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Boulder City History
by Laura Hutton, Museum Coordinator
Boulder City Hoover Dam Museum

Oral History

The dialogue below was taken from an oral history interview with Helen French Ide on growing up in Boulder City during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The interview was conducted by Doris Woodruff on October 12, 1990.

Ms. Woodruff: “Did you go to high school in Las Vegas?”

Ms. Ide: “No, I was a member of the first graduating class of Boulder City High School.  What they did here was added a year every year I got older so I was literally a senior for four years. We all were. It was pretty cool. We were the oldest kids in school, well in the 8th grade we were the oldest, in the 9th, in the 10 and the 11th…five years, we were the oldest in the school.”

Ms. Woodruff: “Do you recall any of your teachers that were exceptional to you during the time you were going to school here in Boulder City?”

Ms. Ide: “Well, Elton Garrett was one of my teachers, and I was very fond of Elton. He must have been actually quite young, but to me I didn’t feel that he was young, I thought he was way up there. He was really a delightful man and very, very nice to the kids. He ran the school paper on which I worked on and that was great. We had a music teacher; his name was Mr. Brown. I don’t remember what that man’s first name was. I honestly don’t have any idea of what his background was.  I think he was pretty unconventional as a teacher, but we had some of those. You know in the early days, this was not the greatest place for a teacher. He had us singing a lot of stuff that I think was not being sung in public schools, a lot of musicals and things, and by then I was playing piano, so I accompanied the music. We just had a good time. Yeah, I loved school, and they gave us workbooks at school. I would collect all of those things, and then I would gather up the neighborhood in the summer and say, ‘all right, we’re going to play school and I’m the teacher.’ That would work for awhile, my class would get away from me eventually. I can’t really think of real toys.”

Hear the rest of Helen’s story and test-drive a new way to listen to the oral histories housed in the Museum’s collections at October 13th’s 31ers Reunion Luncheon!

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