Boulder City - The Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City - The Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Boulder City History

Boulder City Naval Base
by Dennis McBride

Years before the U. S. entered World War II, the government looked upon Boulder City and Lake Mead as potential military sites. In spring 1935 two Army Air Corps amphibians from Coronado, California flew to Nevada and test landed on the rising lake to see how successful it might be as an emergency landing site. Two years later, Nevada’s Congressman James Scrugham, chairman of the naval appropriations sub-committee of the House appropriations committee, began pushing to establish a naval reserve base at Boulder City and Lake Mead. By 1937 the looming war in Europe was worrying the U. S. military, and the navy began reaching inland for installations to secure against the possibility that coastal facilities were blocked or destroyed. The navy’s inland munitions depot at Hawthorne, Nevada made the establishment of a major marine aircraft base and training facility at Lake Mead and Boulder City very possible.

Scrugham led congressional and navy investigation parties to Lake Mead in 1937 and ‘38, but congress rejected his plan. When war finally broke out in Europe in 1939, Scrugham felt congress might feel more urgently about his idea, and he led another survey party to the area in September. This time the response was favorable—even Franklin Roosevelt told Scrugham he supported the idea. When hearings on the naval appropriations bill were held in November 1939, Scrugham secured $70,000 to build a temporary hangar in Boulder City. Ground was broken for the hangar at the Boulder City airport on June 26, 1940, and it was finished in November. In March 1941, Scrugham earmarked $500,00 to enlarge and improve Boulder City’s airport to house a naval air base auxiliary to the base in San Diego. But in May, the House adopted a conference report that struck Scrugham’s proposal. Boulder City never became the site of a naval base and the hangar was never used by the navy. Instead, it was transferred to the Department of Interior in 1946, and eventually to Boulder City in 1959. The old military hangar still stands as the only reminder of Boulder City’s almost naval base.

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