On the corner of Birch Street and Nevada Way stands a bronze sculpture of a simple, plainly dressed young woman hanging a towel on her laundry line. This piece is a tribute to the women who lived and raised their families on the Colorado River during the construction of Hoover Dam.
Although hundreds of men were expected to live in the area while constructing the Dam, the location was not suitable for women or children. Yet, many of the workers brought their families with them. With little to no support services or comforts of home, the women managed to set up their households along the riverbed. Despite the intense heat and the challenges of substandard living, the wives and children of the Dam laborers made the area their home. Due to the quality of housing the area became known as Ragtown. During the same time, the higher paid, non-manual laborers, many with their wives or families, were living in comfortable brick homes in town. It is this contrast in the women's roles that inspired Sandra Messina to create her "Ragtown Goddess" sculpture. Although Ms. Messina is a Las Vegas sculptor she was moved by the history of Boulder City and felt driven to create something in tribute to the women whose challenges were nearly as great as those building the Dam.
Only a few blocks away at the intersection of Nevada Way and Arizona Street, stands "Windy Day," another bronze sculpture of a woman. This sculpture is depicting a finely dressed woman, with her hat and purse blowing in the wind; she could very well be out "on the town" shopping for the day. This art piece is reflective of the women living in town during the same time period as the existence of Ragtown.
When Boulder City completed its beautification project "Ragtown Goddess" was chosen as "icing on the cake" as the City's final beautification piece. It was to be placed on a highly visible corner of Nevada Way in Sundial Park. So, the next time you are passing by, stop and enjoy the sculpture, read its inscription, and give thought to those that went before us and the challenges that not just the men, but the women as well, faced.