|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
As Lake Mead recedes, historians and history buffs are flocking to uncovered areas to catch a glimpse of the physical history buried by the lake for so long. The recently uncovered lands they now explore were once trod by Daniel Bonelli, a true entrepreneur of the “Wild West.”
Boulder City Magazine®
|Many Southern Nevadans have heard of Bonelli’s Ferry (now under Lake Mead) at the junction of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers where Daniel Bonelli set up an operation to ferry settlers across the Colorado and into Arizona where gold had been found.
But it is Bonelli’s full story that provides a clear picture of the adventuresome spirit characteristic of those who settled the area in the late 19th Century.
Consider what we associate with the settling of the west and Bonelli had experienced it: Wagon trains - his family arrived in Salt Lake City by wagon train; Mining - he owned and operated a salt mine; Posses and Outlaws - Bonelli headed the posse that ultimately caught and killed the famous outlaw known as Mouse; Homesteading - he settled three homesteads along the rivers, two of which were flooded out; Farming and Ranching - he grew figs, peaches, grapes and almonds and raised cattle to feed the miners; Mining Towns - he established the town of Rioville to supply miners near his ferry crossing.
And, as was often the case, he was a little eccentric - it is said that he once told a man who inquired, “Old man, how far is it to the river?” that the river was “three miles and if you call me old man again, I’ll throw you all the way to that crossing.”
Those interested in the Bonelli family history can visit the Bonelli House in Kingman, Arizona. The house was built in 1894 by Daniel’s son, George, in a style reminiscent of his boyhood home in Rioville.
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 www.bcmha.org.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
P.O. Box 61901
Boulder City, Nevada 89006
Phone (702) 294-1392 Fax (702) 294-1392
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