Boulder City Magazine® March 2007 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Dennis McBride, Boulder City Museum &
Four Little Desert Gardens
When Wilbur Weed landscaped Boulder City for the Bureau of Reclamation he turned the new town into a green oasis in the burning desert. Weed planted broad parks, shade trees and rose gardens. In later years it was Weed’s matured greenery that gave Boulder City its greatest physical distinction. But tucked away in the shady blocks of Boulder City’s historic district are four little desert gardens, two of which survive from 1931, and two that were planted in later years.
Boulder City Magazine®
|At the intersection of Utah and Park Streets is a small triangular block whose flora includes native cactus and shrubs collected from the surrounding desert. For many families who came to Boulder City from greener parts of the country Joshua trees, barrel cactus, and creosote were weird and unusual plants. The government wanted to showcase what grew beyond the town limits, and so enclosed and planted this little block of the original hillside opposite Wilbur Square. This little desert garden has a sister at the intersection of Avenue I and Park Street that was a favorite backdrop for family photographs.
In 1967 the National Park Service opened a small desert garden behind its administration building near the intersection of Avenue B and Wyoming Street. Park Service gardeners planted ocotillo, Joshua trees, cholla, barrel and other cactus, each identified with a small metal plaque. In 1980 the Park Service improved the garden with winding, gold-paved paths, although it stands in disrepair today.
Also in 1980, before the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power divested its properties along Ash, Cherry, and Birch Streets, the Department created “Rock Park” on one corner of Ash Street, Colorado Street, and Railroad Avenue. LADWP removed the turf, poured gravel, dropped in a couple of boulders and benches. It was a jarring sight among the green lawns and trees of the surrounding houses and not a pleasant spot to sit in summer. In later years the city added mesquite trees and shrubs in an effort to make this corner an attractive reminder of what grew here before Boulder City was built.
Sponsored by the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.
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