|Boulder City History
by Dennis McBride
Farming in Boulder City
Few people know today that Boulder City’s waste water once supported a large farm just south of town.
Boulder’s first sewage treatment plant was a small brick building at the foot of B Hill in the vicinity of Adams Boulevard and San Felipe. The waste water from this plant ran through a channel out into the desert along the general direction of Georgia Avenue. Around 1934 Tom Godbeywhose family is commemorated in the tiled mural at Avenue B and Nevada Waygot a lease to build a farm about a mile or two southwest of B Hill. The lower part of our municipal golf course was the upper part of the Godbey farm. Tom Godbey, his brother, Emmett, and other family members dug irrigation ditches and built a water wheel to carry waste water out through the fields they planted. What before had been sandy desert was now several acres of corn, wheat, alfalfa, and winter rye. Mr. Godbey planted watermelons along the irrigation ditch just so Boulder City kids could steal them; that way, he avoided more serious mayhem at the farm. All those years Boulder City kids thought they were smart getting away with stealing Godbey’s watermelons, it was Tom who had the last laugh.
There were animals on the farm, too: chickens and rabbits, a sow and her piglets. Godbey tried establishing a dairy, but because he couldn’t provide pasteurization for the milk, city manager Sims Ely put a stop to it. The cow got away once and wandered up into town to the delight of Boulder kids. The policeor rangers, as they were called thenpenned the cow behind the police station, and when Godbey went to bring her home, Ely asked he leave her there for the school kids to enjoy awhile. Tom Godbey’s sons managed to earn money from the farm: they bagged all the manure and sold it to Boulder City gardeners for 50¢ a sack.
In the late 1930s the Godbeys sold the farm to Franklin Stice and his family, who brought in hogs and a horse. They fed the horse with grass they raised along the irrigation ditch, and collected garbage from Boulder City restaurants to slop the hogs. Eventually, shortly before he retired in 1941, Sims Ely pulled the Stice’s lease and shut down the farm, concerned about health issues.
Where Tom Godbey’s corn once grew and where Frank Stice’s hogs used to rut today is some of Boulder City’s most expensive and desirable property.
Sponsored by the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.