The Boulder Dam Hotel: Young At Heart
by Roseanne Shoaff
This December, The Boulder Dam Hotel celebrates its 75th birthday, but to many of us, it doesn’t seem so old.
As it did in the 1930s, the grand dame of Boulder City welcomes guests to its quaint, comfortable rooms, hosts important community events in its lobby, and provides a fine lunch experience in its restaurant. With the same vigor as in its youth, the Boulder Dam Hotel stands as an icon in the community and as a testimony to those who built the city and the dam.
Like those who envisioned it, those who built it, and those who cared for it, the sturdy structure represents what is good about our community. In a desert valley quick to implode old buildings in favor of the new, stands this stately colonial structure with its original gumwood lobby and its historic windows, mortar, and masonry.
Granted, the building hasn’t always been a source of pride in the community. Several times in its history the hotel fell into disrepair. But somehow it manages to survive the hard times and resurface in its original splendor.
The most recent “rise from the ashes” began as a community effort in 1993 when locals rolled up their shirt sleeves and opened their pocket books to restore the nearly condemned building. One is tempted here to mention the key players in the transformation, but, in truth, there were too many for this small article. Can I credit the planners without crediting the donors? The laborers? The fundraisers? The politicians? Local businesses? State Historic Preservation Officers? The list is extensive.
This community refuses to let die the memory of those great men and women who tamed the Colorado so long ago. It was their hands that shaped the bricks, mixed the mortar, and planed the wood on the Boulder Dam Hotel. Because of them, the current owner, The Boulder City Museum and Historical Association strives to recapture its elegance and significance.
Today, the hotel contains 17 standard guest rooms, 3 suites, 7 offices, 3 shops, the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum and Gift Shop, the Restaurant and Spillway Lounge.
The lobby and hallways buzz with activity as tour groups, individual tourists, business people and locals utilize the facilities each day. Additionally, the hotel is rapidly becoming a favorite for weddings, reunions, retreats and other group events. It has earned its spot as the #1 rated hotel in Boulder City by www.TripAdvisor.com.
Below it all on the Garden Level is the heart of the Boulder Dam Hotel: The extensive collection of valuable historic artifacts capturing every step in the history of this unique city. Thousands of historic photographs, manuscripts, articles, tools, housewares, and much more are properly preserved and maintained here. Entrusted to the history of Boulder City, the BCMHA carefully guards and preserves the artifacts that are our history and facilitates access to desired artifacts and douments for researchers.
The hotel and the BCMHA sponsor such community events as the annual Chautauqua Event, the 31ers Luncheon, political meet-and-greets, Art Eve for Art in the Park, and Third Thursdays in the Museum where topical speakers can be heard.
The most recent endeavor of the BCMHA is The Restaurant at the Boulder Dam Hotel. Currently serving lunch daily and catering for hotel events, the young restaurant is defining its identity a place where historic charm meets great taste.
Yes, the hotel is 75 years old - much older than many of the buildings in Southern Nevada. But more unique than its age is the fact that it remains as vital a contributor to the well being of the community as it was so many years ago. This, to no small degree, is due to the ongoing efforts of the Boulder City citizens it serves.
Contact the Boulder Dam Hotel at www.boulderdamhotel.com.