Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Boulder City History
by Roseanne Schoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel

Feeding The Dam Workers
Deciding how to effectively feed 5000 men every day requires a well thought out plan, and Six Companies did just that. The Six Companies sub-contracted Anderson Brothers Supply Company to construct a dining hall and provide the dam workers 3 meals daily until the dam was constructed.

This Mess Hall, as it was called, was centrally located within the Six Company’s structures between Cherry and Date streets. This was not simply a building, but a state of the art factory equipped with a kitchen, bakery, ice storage room, and a dining hall that would accommodate 1200 men per sitting. More than 6000 meals were prepared daily and served family style by a waiter.

If you were interviewing for a position to cook or wait tables, some of the questions asked might consist of the following: Can you serve 1300 men a family style dinner within 25 minutes? Can you work in a building without air conditioning when the temperature outside is 114 degrees or hotter? Can you work 14 hour days? If you answered yes to these questions, then you would have been offered a job by Anderson Brothers.

So, just what do you serve to hungry men and where was all of this food purchased? Anderson Brothers had pretty much thought of everything. Beef, veal, and pork were purchased in 20,000 pound lots, along with 2.5 tons of eggs packed in dry ice and shipped in from Reno, Nevada each week. Also, weekly trucks would bring into town 24,000 to 26,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables from southern California and flour was sent in by rail from Ogden, Utah. Anderson Brothers purchased 160 acres of land to create a dairy farm to supply fresh milk, butter, and cream daily.

A typical breakfast might consist of wheat cakes, grapefruit, bacon, omelets, coffee, and milk. The men leaving to go to work on the dam would then pack their own lunch through a cafeteria style line with a choice of roast beef or pork sandwiches, jelly rolls, and several varieties of fruits and pies. It was not unusual for each cook to prepare 3000 sandwiches per day, with a combined total of 8700 sandwiches prepared and eaten each day. Then the cooking would start all over again for the dinner crowd, with a typical menu of salad, mashed potatoes, roast sirloin, spinach, minced pie, rice pudding, milk, coffee, bread and butter.

On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

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