When working in a museum’s archives, staff and volunteers tend to find favorite collections, artifacts, or stories that they’ve been drawn to through processing, studying, and subsequently sharing the material. I personally have quite a few favorites, but would like to share a primary source that gives awesome insight into life from the Bureau of Reclamation’s point of view during the construction of Hoover Dam.
The Boulder City Museum’s archive contains issues from 1930 to 1981 of The Reclamation Era or The New Reclamation Eraa monthly publication from the Bureau of Reclamationcontaining updates, statistics, notes, maps, drawings, and articles pertaining to all current projects. During the construction years, the Boulder Canyon Project was a main focus of the publication. Below, I’ve included a few notes from the May 1933 issue (Vol. 24, No.5, page 61) that caught my eye:
For the month of March, the average number of men employed on the project was 3,704 and the approximate gross pay roll was $550,000.
The "Boulder Canyon Wild Life Refuge" was created by Executive order on March 3. It includes lands in 25 townships in Arizona and 38 townships in Nevada, which are set apart for the use of the Department of Agriculture as a refuge and breeding ground for wild birds and animals. Practically all the lands involved have been withdrawn in connection with the Boulder Canyon project for river regulation, improvement of navigation, flood control, irrigation and domestic water supply, and for power development. The reservation of this area as a wild-life refuge is therefore secondary to its use by the Interior Department.
Tourist travel to the Boulder Canyon, which has been increasing during the past few weeks, reached a peak for the year 1933 on April 8, when 798 visitors passed through the reservation gate.
Interested in finding out more from The Reclamation Era or researching the Museum’s other collections? Submit your Archive Request online at www.BCMHA.org or email us at info@BCMHA.org.