Boulder City Magazine® November 2009 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
Boulder City Man's Quest For Adventure
The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum’s Third Thursday Event in November will host Brad Dimock, founder of Fretwater Press, to discuss their book “Desert Riverman; The Free-Spirited Adventures of Murl Emery.”
Boulder City Magazine®
|Emery spent the majority of his life on the Colorado River serving as a travel guide, ferryman, humanitarian, explorer, and inventor. In 1921, Emery left his homestead on Cottonwood Island to help the Bureau of Reclamation develop the Boulder Canyon Project. He started out this part of his career by traveling 3 days on his motor boat exploring the uncharted part of the Colorado through the 29 mile stretch of Black Canyon. This is universally accepted as a significant accomplishment when one considers that it took Lt. Ives 30 days on a steamboat to explore the same area in his effort to find the best location for Hoover Dam.
Once the Boulder Canyon project was finalized and before actual work on the dam began, Emery moved his young family to Black Canyon. While residing in Black Canyon, Murl became a sightseeing tour guide hauling thousands of passengers through the canyon until the actual construction of the dam began.
When the construction of the dam began Emery’s career took on a different twist. He became a humanitarian-retailer in an attempt to supply the unequipped workers and their families with the necessities of living in the harsh environment. This part of his career continued until 1932.
While waiting for the lake to form, Emery took on a whole new twist of his career by becoming an inventor. He developed an aeroplane motor boat, which he used to explore the shallow parts of the untraveled river of the Grand Canyon. He continued using his aeroplane boat until 1935 when the waters of Lake Mead made the boat unnecessary.
Finally, in 1936 Emery turned his interests to bass and trout fishing on the newly established man-made lake. He created a trout landing in Eldorado Canyon and developed his business; however, Murl Emery said he “continued prospecting for new finds and ideas of the desert southwest.” He enjoyed a rare freedom by seizing the opportunities the Boulder Canyon Project presented.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
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