from selling Williston while negotiations went on for the state or county to buy the buildings it wanted since the army refused give them away for nothing. State and local governments produced several reports detailing why trade education was so important in southern Nevada. Legislation was introduced in Carson City, there was more correspondence and lobbying, and Governor E. P. Carville was ready to sign whatever crossed his desk.
At the last minute, however, the legislation failed. The training equipment went elsewhere, Williston’s buildings were sold and moved awayand Boulder City lost its chance to become the educational center many hoped it would be.
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