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Cover Story

Coming Soon to Boulder City:
An Audio Walking Tour of Historic Old Town
by Leslie Woodbury, Museum Development Officer



Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum staff is busy compiling information, writing copy, uploading historical images, and designing markers for an audio walking tour of Boulder City's Historic District. The tour will attract visitors using mobile phone technology and then walk them past Boulder City's authentic shops and restaurants, where they will stop to shop or dine as they learn the national significance of Hoover Dam and Boulder City history.

According to Roger Shoaff, General Manager of the Boulder Dam Hotel, "Our goals are two-fold: first, to target the fastest growing tourism market (often called geo- or authentic-tourism) through an internet and mobile-app marketing campaign and, second, to expand the museum's historical narrative to include the national significance of the events that took place here." He also added, "Our goals are both economic and educational."

The audio walking tour app, produced by OnCell and TourSphere, attracts geo-tourists to its destinations with "near-me-now" technology. OnCell is currently used by the National Park Service at many of its destinations and facilities, including Hoover Dam. Visitors using OnCell's "proximity beacon" at the dam or the bridge will be directed to historic Boulder City by the app. The number of OnCell users is growing rapidly and they are an excellent target market for Boulder City. Research clearly indicates that targeting the right customers leads to increased positive experiences and, as a result, a positive buzz on review and social media sites. It's important to note, however, that the walking tour is not only accessible to OnCell users; anyone with a smart phone or mobile phone can easily access the audio tour at each stop along the route.

Smart phone and tablet users will be able to download the walking tour app from any Boulder City business that posts a link on their website or by scanning a QR code at one of the tour's stops. Regular cell phone users will be able to access the audio content by dialing the phone number posted at each stop.

Plans are for the tour to begin in the foyer of the Los Angeles Water and Power Building on Nevada Way. Here, visitors will become familiar with the dam builders' vision and the reasons behind their decisions to employ architect, Gordan Kaufman; sculptor, Oskar Hansen; and photographer, Ben Glaha. All of these men had an eye for futuristic design as evidenced by the Art Deco style of their work. Stop two will be the Alabam sculpture at the corner of Nevada Way and Wyoming (in front of the L.A. Water and Power Building) where tourists will learn of the migration from the Depression and Dust Bowl ravished Midwest.

The Puddlers' Break sculpture at the corner of Nevada Way and Arizona, will be the next stop. This sculpture provides an opportunity to teach visitors of the conditions the workers faced and the work they performed daily. Stop four, the water treatment plant and sculpture garden on Colorado Avenue, will provide the back drop for historical information regarding water issues and the desert southwest.

Tourists will then proceed to the turbine displayed at the corner of Wilbur Square. Here they will get information related to the power generation aspects of the project before arriving at the center of Wilbur Square for historical information on the Bureau of Reclamation and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Stop seven is in front of City Hall, once Boulder City's first school, where participants will hear how Boulder City quickly transformed from a workers' depot to a vibrant community. Then, on to the Boulder Theater then the Boulder Dam Hotel to hear of the earliest plans for the fledgling community and the famous people it attracted.

Finally, before proceeding to the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum, tourists will peruse an exhibit of Bureau of Reclamation photographer, Ben Glaha's historic images in the hotel lobby.

This tour permits us another opportunity to teach the valuable history of our community and to bring tourists past many of the historic district's fine restaurants and shops, where they will surely linger and spend. It's also a great little walk for Boulder City residents to reacquaint themselves with our history and visit our many great shops and restaurants. The tour is expected to kick-off in April of 2016.




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