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.

Cover Story
A Blast From The Past
by Patty Sullivan
Recreation Program Coordinator
BC Parks & Recreation Department

September 30, 2010 marks the 75th Anniversary of the completion of Hoover Dam. The community of Boulder City is celebrating this outstanding event at this year’s 4th of July Damboree Celebration. The theme for this year’s event is “A Blast From The Past” Honoring the People Who Built Hoover Dam and Boulder City.

The Boulder Canyon Project Act was the official governmental action that set the wheels in motion to build a dam to control the Colorado River. This was to prevent flooding in the farm rich lands of the Imperial Valley in California. The project was named the Boulder Canyon Project Act as Boulder Canyon is where Hoover Dam was originally going to be built. It ended up being built in Black Canyon as Black Canyon had fewer fractures in its bedrock. When talking to old timers, they always refer to Hoover Dam as Boulder Dam. So in honor of those who built Hoover Dam and Boulder City, from this point on, I will refer to Hoover Dam as Boulder Dam.

When Boulder Dam was built, it was the focus of the entire country as it would be the tallest dam ever built and an engineering wonder. The construction of Boulder Dam took place during the Great Depression. The Boulder Canyon Project was one of the few places in the country hiring. The first onslaught of people who came to this area for the prospect of working on Boulder Dam came in 1931. At this time, Boulder City wasn’t even built yet and many lived on the banks of the Colorado River in tents, lean-tos, or in the case of my family, wool blankets strung on ropes. The term 31’ers was coined for those who came to this area in 1931 to work on the Dam and later included all of those who worked on the Dam from 1931 – 1935. Honoring the people who built Boulder Dam and Boulder City, the 2010 Damboree grand marshal entry is the families of the 31’ers and the 31’ers Team of volunteers who participate in educational outreach of the history of the Boulder Canyon Project Act, which encompasses every aspect of Boulder Dam and Boulder City.

The phrase “A Blast From The Past” was picked because the early phase of the construction of Boulder Dam consisted of a lot of blasting. In fact, over one million pounds of dynamite was used in building the diversion tunnels to divert the Colorado River so that the dam site could be excavated to bedrock. Men called high scalers scaled the Nevada and Arizona sides of Black Canyon blasting, drilling and removing loose rock in preparation for the concrete to be poured.

The Boulder Canyon Project was the first time the Federal Government gave preferential hiring to veterans. In the artwork of this year’s Damboree t-shirt, you will see the silhouette of a man standing in a diversion tunnel looking at the Dam from the lake side. The military figure represents not only the first preferential hiring for veterans that continues today, but it also represent the past looking to future servicemen to maintain the freedom the American public so cherishes. Within the wording of the artwork you can see the representation of billowing dirt from the massive blasting that took place prior to the first bucket of over two million cubic yards of concrete that was poured to build Boulder Dam.

The 2010 Damboree Independence Day Celebration parade and Broadbent Memorial Park festivities will take place on Saturday, July 3rd with the fireworks taking place at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Sunday, July 4th.

With this year’s theme “A Blast From The Past”, parade entries will have a wide variety of ways they can bring historical aspects into their entry. 31’ers families, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who would like to join in the grand marshal entry for the Damboree Parade, please contact Recreation Program Coordinator and Damboree Committee member Patty Sullivan at (702) 293-9340 or

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