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 Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel

Native American Petroglyphs
Native American petroglyphs have fascinated professional archaeologists, as well as casual hikers, for a very long time. For one southern Nevadan (part professional and part casual hiker) relocating a series of rock carvings he had once discovered became a 30 year quest.

Elbert Edwards, a former Boulder City teacher, spent over 30 years trying to find a rare petroglyph buried in the McCullough Mountain range south of Boulder City. Many southern Nevada residents are familiar with the etchings that have been carved into the canyon walls throughout the state. Edwards’ discovery, however, was different.

Instead of the typical single-frame image, Edwards discovered a set of three related works. The canyon wall displayed a three-frame series: the first frame shows a group of men holding a big horn sheep; followed in the next with a man riding the sheep; and, in the final frame, the sheep bucks the man off its back.

When Edwards returned to find the ancient artwork, he was unable to locate it. In fact, Edwards would continue to hike and search the canyon walls on and off for the next thirty years.

Then in 1967, Edwards, who was then president of the Southern Nevada Historical Society, teamed up with several hikers who were taking part in the Nevada Archaeological Survey and headed out to explore a unique canyon of petroglyphs.

Entering into the McCulloughs from the south instead of the north, where Edwards had always entered in the past, the team headed down a wash studying the drawings along the way.

Edwards then changed course and headed for a group of small boulders where, quite unexpectedly, the rare petroglyphs stood just as they were thirty years earlier.

It housed the Bonelli family until 1974 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
To learn more, contact the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association located in the Boulder Dam Hotel at 1305 Arizona Street, call (702) 294-1988 or visit

On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.

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