Boulder City Magazine® October 2009 Issue
|Boulder City History
by Roseanne Shoaff, Manager
Boulder Dam Hotel
Boulder Dam Service Bureau
Over the years, Boulder City has offered visitors many avenues to research and discover the history of Hoover Dam. Earl Brothers was one person in particular who had a vision for offering visitors an enjoyable and educational experience.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Brothers first obtained a lease from the Bureau of Reclamation and built the Boulder Dam Theater. In the fall of 1933, as the movie theater grew in popularity, Brothers established “The Boulder Dam Service Bureau” in the upstairs of the theater. This newly formed gift shop offered tourists an opportunity to purchase a variety of maps, photos, postcards, and various other souvenirs, and was open daily from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. An additional feature the Service Bureau offered to tourists was a free continuous running movie. This movie was an official copy of the story of the building of the Boulder Dam Project, which was obtained from the Bureau of Reclamation. Brothers also offered guided tours down to see the building of the dam and continued to offer this service until the Bureau of Reclamation began conducting their own guided tours.
The Boulder Dam Service Bureau welcomed tourists upstairs in the theater until 1941. At that time Brothers then constructed a new building across the street. In this new location, tourists could still come in to purchase gifts, obtain information about Boulder City, and watch the free movie. In 1948, as Boulder City continued to grow and prosper, Brothers envisioned that both tourists and locals could benefit from the convenience of having a Western Union service. And so, he installed a full communications service system.
The Service Bureau continued operating a full service tourist information center in the same location until 1964 when a fierce fire broke out inside the Center’s theater. While the building was being completely remodeled, the visitor’s center returned to showing the story of the Hoover Dam in the Boulder Theater. The Visitors Center resumed operations across the street and continued serving customers and showing the continuous running movie until 1989. Currently, visitors can obtain the kind of information once offered by Earl Brothers’ through the Chamber of Commerce or the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.
On behalf of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association.
688 Wells Rd #A
Boulder City, Nevada 89005
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