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

Boulder City History
by Dennis McBride
Boulder City Museum & Historical Association

Building History #1: 421 Avenue I
Tucked away behind salt cedars and Joshua trees near the intersection of Arizona Street and Avenue I is a little house whose simple appearance hides a very significant history.

The house was built in the fall of 1931 by the Six Companies for Ed Brockman, who was the company's Superintendent of Insurance, Hospital, and Safety. Brockman was often put on the spot for the company's failures in safeguarding its workers' health and well-being.

In 1933,Glen E. "Bud" Bodell, who was the Six Companies' Chief of Security and Investigations, moved into the house. Bodell was a legendary lawman in southern Nevada - a company man to his core, often noted as ruthless, relentless, and skirting the edge of honesty. He helped break the 1931 labor strike at the dam, and owned Boulder City's first airplane which he used for aerial surveillance in busting bootleggers.

When the dam was finished in 1936 Six Companies divested its Boulder City properties and the house at 421 Avenue I was bought by Glover Ruckstell. Ruckstell was a partner in Grand Canyon Airlines and founded Grand Canyon-Boulder Dam Tours, Inc., a sprawling tourist enterprise that received the first National Park Service concession in the brand-new Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Ruckstell bought the house initially to bunk Grand Canyon Airlines pilots and personnel, but afterward used it as his Boulder City residence. When Ruckstell and his wife Geanne divorced in 1944, Ruckstell sold the house to Marvin and Myra Dodge.

The Dodges and their daughter, Alice, came to Boulder City in 1933 when Dodge worked as a concrete inspector on Boulder Dam. Myra helped found Boulder City's first public library and, with her husband, co-founded the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club. A poem Marvin wrote about dam construction workers hangs in the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.

The Dodges sold the house to Michael Mastin in 1949. Mastin was a chemical engineer who had perfected operation of the titanium unit at Boulder City's Bureau of Mines. In 1954 he became president of the Aero Metals Corporation intending to build a massive titanium plant in Boulder City. For nearly two years the Aero Metals proposal pitted supportive Boulder City businessmen and the Bureau of Reclamation against citizens who wanted to keep their town small and clean—the citizens prevailed. Mastin left town and in 1958 421 Avenue I passed into the hands of Herbert and Irene Brennan.

Irene Brennan was one of the Southwest's best-known photographers. Specializing in the flora, fauna, and history of the Hoover Dam region, Irene's photos were widely published, won numerous awards, and she was honored with many public exhibitions of her work. When Irene moved into an assisted living facility in Las Vegas in 2004, her family put the house up for sale. The new owner, mindful of her new home's historic importance, intends restoring the building to its original appearance.

Sponsored by the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.

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