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
by Dennis McBride

When Boulder City’s airport was dedicated on December 10, 1933 there was no terminal—the field was used strictly for private landings and take-offs. It wasn’t until 1936 that the first commercial airline began using the airport. This was Grand Canyon Airlines, owned by famed flier Glover E. “Roxie” Ruckstell through his tour company, Grand Canyon-Boulder Dam Tours, Inc. [GCBDT]. Grand Canyon Airlines first flew from Boulder City on June 15, 1936. Ruckstell built a small wood frame terminal building at the edge of the airport with an open porch where passengers could sit in folding chairs when the weather was hot.

But Ruckstell’s airline lost money because the hoards of tourists he’d anticipated never came. In February 1938, Ruckstell signed an agreement with TWA airlines where GCBDT would improve Boulder City’s airport if TWA would lease it. Part of those improvements included a substantial new terminal in Pueblo style, which opened around May 20, 1938. It was a beautiful building: the waiting room had open beams in the ceiling and a large wood-burning fireplace; there was a radio room, ticket office, and office for airport manager Ed Campell.

This attractive little terminal remained in use until TWA abandoned the Boulder City airport in the late 1940s. In 1958 the Boulder City Elks Club bought the terminal for use as their club house. In 1964, shortly after being raided by Boulder City police for illegally serving liquor at their functions—which wasn‘t too many years after they were raided for gambling—the Elks added a large auditorium onto the east side of the building. The TWA terminal part of the club, however, has remained pretty much intact.

Meanwhile, the original Grand Canyon Airlines terminal wasn’t lost. In 1938 when the new terminal opened, Ruckstell moved the old one to the hill behind Arizona Street with address at 618. This became the home of Henry and Ocie Bradley, Boulder City’s first African-American residents who worked for Ruckstell. Henry was a chauffeur for Grand Canyon-Boulder Dam Tours, while his wife, Ocie, made the box lunches served on TWA flights out of Boulder City. This little frame house stood until February 2002 when it was moved to the Clark County Museum where it awaits restoration.

Sponsored by the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.

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