|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Schoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
No Gambling In Boulder City?
From the time Sims Ely was hired to manage Boulder City in 1932, he ran the city with a determination that all workers would abide by his rules or they would be escorted to the city gates and asked never to return again. In Ely’s mind, there would be no compromising of the rules, and there would be no alcohol, gambling, or prostitution within the city limits.
Boulder City Magazine®
|As Ely stated in a speech delivered on NBC Radio upon completion of the Hoover Dam, “The thousands of workers who soon will be leaving here will always remember Boulder City as a town of fine artistic planning and beautiful landscaping. A town of happy living conditions.” And, for the most part, that is exactly the way the town operated.
However, sometimes the best laid plans have a way of going awry, and even Ely could not predict that gambling and prostitution would be conducted right on Boulder City land. According to Joseph Stevens in his book, Hoover Dam: An American Adventure, in 1933 Pete Pansy owned Texas Acres, a bar situated north of Railroad Pass along Boulder Highway. This bar had a reputation of being a hangout for some of the most brazen clientele. As Stevens continues to tell in his book, Pansy temporarily closed his bar for remodeling, only to reopen under a new name, Boulder Inn Club, and a new location. Before the building was reopened, it was loaded on skids and moved just south of the Pass along Boulder Highway; right onto Boulder City land.
Not only did Pansy bring gambling onto the federal land, but he also had the boldness to perch his prostitution cribs on the hill behind the bar. One can only imagine the anger and disbelief of Sims Ely when he became aware of the move. Construction engineer, Walker Young, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Interior demanding the federal government send Pansy packing. Federal lawyers delivered a lawsuit notice to the bar, but the brazen bar owner believed the profits were worth fighting for and so, until the courts resolved this issue, gambling and prostitution would continue there.
Finally on April 9, 1934, the Nevada gaming commission revoked the Boulder Inn Club’s liquor license after the Evening Las Vegas Review Journal printed a story of a fatal shooting taking place at the unscrupulous bar. And so, once again, Boulder City would be clean, green, and gambling free.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
688 Wells Rd #A
Boulder City, Nevada 89005
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